Dr. Raymond F. Waldron, a retired Baltimore dentist, avid sports fan and Catholic who turned to his rosary for encouragement when his teams fell behind, died Friday from cancer at the Greensburg, Pa., home of a daughter. He was 81.
"He was well known and liked by his patients. He'd take their pictures and he had them in his waiting room," said Dr. Jude P. Restivo, an Overlea dentist and dental school classmate. "We were in the same section at dental school and were together for four years."
"I got to know Ray when I was teaching him at the dental school, so we've been together nearly 50 years," said Dr. Louis Weiss, a Gardenville dentist. "He was a good dentist and practiced nearly 50 years."
The son of Raymond Ernest Waldron, an auto parts business owner, and Alice Frances Hodge Waldron, a supervisor for New England Telephone & Telegraph Co., Raymond Francis Waldron was born and raised in Woburn, Mass.
After graduating from Boston College High School, he received a bachelor's degree in 1956 from Boston College. He was a 1960 graduate of the University of Maryland Dental School.
Dr. Waldron served in the Army Dental Corps from 1960 to 1962 and attained the rank of captain. He then went on to establish a dental practice in the 2400 block of E. Northern Parkway in Hamilton.
A Baltimore Orioles fan, Dr. Waldron always sat in Section 34 in the upper deck at the old Memorial Stadium. The section's most celebrated occupant was the late William "Wild Bill" Hagy, whose cheerleading during the 1970s and 1980s became known as the famous "Roar from 34" as he spelled out O-R-I-O-L-E-S with his arms and legs. Mr. Hagy became a friend of Dr. Waldron and eventually a patient.
"He had some dental issues and my father took care of them with porcelain binding," said a daughter, Alecia M. Moss of Greensburg.
"There was no fee because Ray was a big Orioles fan," said Dr. Restivo.
Because his office was close to Morgan State University and he was such a devoted basketball fan, Morgan gave Dr. Waldron a personal parking place for his use when attending games.
"He'd go and cheer and root for Morgan and eventually became the team's unofficial team dentist," said Dr. Weiss. "He always had a camera with him and enjoyed taking pictures of the team and players."
For years, Dr. Waldron volunteered with Mission of Mercy in Emmitsburg, which offers free medical care for the needy.
"Wednesday was his day off and, once a month, he'd go to Emmitsburg to help people with their dental problems," said Ms. Moss.
"He was a good friend and helped me out when I had a fire — I was able to practice at his place until my office was repaired," said Dr. Restivo.
The longtime White Marsh resident retired in 2014.
Until Dr. Waldron moved, he was a member of a luncheon group composed of dentists and their staffs who met for lunch every Monday at Jerry D's on Harford Road in Parkville.
"We've been talking dentistry, telling jokes and just hanging out," said Dr. Weiss.
Family members and friends recalled that during the nation's Bicentennial in 1976, Dr. Waldron became an enthusiastic participant in the painted fireplug program that decorated area fireplugs with images of Revolutionary War heroes.
"He called them Hydrant Heroes," said his daughter, "and he encouraged others to do it."
"I think he painted every fireplug in his neighborhood," said Dr. Weiss. "He bought the paint and painted his images in red, white and blue."
In addition to being a lacrosse and Orioles fan, Dr. Waldron was a Baltimore Ravens season ticket holder.
"I used to get him upset because I became a Green Bay Packers fan after the Colts left town," said Dr. Restivo. "I used to tell him the Packers can't leave town because they are owned by the city."
When Dr. Waldron moved to Greensburg two years ago, he became a loyal football and basketball fan at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.
While watching a game, if a team was being challenged on the field or court, Dr. Waldron resorted to his rosary.
"He'd hold his rosary and say, 'Let's pray for our team,' to those around him," his daughter said.
After moving to his new home, Dr. Waldron missed his beloved Ravens cheerleaders. "The Pittsburgh Steelers have no cheerleaders, which he called a 'terrible injustice,'" his daughter said with a laugh.
Dr. Waldron's Catholicism was an important part of his life.
"He was ebullient especially when talking about religion, and very friendly. He was a good Catholic and talked about it all the time," said Dr. Weiss.
"He'd go up to strangers and tell them about the importance of going to Mass and confession, and we'd say, 'Ray, maybe they're not Catholic,'" said Dr Weiss with a laugh.
"He was a very outgoing man and very easily talked to people who had something to say," said Dr. Restivo.
He was a former communicant of St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church in Northeast Baltimore, St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church in Parkville and St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Fullerton.
After moving to Greensburg, he became a parishioner at St. Vincent Basilica Parish. He attended Mass daily and was a member of the church's funeral choir. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus Daniel P. Nolan Latrobe Council 1940.
In addition to sports, Dr. Waldron enjoyed photographing the interior of churches, his daughter said.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at his church, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 42 years, the former Rosemary J. Woodfill; two other daughters, Mary F. Phillips of Stevensville and Rachel G. Roman of Gambrills; two sons, Edward D. Waldron of Parkville and Brother Felix Mary Waldron, FPO, of Roxbury, Mass.; a sister, Mary Kerr of Barnstable, Mass.; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandson. Another son, Raymond C. "Chris" Waldron, died in 2005. An earlier marriage to the former Elizabeth Kennedy Dohler ended in divorce.