Dr. Nancy R. Lowitt, a University of Maryland School of Medicine educator and senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development, died May 18 from complications of metastatic breast cancer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Homeland resident was 64.
“The entire University of Maryland School of Medicine community has lost one of its most beloved friends and colleagues,” Dr. E. Albert Reece, vice president for medical affairs and medical school dean, said in a statement announcing Dr. Lowitt’s death.
“Nancy Lowitt was a School of Medicine ‘treasure’ — someone who touched every part of our academic mission, and touched the hearts of everyone she met. I will miss her dearly, as one of my most trusted advisers, who has served as my associate dean throughout my entire term as dean,” said Dr. Reece, a Lutherville resident.
“She was a trailblazer who always worked tirelessly to ensure equality, diversity, and inclusion in our culture. She was an inspirational role model to our faculty. Most of all, she was one of the most caring, compassionate, and selfless people I have ever met,” he said.
“Nancy was an absolutely wonderful colleague, and she came to us at Hopkins Bayview as a medical fellow to work in Division of General Internal Medicine of which I was co-director in the early 1990s,” said Dr. L. Randol Barker, a Homeland resident.
“She was the most enthusiastic, caring, positive person and friend,” he said. “She could uplift anybody at any time because of the joy she brought to her work. We became close friends, ate meals together, and shared a love of France.”
Stephanie L. Hoyle was a longtime friend.
“We went to the same church and met 15 years ago, and we are both breast cancer survivors,” said Ms. Hoyle, a former Homeland resident who now lives in Lutherville.
“Nancy was one of the most wonderful individuals that I’ve ever met. She was extremely kind and a gentle person who always put everyone else ahead of herself. She was totally selfless, and never uttered a word or complained about her illness. She was a very positive person who was generous with her time and devoted to her faith.”
The former Nancy Ryan, daughter of Dr. William A. Ryan Sr., a general surgeon, and his wife, Lynne Raymond Ryan, a homemaker, was born in Stamford, Connecticut, and raised in New Canaan, Connecticut, where she attended New Canaan Country School.
She was the maternal granddaughter of Alex Raymond, the American cartoonist who created Flash Gordon, Rip Kirby and Secret Agent X-9.
After graduating in 1973 from Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1978 from Middlebury College, where she was a cum laude graduate in American literature.
Dr. Lowitt earned a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and her medical degree in 1987 from the George Washington University School of Medicine,
She completed a residency in internal medicine in 1990 at the Harvard Medical School and New England Deaconess Hospital, now Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston.
“We met at New England Deaconess. We were interns one year and residents for two,” said her husband, Dr. Mark H. Lowitt, chief of the division of dermatology at GBMC. “And I broke my own rule of dating someone I worked with.”
From 1992 to 1994, she was a fellow in general internal medicine and clinician educator track at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and from 1993 to 1994 was also a facilitator-in-training in the Johns Hopkins Faculty Development Program in teaching skills, also at the school of medicine, and in 1996, she completed a curriculum development program there.
Dr. Lowitt served as assistant, associate and finally as program director of the General Internal Residency Program at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and as a teaching attending in a primary care clinical practice.
In 1998, she was elected to the American College of Physicians, and the next year joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine as an assistant professor, subsequently being appointed associate dean of graduate and continuing medical education.
She was later promoted to senior associate dean for faculty affairs and professional development, a position she held at her death.
Dr. Lowitt was recalled by colleagues as one of the ‘kindest, friendliest and most caring people they knew," according to a University of Maryland School of Medicine announcement of her death.
She was a longtime active communicant of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where she held many roles, including head of the lectors, a member of the parish council and a Eucharistic minister.
“Nancy was a wonderful individual and person,” said Monsignor Richard W. Woy, rector of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. “I came here six years ago, and she had already been very active in the parish. She was very quiet and unassuming about her faith.”
The Homeland resident added, “Her husband, Mark, converted to Catholicism, and that was very important her, and for their marriage and family.”
"But there were other sides to her that were central to understanding who she was,” her husband wrote in an email. “She was a natural mother and was fiercely devoted to her children. She served as a parent coordinator-liaison for many of the kids’ sports teams through the years, right up through Diana’s rowing at Georgetown.”
Dr. Lowitt was an accomplished knitter who gave her handiwork to family and friends, including many hats for babies. She also enjoyed cooking and working in her garden and was a fan of poetry, literature and animals.
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At one time, she had a menagerie of 12 that included a dog, five cats, three rabbits, two guinea pigs, a mouse and a hermit crab, her husband said.
" I write poems every day now because of Nancy who was a literature major at Middlebury. She was the one who got me interested in writing poetry and instilled in me a love of poetry," Dr. Barker said. “Our friendship went way beyond medical matters. She was just a wonderful human being.”
Dr. Lowitt enjoyed vacationing on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, where she and her husband had honeymooned. They went back in 1999 for their 10th wedding anniversary, and then returned with their three children for the next 20 consecutive summers. Last August, they returned to the island and celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.
'She was still working and had scheduled a meeting for 9:30 a.m. the day she died," her husband said. “She was a fighter to the end.”
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Alexander R. Lowitt of Homeland; two daughters, Amy R. Lowitt of Harbor East and Diana R. Lowitt of Homeland; and her mother, Lynne Raymond Ryan of Timonium.