Dr. Stewart M. Wolff, a Baltimore ophthalmologist who was an expert on abnormal alignment of the eyes, died Saturday from respiratory failure at his home in the Blakehurst Retirement Community in Towson. He was 92.
“Stewart was an outstanding ophthalmologist who was highly regarded by his medical peers for his ability, and was absolutely loved by his patients for his care,” said Dr. William F. Fritz of Towson, a retired Baltimore internist who attended medical school with Dr. Wolff.
Dr. Robert Bond Welch, former co-director of the Wilmer Retina Service and chairman of ophthalmology at Greater Baltimore Medical Center from 1985 to 1991, went to both college and medical school with Dr. Wolff, and said he and his close friend also trained together as residents at the Wilmer Eye Institute.
“He was an expert in pediatric ophthalmology and had supervised the muscular, or orthoptic, clinic at Wilmer,” said Dr. Welch, an Annapolis resident and author of “The Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute, 1925-2000.”
Stewart MacKay Wolff was born in Adamsville, R.I., the son of Dr. Thomas Conrad Wolff, a physician, and Dorothy Barry Stewart, a nutritionist.
In 1928, his family moved to a rowhouse on East 36th St. when his father came to Johns Hopkins Hospital to practice cardiology. They later moved to a home on Tuscany Court in the city’s Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood.
After graduating from McDonogh School in 1943, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1946, then served as a radar officer on the aircraft carrier USS Randolph in the Atlantic.
Dr. Wolff obtained his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University Medical School in 1952 and completed residency training at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, with fellowships in Iowa and San Francisco.
In 1956, he established a private ophthalmological practice at 803 Cathedral St. in the city’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, and was also an associate professor at Wilmer.
“He was considered an expert in strabismus — which is crossed eyes, lazy eye or a squint,” Dr. Welch said. “The brain comes to rely on the stronger eye, so a patch is used to cover it and force the weaker eye to catch up and correct it.”
As a result of his work with strabismus, Dr. Wolff was a member of the “prestigious Squint Club,” Dr. Welch said.
Dr. Wolff’s professional memberships included the American Ophthalmological Society and the Caduceus Club.
He retired in the 1990s said his wife of 48 years, the former Suzanne Gross Sheldon.
Dr. Wolff enjoyed summer visits to Sturgeon Point, Ontario, where he stayed in a cottage his grandfather had built. He also liked spending time at a cottage he had owned at Eastville, Va., which was located between the Chesapeake Bay and Remus Creek in Northampton County.
He loved music and singing, and had been a member of several choirs over the years. An accomplished artist, he was known for painting landscapes and portraits in oils.
He was also a member and past president of the Hamilton Street Club and a member of the Elkridge Club.
“Stewart was a remarkable person and a wonderful gentleman,” Dr. Welch said. “Because his parents were Canadian, he had that Canadian charm, and he was a very warm and gracious person.”
“He was an enthusiastic golfer, a delightful raconteur and a talented artist,” Dr. Fritz said. “But above all, he was a devoted husband and father and an authentic, loyal and faithful friend.”
A longtime Ruxton resident who moved to Blakehurst in 2013, Dr. Wolff was a member of Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. May 20 at Blakehurst, 1055 W. Joppa Road, Towson.
In addition to his wife, Dr. Wolff is survived by two sons, Stewart MacKay Wolff Jr. of New York and Robert Brent Keyser Wolff of Atlanta; a daughter, Edith Gaylord Clark Wolff of Seattle; two stepdaughters, Karan Sheldon of Milton, Mass., and Jennifer Sheldon of Bozeman, Mont.; a sister, Dorothy Barry Wolff of Towson; and 10 grandchildren. His first wife of 11 years, the former Sally Cary Clark, died in 1966.