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Dr. Roy W. Cragway Jr., Baltimore-born emergency room physician who practiced in Ocean City, dies

Dr. Roy Winston Cragway Jr. was an accomplished billiards player.
Dr. Roy Winston Cragway Jr. was an accomplished billiards player. (BALTIMORE SUN)

Dr. Roy Winston Cragway Jr., an Ocean City emergency room physician and family practice specialist recalled for his bedside manner and ability to calm patients, died of heart disease at his home Feb. 28. He was 66 and lived in Berlin in Worcester County.

Born in Baltimore and known as “Buddy,” he was the son of Roy Winston Cragway Sr., the athletic director at Frederick Douglass High School, and his wife, Wilhelmina Reid, a teacher at Northern Parkway Junior High School.

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“We basically grew up on Morgan’s campus,” said his brother, Robert Reid Cragway. “Our uncle was Dr. Edward P. “Wink” Hurt, who had the Morgan gym named after him.”

He was raised in Morgan Park on Montebello Terrace and attended the Alexander Hamilton School and the Francis L. Murphy Laboratory School on the Coppin State University campus.

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Mr. Cragway and his brother were confirmed at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on West Lafayette Avenue.

While attending Herring Run Junior High School, he developed an interest in collecting comic books and baseball cards, and built scale-model cars, planes and warships. He won awards for his painting techniques and detailing work.

He later became a serious coin collector and published his first article on the Benjamin Franklin Half Dollar in the numismatic newspaper “Coin World.”

He went on to became president of the Herring Run School Model Car Club and played sandlot baseball.

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He was a 1972 graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a varsity letter for track and field. He joined the Black History Club and was voted to the Board of Student Activities.

“He was very interested in becoming a surveyor and through that summer held a job at Whitman Requardt and Associates,” said his brother, Robert.

“My brother was somewhat reserved, but he was a classic comedian. He always had a one-liner ready. He was intelligent and things came to him carefully.”

He began attending Morgan State University and initially studied biology. He later changed to chemistry and entertained thoughts of becoming a physician.

“After his love of engineering and surveying, his decision to change to medicine shocked us all,” his brother said.

His brother said he had to double up on his chemistry courses and won a spot on the dean’s list. He also became the lacrosse team’s statistician and scorekeeper.

He became a chemistry lab assistant and served as the Chemistry Club’s president. He was elected to Beta Kappa Chi, a national honor society, and was a co-winner of the Merick Index Award for excellence in chemistry.

While in college he owned several performance cars, including a Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 and a Corvette Stingray.

“A number of guys in our neighborhood were car enthusiasts, and my brother often spent weekend time at the Capitol Raceway,” said his brother. “After moving to the Eastern Shore, he liked the trotters at Ocean Downs and he was an on-call doctor at the track.”

He earned his medical degree at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

He was also an accomplished pool player and represented the medical school at a statewide billiards tournament.

He did his internship and residency at the old South Baltimore General Hospital, now MedStar Harbor Hospital. He was licensed to practice medicine and surgery in September 1982. He later worked in the emergency room of the old Baltimore City Hospitals.

He moved to the Eastern Shore and worked at the Townsend Medical Center on 10th Street in Ocean City. On the day of his funeral, the medical center was closed so its staff could attend.

“Dr. Cragway was an intelligent man who had a lot to say and share. He treated his patients as if they were his only patient. As he greeted a patient, he was generous and kind. He often shared his coins, stamps and baseball cards with all of us,” said Marie K. Miller, an occupational health coordinator.

“Sometimes in the summer, one of our young visitors would get a splinter in a foot on the boardwalk. He’d find out if they had a favorite baseball player, and soon he’d be giving a couple of cards,” she said.

“He was well known in Ocean City and worked on public health issues. He was active in our community and was known at our local restaurants, especially if they had a pool table.”

In a 2008 Baltimore Sun article, he answered a reporter’s question about jellyfish stings and whether meat tenderizer helped.

“That is an old wives’ tale and generally doesn’t work,” he said, recommending instead to rub sand in the wound.

At his death, he worked at the Atlantic Health Center in Berlin while the Ocean City medical center treated and tested patients related to COVID-19.

“He quickly became loved and respected by his co-workers and patients. He was an excellent teacher, amazing storyteller and a known prankster,” his brother said.

Dr. Cragway played in a pool league, and enjoyed trips to casinos and playing lottery scratch-offs. He also collected Civil War memorabilia.

He met his future wife, Carolyn Miller, a nurse at Atlantic General Hospital, nearly 14 years ago. They married Aug. 18, 2011.

“He was an excellent teacher and had a good personality. He was known for playing practical jokes,” his wife said. “He was the kind of man who was always busy.”

In addition to his wife and brother, survivors include a stepson, Brandon Michael Krieger, and a stepdaughter, Alexis Miller, both of Berlin, and a niece and nephew.

A funeral was held March 9 at the Burbage Funeral Home.

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