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Dr. Garrett E. Deane, St. Agnes chief of pediatrics

Dr. Garrett E. Deane had been chief of pediatrics at St. Agnes Hospital.
Dr. Garrett E. Deane had been chief of pediatrics at St. Agnes Hospital.

Dr. Garrett E. Deane, a retired chief of pediatrics at St. Agnes Hospital, died of an infection Nov. 24 at his son's Monkton home. The former Catonsville resident was 93.

Born and raised in St. Louis, he was the son of Earle Glenn Deane, a Red Cross official, and the former Leila Chamberlain.

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He was a 1943 graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine. He came to Baltimore and did his internship at what was then the Baltimore City Hospitals at Bayview. He then served in the Army's Medical Corps. He did a pediatric residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

He joined the staff of St. Agnes Hospital in Southwest Baltimore in 1953 and became its chief of pediatrics a year later. He held the post until 1962. He was also an emergency room physician from 1969 to 1980 and served on the hospital's executive committee from 1959 to 1967.

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"He was a go-to resource physician for other pediatricians and obstetricians who needed help in a diagnosis," said his son, Garrett Earle "Gary" Deane Jr. of Monkton. "He seemed to have a special ability. I think he helped many people."

In 1953, Dr. Deane established a private medical practice in Catonsville, where he lived on Montrose Avenue. He had offices on Edmondson Avenue and on U.S. 40.

"My father had an unparalleled work ethic," said his daughter, Barbara Sysak. "He began his workday at 7 a.m. by taking phone calls in his room with his morning coffee. He would then start phoning in pharmacy prescriptions or he would contact the hospital."

Because her father had an estimated 2,500 patients at the time of the post-World War II baby boom, she said, he asked for and received a special telephone number, Ridgeway-7-3000.

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"For the time, we had some pretty high technology installed in the house," said his daughter, who lives in Memphis, Tenn. "We had three telephone lines at our home, and they were always ringing. We got calls in the middle of the night from mothers whose children had croup, a bronchial condition. My father had a response: 'Everything will be better in the morning. You can call me at 7 when I am sure things will be better.' "

She said that after dealing with his early-morning duties, he drove to St. Agnes Hospital and saw newborns and his other patients — and taught interns and residents.

"He was a superb teacher," said Dr. Raymond D. Bahr, a retired St. Agnes cardiologist who trained under Dr. Deane. "He was a comprehensive teacher who had the ability to offer practical information. He was not one to just teach esoteric or academic aspects of pediatrics. He explained the more useful ways of dealing with the situations you would encounter."

Dr. Bahr said that Dr. Deane was able to blend the role of a busy pediatrician with those of a hospital administrator and department head.

"He was well loved and he got his message across," said Dr. Bahr, who lives in Canton.

After spending time at the hospital, Dr. Deane had office hours with his patients until 5 p.m.

"He made it a point to be home for a family dinner at 5:15 p.m.," said his daughter. "After supper, he had more office hours, three days a week. At night, he also stopped by St. Agnes to check on patients."

In 2003, the trustees of St. Agnes Hospital awarded him a plaque of recognition for his 50 years of service.

'When I was a first-grader, literally half my classmates were his patients," said his son, John Deane, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., and is president of a national health system consultant group.

Dr. Deane later moved to the Charlestown retirement community, where he lived until late 2012.

"So many of the residents there would greet Dad in the hallway," said Gary Deane. "They were the parents of the children he had cared for. The experience was so good for him."

Plans for a private service to be held in January are incomplete.

In addition to his sons and daughter, survivors include two other daughters, Nancy Moore of Oxford, Miss., and Anne Berman of Seattle; 10 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. His wife of nearly 10 years, Isadela Yolanda Rioja, died in 2008. His marriages to Elizabeth Jett and Patricia Pfeiffer ended in divorce.

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