Dr. Darryl Carter, a retired surgical pathologist who had been on the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine and was an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, died of heart failure April 21 at his Timonium home. He was 87.
“He was a wonderful physician,” said Dr. Marie J. Merino, chief of the surgical pathology section of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. “I never worked with such a wonderful mentor who was both honest and dignified.”
Dr. Coralie Shaw, a diagnostic radiology specialist who was director of the Yale Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, worked closely with Dr. Carter for more than two decades.
“I came to Yale as a professor in 1983 and he had started there five years earlier,” Dr. Shaw said. “He was such a wonderful man and an absolute expert in lung and breast pathology.
“Darryl was always calm, reasoned and listened. He gave erudite medical opinions. I never ever heard him raise his voice or swear. He was always a perfect gentleman.”
Darryl Carter, son of Jeffrey F. Carter, a newspaperman, and Mary Louise Cronk Carter, a Maryland Public Television secretary, was born in Baltimore and raised in Homeland.
After graduating from McDonogh School in 1953, he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1957 from the Johns Hopkins University.
While at Hopkins, Mr. Carter was a member of the football and lacrosse teams his first year and the fencing team all four years.
Dr. Carter obtained his medical degree in 1961 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed an internship and residency in surgery in 1963 at University Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
When he was a medical student at Hopkins, he met and fell in love with the former Margaret Alice Meade, who worked in the hospital laboratory. The couple married in 1962.
While living in Ohio, the couple became lifelong Buckeye football fans, family members said.
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From 1963 to 1965, he served as a captain with the Army Medical Corps while stationed at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington.
Dr. Carter returned to Hopkins as a member of the medical school faculty from 1969 to 1977, when he accepted a tenured professorship of pathology at the Yale School of Medicine.
“I was a resident when he came to Yale as director of surgical pathology and he became my mentor,” Dr. Merino said. “He was an excellent pathologist who gave everything he had to his residents.”
“Darryl had great acumen as a clinician and was simply brilliant,” said Dr. Shaw, who retired in 2008 from Yale’s Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Biomedical Engineering.
“He knew so much about diseases that people sought him out, and when I had to do biopsies, I wouldn’t do them unless he was around. And no matter how much or little material you were able to get in a biopsy, he was able to make an expert diagnosis which would help in the surgical decision and guide the surgeon’s hand,” Dr. Shaw said. “As a member of the Yale’s Tumor Board, people would say, ‘Darryl, what do you think?’ His was the voice of reason and he had the last word.”
He led annual symposiums in lung and breast pathology and was president of the Arthur Purdy Stout Society of Surgical Pathologists from 1981 to 1983.
While at Yale and living in Madison, Connecticut, Dr. Carter enjoyed sailing on the Long Island Sound and added the University of Connecticut Huskie’s men’s and women’s basketball teams to his list of athletic enthusiasms.
Dr. Carter retired from Yale in 2003 and moved to Timonium.
Restless in retirement, he became a consultant at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institute of Health, and then returned to work as a pathologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at Walter Reed.
“I always had constantly kept in touch with him and I had him come and be a visiting professor at the Center for Cancer Research [at the National Cancer Institute],” Dr. Merino said.
Dr. Carter later joined the Joint Pathology Center at the Bethesda Naval Center, where he worked until 2015 while continuing to be an adjunct professor at Hopkins. He finally retired in 2020.
“He was still reviewing mesothelioma slides the week he died,” Dr. Shaw said.
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An expert in the field of breast and lung pathology, Dr. Carter was the author of more than 160 articles, more than 50 chapters in medical textbooks as well as countless reviews.
Dr. Carter was an enthusiastic gardener and was especially fond of roses.
He was an avid Orioles and Baltimore Colts fan, and also liked sitting on the beach at his second home in Ocean Village, Delaware, where he enjoyed entertaining family and friends, and dining on Maryland crabs and Grotto Pizza, family members said.
His wife died in 2022.
He was a communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Cockeysville.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered Monday at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Towson.
Dr. Carter is survived by two sons, Michael D. Carter of Alexandria, Virginia, and Jeffrey C. Carter of Los Angeles; two daughters, Margaret M. Carter of Kent Island and Rebecca A. Carter of Keene, New Hampshire; and three grandchildren.