Dr. Charles K. "Bucky" Peters Jr., a well-known Catonsville dentist who practiced for 53 years, died of cancer Friday at his Ellicott City home. He was 83.
"He was just tremendous, funny and had a great sense of humor," said Deborah L. Kennedy, a patient who has known Dr. Peters and his family for more than 30 years.
"He always had a positive outlook, and when anxious patients came to him with problems, he was able to calm them down and put them at ease," said Ms. Kennedy, a lawyer who lives in New Windsor. "He was a true professional and a wonderful human being."
"Bucky was one helluva a guy. I've known him for 52 years, and he was a very principled and highly ethical man," said Dr. Barry S. Lever, a retired periodontist.
"He had very decided opinions about many things, but would listen to you openly about your opinions. He was highly respectful of where you were coming from and could see things through different lenses," said Dr. Lever, who lives in Pikesville. "He was also a very optimistic person whose Catholicism meant a great deal to him."
The son of Charles K. Peters Sr., a roofer, and Ellen Avery Peters, a homemaker, Charles Kenneth Peters Jr. was born in Baltimore, the eldest of four, and raised in Catonsville.
"Bucky's father was Charles K. Peters Sr., and his nickname was 'Buck,' so when Dr. Peters came along, they started calling him 'Bucky,'" said Ms. Kennedy. "It was a family name, and it was so like him to be proud of it, and he let it stick throughout the rest of his life."
After graduating in 1950 from Calvert Hall College High School, which was then located at Cathedral and Mulberry streets in downtown Baltimore, Dr. Peters earned a bachelor's degree in 1954 from what is now Loyola University Maryland.
He was a 1959 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and joined his father-in-law, Dr. John Stang, who had established a dental practice in Catonsville in 1934.
"Three weeks later, his father-in-law had a heart attack in Ocean City and died, and he bought the building," said one of Dr. Peters' daughters, Ellen Hagen, who lives in Ellicott City.
Dr. Peters operated the family-owned practice at Locust Drive and Frederick Road until he sold the building and practice to a dentist next door in 2013.
"He didn't really want to retire and continued helping the dentist by filling in for him, so he never really retired," said Ms. Hagen.
"His patients were incredibly loyal to him and his method of treatment," said Dr. Lever. "He would send me patients. He would never cut corners and he gave his patients the finest care he could give them."
"Dr. Peters' practice, and the man himself, combined professionalism, competency and love easily and seamlessly," said Ms. Kennedy.
"He was widely known throughout his career for his charitable care of the community, clergy, priests, nuns, together with strangers," said Ms. Kennedy. "Anyone in need could always knock on his door and be cared for. His approach to life was always to help in any way he could. It was the hallmark of his life."
For years, Dr. Peters would set up chairs in front of his dental office two weeks before the annual Catonsville July 4th parade so his family, friends and patients could enjoy the event, said Ms. Kennedy.
"His hobby was his work and being with his grandchildren," said Ms. Hagen.
"He was all about his family and his hometown of Catonsville," said Ms. Kennedy.
Dr. Peters was a communicant for many years of St. Mark Roman Catholic Church, 30 Melvin Ave., Catonsville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday.
In addition to his daughter, Dr. Peters is survived by his wife of 59 years, the former Thelma Virginia Stang; a son, John Peters of Perry Hall; another daughter, Kim Fratangelo of Pittsburgh; and two grandchildren.