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Dr. Irving J. Taylor was a psychiatrist who had been medical director and CEO of the old Taylor Manor Hospital in Ellicott City.
Dr. Irving J. Taylor was a psychiatrist who had been medical director and CEO of the old Taylor Manor Hospital in Ellicott City.

Dr. Irving J. Taylor, a psychiatrist, researcher and philanthropist who had been medical director and CEO of the old Taylor Manor Hospital in Ellicott City, died Friday at his Pikesville home of a heart attack. He was 95.

"Irv Taylor was a major pioneer in psychiatry and was known nationally. He was the first to use anti-psychotic medicine on patients. He established an adolescent unit. He was always interested in being on the leading edge. He was a visionary," said Dr. Steve S. Sharfstein, who is president and chief executive officer of Sheppard Pratt Health System.

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"He had a long life and made many contributions, and was a real presence in the field," said Dr. Sharfstein. "He also had a mentoring role for us and was somebody to be admired and emulated."

"It was his humanity that made him a great psychiatrist," said Dr. F. Anthony Lehman, who was chairman of the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is now its senior dean for clinical affairs.

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"Irv was really a man ahead of his time in psychiatry. He looked at mental illness and addiction as a medical disease and brought new techniques in order to treat them," said Dr. Lehman. "It was a very different time in the 1950s, and he wasn't afraid to take a different path."

The son of Isaac H. Taylor, who had been owner, president and chairman of the board of Taylor Manor Hospital, and Rose Caplan Taylor, Irving Julian Taylor was born in Baltimore and raised in Ellicott City.

After graduating in 1935 from Ellicott City High School, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1939 from the Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree in 1943 from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

During World War II, he served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps and was assigned to stateside hospitals. He then completed his psychiatric residency at Spring Grove State Hospital and Perry Point Veterans Hospital, while concurrently studying at the Baltimore Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

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In 1939, his father, who had been a successful Ellicott City optometrist and merchant, purchased Patapsco Manor, a 12-bed private psychiatric hospital in Ellicott City.

Dr. Taylor was named medical director in 1949; five years later, the hospital was renamed Taylor Manor. In 1951, he became a board-certified psychiatrist.

In 1946, he married Edith Lee Goodman, who was named executive director of the hospital the same year her husband assumed his duties as medical director.

Dr. Taylor and his wife worked together for the next 30 years and transformed the hospital into a 204-bed facility. It developed a reputation as one of the world's most progressive facilities when it came to treating psychiatric patients as well as those suffering from substance abuse.

As Dr. Taylor transformed Taylor Manor, he also transformed the way he treated patients who were schizophrenic, depressed or had substance abuse problems.

"His pioneering work with new antipsychotics in 1953 ushered in the modern era of psychopharmacology," said his son, Dr. Bruce T. Taylor, a psychiatrist who succeeded his father as medical director in 1979.

"In 1953, he was the first psychiatrist in the country to use Thorazine to treat inpatients with serious mental illnesses. He exhibited this groundbreaking work at the American Psychiatric and American Medical associations," said his son, who lives in Pikesville.

"This marked the beginning of modern psychiatric disease-specific pharmacologic treatments. He went on to work with each of the new anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications which were developed in the 1950s and 1960s," said Dr. Taylor.

"He had a major hospital and sometimes he paid a price for going a different way and against the grain, but he always acted in the best interest of the patient," said Dr. Lehman.

In 1966, Dr. Taylor founded the first psychiatric hospital treatment program in the state that specifically cared for adolescents. It was expanded in the 1970s when he developed a dual-diagnosis program for emotionally ill substance abusers, which was called Group 9.

He and his son also also created a treatment center called Changing Point in 1982.

The elder Dr. Taylor also fought to destigmatize mental illness and opened his hospital to public tours.

For years, Dr. Taylor served on the board of review for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and was active in numerous state medical and psychiatric associations, including the National Association of Psychiatric Hospitals.

In 2002, the Taylor family decided to sell the facility to the Sheppard Pratt Health System, which renamed it Sheppard Pratt at Ellicott City.

"He never really retired," said his son.

For his long years of pioneering work and humanity, Dr. Taylor was honored by the American Psychiatric Association, which named him a Lifetime Fellow.

This past summer, Dr. Taylor gave $2.5 million to the University of Maryland psychiatry department to establish the Irving J. Taylor, M.D. chair.

"Their generosity is proof that this family believes in giving back," said Dr. Sharfstein.

Other recipients of Dr. Taylor's philanthropy included the Jewish National Fund, Israel Bonds, Jerusalem Foundation, the Johns Hopkins University, Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and Pet Partners.

He was a member of Oheb Shalom Congregation and had been a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

Dr. Taylor, who maintained a second home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., was interested in the preservation of historic structures in Ellicott City. He also enjoyed collecting classic automobiles.

"When he bought a new car, he never sold the old, which became part of his collection," his son said. "He had a 1959 Cadillac with the great wings, a 1970 Imperial, a 1976 Lincoln and a Franklin that dates to the 1920s."

His wife died in 2010.

Services were held Sunday at Sol Levinson & Bros. in Pikesville.

In addition to his son, Dr. Taylor is survived by a daughter, Stephanie L. "Ryah" Taylor of Sedona, Ariz.; four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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