Dr. Stanley L. Brown, a retired Eastpoint dentist who was a World War II prisoner of war in Germany, died of complications from a stroke Sept. 13 at Gilchrist Center in Towson while listening to Frank Sinatra and holding his daughter’s hand.
The Mays Chapel resident was 96.
“He was an outstanding dentist, very caring, and his patients loved him,” said Dr. Arthur Goldvarg, who began practicing dentistry in 1981 with Dr. Brown and five years later became his partner. “He was just wonderful and treated his patients as if they were family or friends. He had a lot of compassion and always had his patients’ best interest at heart.”
Stanley Louis Brown, son of Jacob Brown, a haberdasher, and his wife, Ida Brown, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Whittier Avenue.
After graduating from Baltimore City College in 1943 when he was 17, he attended the University of Maryland for a year, before enlisting in the Army.
Dr. Brown was sent to Camp Wheeler near Macon, Georgia, for 17 weeks of basic training. Camp Wheeler was an IRTC, or an infantry replacement training center, where they “took boys, gave them basic training, then shipped them to the front lines as replacements after the heavy losses of D-Day,” wrote a son, Randy Brown, of Boston, for his father’s eulogy.
In Nov. 1944, after leaving Camp Kilmer, near New Brunswick, New Jersey, which was part of the New York Port of Embarkation for European-bound troops, Dr. Brown boarded the Cunard Lines’ RMS Queen Mary, which had been converted to a troop ship and was known as the “Grey Ghost,” for a rough six day crossing that ended in Gourock, Scotland.
Dr. Brown later recalled that the only highlight of the voyage was meeting Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney who was entertaining the troops. He was then sent to the front lines where he served with an infantry unit as a rifleman and scout.
“His first day of battle was Thanksgiving Day 1944, where he was out in front of his squad as a scout and went up a hill, where he encountered a major grouping of German soldiers!” his son wrote. “He ran back to get the rest of his men and to warn them of danger, and as he said he felt like the entire Germany Army was after him. He made it, warned the men, and they captured the area. Day 1 down!”
After three weeks of sustained combat they were sent to the rear for rest, with a dozen of the 40 men in his squad remaining.
“They were resting in several barns and would go out on patrols each day,” his son wrote. “One day he encountered a massive force of Germans, which turned out to be the beginning of the famous Battle of the Bulge. He and those not killed were captured beginning his period as a POW. They were treated reasonably, but essentially starved with 1/8th of a loaf of bread and soup made with grass as his only nutrition each day.”
Dr. Brown never surrendered his dog tags that identified him as a Jewish person and in doing so guaranteed his survival.
After spending three days in a boxcar of a train, Dr. Brown’s journey ended in a POW camp. In the spring of 1945, he was subjected to a three month march through Germany as the Germans did not want to release the POWs.
Throughout his ordeal, Dr. Brown, who attained the rank of private, told his family he remained positive.
“He was liberated on Friday the 13th of April 1945. The 13th would always be his good luck number,” his son wrote. “At the end of the war, my dad was down from 145 pounds to 89, and had lice and dysentery, so he was moved to a hospital in Rouen, France, then shipped to the U.S. to Walter Reed in Washington for recovery. He was discharged on Nov. 26, 1945, almost a year to the day from his first day in combat.”
“There is no question in my mind that World War II didn’t color his life,” said Debra Furchgott, a longtime friend, who lives in Towson. “When you were a POW, it’s a horrible experience that never really goes away. Even though it changed his life, he continued to participate in life.”
After visiting the dentist with his father when he was 12, Dr. Brown made the decision that one day he’d pursue and have a career in dentistry.
Dr. Brown returned to the University of Maryland where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1951, and obtained his dental degree on the GI Bill in 1955 from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, where during his last semester, he met and fell in love with the former Edie Brill, whom he had met at a party in College Park. They married in 1956.
He began practicing dentistry on Eastern Avenue in an office and waiting room shared with a physician, and in 1976, moved to an office on North Point Boulevard across from the Eastpoint Mall.
“Money was not his thing and patients appreciated that. He wasn’t interested in the money he could generate off patients,” said Dr. Goldvarg, of Owing Mills, who purchased the practice in 1992 when Dr. Brown retired. “He was willing to sit and talk to them about what was needed to be done. That’s the way practices used to work, today a patient gets five minutes.”
He added: “Most partners end up not getting along, but we did and we had a wonderful relationship.”
“Stanley became a successful dentist that others dentists sent their wives to,” Mrs. Furchgott said. “He didn’t make waves and people liked that. He was always smiling, and didn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
“To this day, Stan often encounters previous patients who proudly show off his dental work which he always considered works of art,” according to a biographical profile submitted by his family. “He was also known as the dentist to the stars. Whenever a performer came to Baltimore and had a dental emergency, they were sent to Stan.”
“One of his patients who started coming to Stan when she was a little girl was Gina Schock who later became a drummer for the Go-Go’s,” said his widow, Mrs. Brown, a Baltimore publicist. “I remember going over to Merriweather with her parents to see Gina.”
Known as “Stan the Man,” Dr. Brown and his wife enjoyed traveling and dining out with Mr. and Mrs. Furchgott who have been close friends for more than 30 years.
“Stan was a gentleman of the highest integrity who was always pleasant and always with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye,” Maurice H. Furchgott said. “We did a lot of cruises with them and Stan loved to dance. He was such a pleasant person to be around.”
After retiring, Dr. Brown taught pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He also became a sculptor and was an avid tennis player and enjoyed golfing at the Suburban Club where he was a member.
Before moving to Mays Chapel 15 years ago, he resided for 44 years in Mount Washington’s Pill Hill neighborhood, so named for the large number of medical people who lived there.
He also liked getting dressed up and going out to dinner at such favorite places as the Prime Rib, Tark’s Grill and Peerce’s Plantation, his wife said.
“Stan was a dentist’s dentist and a very happy simple man,” Mrs. Brown said. “He never had an enemy and when people remember Stan, they remember his smile.”
Funeral services were held Sept. 17 at Sol Levinson & Bros. in Pikesville.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by another son, Mitchell Brown of Reisterstown; a daughter, Jody Brown of Weston, Connecticut; and seven grandchildren.