Dr. Milton Schlenhoff, a retired family practitioner, internist and physical fitness advocate, died Sunday at Sinai Hospital of complications from diabetes. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 81.
Dr. Schlenhoff was born in Baltimore and raised on Park Heights Avenue. He was a 1945 graduate of City College.
"He was a superb athlete in school, excelling in basketball and track, and setting a state record in the 220-yard dash as a high school senior," said his son, Dr. Marc D. Schlenhoff of Rockaway, N.J.
After graduating from City, Dr. Schlenhoff enlisted in the Navy, where he was trained as a pharmacist's mate.
After being discharged from the Navy in 1947, he enrolled at the University of Maryland, where he was a pre-med student, and he earned his bachelor's degree in three years.
Dr. Schlenhoff was a 1954 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed his residency at the old Lutheran Hospital.
He established a practice in Woodlawn before moving in 1970 to the Reisterstown Shopping Center, across from Franklin High School.
"Milton was my friend and family doctor for 60 years. He was a cross between Dr. Kildare, the Karate Kid, Jesse Owens and Jack London," said Joe Kaufman, who first became acquainted with Dr. Schlenhoff when they were teenage counselors at Camp Dorman in Reisterstown.
"When he came out of the Navy, he wanted to be a doctor, and became a damn good one. He was an amazing diagnostician who would spend an inordinate amount of time with his patients and also continued making house calls," he said.
Annette Snyder of Pikesville was Dr. Schlenhoff's secretary and aide for 14 years.
"He was truly a great man and a wonderful employer to me. He was a very compassionate individual," Mrs. Snyder said. "When my husband had a heart attack, Dr. Schlenhoff and his wife were the first people to come over and comfort me."
Like all great diagnosticians, Dr. Schlenhoff was an interested listener. "He never ever rushed his patients, and he always took a lot of time with them," Mrs. Snyder said. "He could never do enough for them, and they loved him."
Herb Sweren, former owner of Lexaco Appliances on Paca Street, was a friend and patient for more than 60 years.
"Milton took care of my parents and my wife's parents. He was always there, day or night, and even on weekends," Mr. Sweren said. "He was a terrific physician, and if he didn't know something, he did the research until he came up with an answer."
In the final years of his career before his 1985 retirement, Dr. Schlenhoff also practiced sports medicine.
"He played a lot of tennis, ran track and went to the gym. He was a martial-arts expert and got me into learning karate," Mr. Sweren said.
Dr. Schlenhoff was an accomplished, self-taught musician. "He was a great banjo picker and always finished off with a harmonica solo," Mr. Kaufman said.
He also liked playing jazz and klezmer, secular Jewish or Yiddish music.
A longtime Park Towers East resident, Dr. Schlenhoff was a dog lover, enjoyed reading and spent winters at a second home in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Dr. Schlenhoff's philanthropic interests included Associated Jewish Charities, United Jewish Appeal and the Jewish National Fund. He was a member of Beth El Congregation.
Services were Monday.
Also surviving are his wife of 56 years, the former Selma Weinstein; two daughters, Beth L. Schlenhoff of Bethesda and Susan R. Cassin of Baltimore; and four grandchildren.