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Dr. John Hebb was a gynecologist who was one of the original staff physicians at GBMC.
Dr. John Hebb was a gynecologist who was one of the original staff physicians at GBMC. (Baltimore Sun)

Dr. John H. "Jack" Hebb, a retired gynecologist whose career spanned more than 40 years, died of multiple organ failure Monday at the Brightwood retirement community in Lutherville. He was 91.

"He was a straightforward, no-BS type of physician in his dealing with patients, residents and doctors with whom he worked," said Dr. Alan J. Tapper, a retired Baltimore gynecologist.

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"He was totally old-school and devoted to his patients in taking care of them. He was characteristic of his day, and that was the example he set for the docs he trained," said Dr. Taper, a Towson resident. "He had very high standards for care and was concerned about the residents he trained. He always made time for them."

The son of James S. Hebb, a Chesapeake Bay pilot, and Augusta Hebb, a homemaker, John Hopewell Hebb was born in Baltimore and raised in the city's Lake Montebello neighborhood.

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Dr. Hebb was a 1942 graduate of City College and graduated from Duke University in 1945. He earned a medical degree in 1948 from Duke Medical School.

While attending Duke, Dr. Hebb participated in the V-12 Navy College Training Program from 1943 to 1946.

Dr. Hebb completed residencies at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1949 to 1952.

His training was interrupted by the Korean War. He served in the Marine Corps and commanded a battalion aid station in Korea from 1952 to 1954. His decorations for combat and valor included the Bronze Star.

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After returning from Korea, Dr. Hebb completed his training from 1954 to 1957 at the old Women's Hospital in Bolton Hill.

Dr. Hebb, who practiced gynecology and female urological surgery, maintained a private practice at an office on Loch Raven Boulevard for nearly 40 years.

He was also one of the founding staff physicians when Greater Baltimore Medical Center opened its doors in 1965. At GBMC, he was a member of the OB/GYN advisory, peer review, ethics and cancer committees, and was an associate professor of gynecology.

"Jack was very outgoing when he had feelings about issues facing the advisory committee regarding the quality of care, physicians and staff; otherwise he was pretty quiet," said Dr. Ronald G. Peterson, a retired gynecologist who lives in Towson.

Dr. Peterson completed his residency under Dr. Hebb at Women's Hospital.

"He was a good teacher," Dr. Peterson recalled.

When Dr. Emma Zargarian was a resident in training at GBMC, Dr. Hebb was her attending physician.

"He was always very jolly and had a nice, smiley face. He was rather upbeat and a pleasure to work with. He was a very liked person," said Dr. Zargarian, a gynecologist and obstetrician who lives in Hunt Valley.

Dr. Hebb was a member of the Duke Medical Society, Johns Hopkins Medical Society, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, and was a past president of the Baltimore County Medical Association. He also served for 11 years as a delegate to the American Medical Association.

He retired in 1996.

His professional memberships included the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Board of Fertility and the Maryland Foundation for Health Care. He was also a fellow of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"The day he finished practicing medicine he thought a few patients might show up to say goodbye," said his daughter, Dr. Deborah L. Hebb, a Baltimore obstetrician and gynecologist who lives in Roland Park. "His secretary said the line went out of the door and around the building.

"He always wore a suit, tie and white shirt to work. He was the consummate gentleman," she said. "That day, he had lipstick kisses smeared all over his face and white collar."

"My wife and I have a friend who was a patient of Jack's, and she once said she had the greatest respect for Jack Hebb. It was a privilege to have him as her gynecologist," said Dr. Peterson.

"One of his greatest rewards was to have his daughter become an obstetrician and gynecologist, and practice at his hospital. He was so pleased about that," said Dr. Peterson.

A former Homeland resident who had lived at Brightwood for the last four years, Dr. Hebb was a Baltimore Colts, Ravens and Orioles fan.

He was a member of the Elkridge Club, where he enjoyed playing bridge and gin rummy.

"As a boy, he used to accompany his father aboard ships and that's where he learned to play cards," his daughter said.

Services are private.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Hebb is survived by his wife of 68 years, the former Marilyn Evans; a son, Dr. John H. Hebb Jr. of Towson; and four grandchildren.

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