Dr. Rolando V. “Doc” Goco, a retired internist who had maintained practices in South and Northeast Baltimore as well as Laurel, and earlier had survived the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, died April 28 of dementia at his Tucker, Ga., home.
The former longtime Laurel resident was 91.
“He was an excellent physician and a wonderful person. I took care of his surgeries,” said Dr. Gus DeLeon, a retired surgeon who became acquainted with Dr. Goco when both were staff physicians at Church Home and Hospital.
“He had an excellent bedside manner and patients loved him,” the Towson resident said. “He was unassuming, and a very quiet and gentle person,” said Dr. DeLeon, who later shared an office with Dr. Goco in Laurel. “I sometimes wish I was gentle as he was, but you know how surgeons are, they like to cut.”
Rolando Valencia Goco, who was the son of Lorenzo Lorenzo Gorco, a schoolteacher, and his wife, Estrella Porras Valencia, a homemaker, was born the third of five sons and raised in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, in the Philippines.
Paul H. Hutchins Jr., a retired Baltimore Sun photographer who caught a leaping Brooks Robinson celebrating the Orioles' 1966 World Series sweep, died of heart failure Sunday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. He was 91 and lived in the Loch Raven Reservoir area north of Towson.
“He learned to fish and farm to sustain himself and his family,” wrote a son, Lorenzo Vernon Goco of Arlington, Va., in a biographical profile of his father. “Those skills became passions later in life.”
His son said in a subsequent telephone interview that to make extra money his father had learned to roll cigarettes, which a merchant then sold to Japanese soldiers.
After the war, he enrolled at the University of the Philippines, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1950 and his medical degree in 1955.
In 1955 Dr. Goco came to Baltimore, where he completed both his medical internship and residency in 1959 at Church Home and Hospital.
Dr. Goco also practiced at Church Home and Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital and Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital, now the University of Maryland Laurel Medical Center.
Because of their father, two of his children decided to pursue medical careers.
“He was an influence on me. He was a quiet and humble man,” said a daughter, Dr. Patricia Kelly, a family physician who lives in Tucker. “It’s a lifestyle you grow up in and you want to emulate the good things. He didn’t look at it as a job but as a lifestyle.”
Dr. Kelly remembers the phone ringing at their Laurel home, where her father maintained a basement office where he saw patients.
“I would drive around with him on house calls and we go from Laurel to Fort Avenue in Locust Point, and I remember one time when he was paid with a rockfish,” Dr. Kelly recalled. “When the phone rang at home, we were taught to answer it and be nice to the patients.”
“There were children that didn’t go to school because they needed cleft lip and cleft palate surgery,” Dr. Goco said. “I did the surgery and he cared for the patients before and after surgery and was my translator because I didn’t speak the language.”
Patients paid with what they could afford.
“It was still quite Third World there and we were paid with chickens, mangoes, bananas and other fruit,” Dr. Goco said.
The elder Dr. Goco remained an avid gardener throughout his life, and for many years, he maintained an acre garden plot on one of his patients’ farms near Fort Meade, where he planted a variety of vegetables for his family, neighbors and friends.
He also constructed a greenhouse on the grounds of his home where he grew exotic plants and seedlings for his vegetable garden.
In addition to his wife of 59 years and his son and daughter, he is also survived by three other sons, John Ramon Goco of Columbia, Rolando Nicholas Goco of Arlington, Va., and Norman Joseph Goco of Carrboro, N.C.; another daughter, Linda Peletski of Clarksville; 18 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.