Dr. Harrold T. Elberfeld, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who enjoyed collecting vintage farm tractors and blacksmithing, died Aug. 3 in his sleep at his home in Sparks. He was 79.
“I’ve known Harrold 34 years. He was a Greater Baltimore Medical Center ob-gyn staff physician in labor and delivery,” said Dr. Gerald A. Glowacki, who was director of Franklin Square Medical Center’s department of obstetrics and gynecology and was also Dr. Elberfeld’s medical partner.
“He was one of the most compassionate physicians that I ever practiced with. He was always dedicated to people,” the retired Cockeysville resident said. “He got to know the patient, their husband, children and entire family. He looked at the total person, not just as a patient. Teaching and patient care were the two most important aspects of his life."
Dr. Donald B. Spangler, a retired ob-gyn, was a longtime friend and colleague.
“I’ve known Harrold for 53 years. I knew him when were were both residents and fellows at Hopkins, and in 1976 we went into practice together," said Dr. Spangler, a Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, resident. “He was a loyal friend, hardworking and a reliable business partner. He loved practicing obstetrics and was devoted to his patients."
Harrold Talley Elberfeld, the son of Earl Henry Elberfeld, owner of Elberfeld Co., a department store, and his wife, Martha Harrold Elberfeld, was born and raised in Logan, Ohio.
He was a 1958 graduate of Logan Senior High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1962 in biology, chemistry and mathematics from Vanderbilt University, and his medical degree four years later from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
While he was a student at Vanderbilt, he met and fell in love with the former Sherry Jean McGaw, whom he married in 1963.
He completed an internship in obstetrics and gynecology at Hopkins in 1967 and his residency in 1971. From 1972 to 1974, he served as a major with the Army Medical Corps at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
From 1974 to 2001, Dr. Elberfeld was associate director of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Franklin Square.
“I recruited him to come to Franklin Square. He was a very, very brilliant ob/gyn," Dr. Glowacki said. “I was a partner with him for 27 years, and he’d spend as much time as a patient needed. He was that caring of a physician.”
He described Dr. Elberfeld as “quiet and reserved, but extremely friendly.”
“People who were his patients concluded that he was their friend, and all the nursing personnel at the hospital knew he was the hallmark of the caring physician,” Dr. Glowacki said.
“Harrold was unassuming but self-assured, and he held himself to high ethical and moral standards,” Dr. Spangler said. “He enjoyed people and enjoyed spending extra time chatting with patients and their husbands.”
From 1991 to 2001, Dr. Elberfeld was director of ambulatory ob/gyn services at Franklin Square, and in 2001 at GBMC as a faculty physician in the hospital’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, a position he held until retiring in 2016.
For more than four decades he was an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hopkins. He was a former president of the Obstetrical and Gynecologic Society of Maryland and a member of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, Infant Mortality Review Committee, Baltimore County, and the Maryland Commission on Infant Mortality Prevention.
Dr. Elberfeld was a member of both the policy advisory board and executive committee of Healthy Start, Baltimore City, and was Maryland section representative of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, District IV, of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
In 1977, he became a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and was a member of the American Medical Association, National Perinatal Association, Maryland Perinatal Association and the Baltimore County Medical Association.
Dr. Elberfeld was an inveterate collector of antique farm tractors from such manufacturers as John Deere and Case International, with the oldest being a Case International from 1919.
“He also collected Volkswagen buses and vintage toys,” Dr. Glowacki said.
“Harrold wasn’t into sports or clubs, but he enjoyed his time off by being on his farm and collecting tractors and toys,” Dr. Spangler said.
Dr. Elberfeld attended the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine, where he learned blacksmithing, family members said. He also was an accomplished woodworker.
He was a member of the Maryland Steam Historical Society Inc., whose focus is on the preservation and operation of steam traction engines, steam-operated equipment, and gas and diesel tractors and engines. He was also a member of the Maryland Two Cylinder Club.
His wife of 56 years, a longtime teacher who had taught at McDonogh School and St. James Academy, died in June.
A visitation for Dr. Elberfeld will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Lemmon Funeral Home, 10 W. Padonia Road, Timonium.
He is survived by his two sons, John Elberfeld and Andrew Elberfeld, both of Sparks; three sisters, Martha Sampsell of Chicago, Susan Centers of Chillicothe, Ohio, and Sally Harrold of Coos Bay, Oregon; and many nieces and nephews.