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Dr. John S. Braxton Jr., longtime Baltimore physician, dies

Dr. John S. Braxton Jr., a primary care physician who practiced for more than 60 years, died of pneumonia Jan. 10 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 94.

"John was a very kind and hardworking doctor. He was both honest and dedicated," said Dr. Lionel A. Desbordes, a medical school classmate of Dr. Braxton.

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"He was a very industrious doctor who worked very hard and had an enormous amount of patients," said Dr. Desbordes, a resident of Strathmore Towers in Northwest Baltimore who is retired from a Baltimore obstetrics and gynecology practice.

"I met John Braxton well over 50 years ago. He was my physician — and when I say physician, I mean a great physician," said the Rev. Anthony Brown, a retired United Methodist Church pastor.

"He was a people person and he made you want to come back because he treated you nice. His wife, who worked with him, was just as nice," said Mr. Brown, who lives in Chestertown. "He cared deeply about his patients and gave them the best he could."

The son of John S. Braxton Sr., a Philadelphia Navy Yard carpenter, and Barbara Morris-Braxton, a homemaker, John Sarjent Braxton was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Central High School there in 1939.

In 1940, he enrolled at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pa., and left two years later when he joined the Army. He served with an infantry unit in the Pacific and, after the war, returned to Lincoln University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1948 and became a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Dr. Braxton entered the Howard University College of Medicine and received his medical degree in 1952. He completed an internship and residency at Philadelphia General Hospital.

He married the former Joslyn L. Ferrell, a registered nurse. She had been the school nurse at Morgan State University and later worked alongside her husband in his practice.

In 1954, Dr. Braxton established clinics on South Sharp Street, Mount Winans and Cherry Hill, which he operated for a decade. he then established an office on Park Heights Avenue and the Cherry Hill Medical Center in the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road with Dr. Simon Carter.

"He'd go to work at 8 a.m. and would stay in the office until the last patient was seen. My mother took him dinner," said his daughter, Barbara Braxton-Morgan of Baltimore. "When he made house calls and my mother was his nurse — and when we were very little — they'd put us in the back of the station wagon and take us with them."

After selling the medical center in 1983, he went to work at the old Provident Hospital, which later came Liberty Medical Center.

Dr. Braxton opened an office and family practice in Chestertown in 1972, and continued practicing medicine there until 1988, when he joined the Seton Medical Group at Bon Secours Hospital. He retired in 2013 at age 91.

"When I moved back here from Virginia, he became my primary care physician and I've been a patient for years," said Helen L. Bell, who lives in the Millbrook neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore. "John was very friendly, kind and reminded me of a country doctor. When you walked into his office he always had a big smile on his face and would say, 'How are you doin'?'"

"During his medical career, he was known for his compassion and tireless work ethic. He devoted his life to helping others," said his granddaughter, Jessica Ashley "Jessy" Morgan of Fairfax, Va., who is head women's lacrosse coach at George Mason University.

"A naturally gifted physician, he was a consummate learner and a ferocious reader who enjoyed attending medical conferences all over the country, as well as teaching and mentoring younger doctors," said Ms. Morgan. "He was a beloved colleague and friend to many in his field."

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Dr. Braxton lived in Chestertown in a family home of his wife's that dated to 1874. He had formerly lived for many years on Liberty Heights Avenue, and earlier on Poplar Grove Street.

He was a longtime communicant of St. James Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square and was a Mason.

He had been a Baltimore Colts and Bullets fan, and he followed the Orioles and Ravens. He enjoyed swimming, boating and riding motorcycles.

"He had been a season Colts ticket holder, and I remember going to the games with him," said his daughter.

Funeral services will be held 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Wylie Funeral Home, 9200 Liberty Road, Randallstown.*

In addition to his wife of 62 years, and his daughter and granddaughter, Dr. Braxton is survived by two sons, Lanier Drew Braxton of Baltimore and John S. Braxton III of Newark, Del.

*NOTE: Due to the weekend snow storm, funeral services for Dr. Braxton originally planned for Tuesday have been rescheduled to 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The new time and date is reflected here.

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