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Dr. Stanley N. Yaffe, a noted retired Baltimore dermatologist

Dr. Stanley N. Yaffe was a noted dermatologist who was a co-author of a seminal paper on the use of cortizone.
Dr. Stanley N. Yaffe was a noted dermatologist who was a co-author of a seminal paper on the use of cortizone. (Handout)

Dr. Stanley N. Yaffe, a Baltimore dermatologist and educator who in the early 1950s co-authored a seminal paper on the use of cortisone, died June 6 in his sleep at Brightview Towson, an assisted-living facility.

The former longtime Pikesville resident was 97.

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“He was the kindest and the most refined man, a brilliant, brilliant dermatologist,” said Dr. Bonnie Epstein, a Lutherville dermatologist who was friends with Dr. Yaffe for 33 years. “Everyone held him in high regard.”

Dr. Joseph W. Burnett, a Towson resident and emeritus professor of dermatology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, was a friend of Dr. Yaffe’s since 1959. He called him a “gentle, kind and very considerate man.”

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Stanley Norman Yaffe was born in Baltimore, the only child of Joseph Yaffe, a rag salesman, and Rose Yaffe, a homemaker.

He grew up on Forest Park Avenue and graduated in 1937 from Forest Park High School. In 1941, he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, and three years later, received a medical degree, also from Maryland.

He performed an internship at the old Emergency Hospital in Washington in 1945, and from 1946 to 1947 had another internship at Sinai Hospital.

In 1949, he entered New York University’s Skin and Cancer Institute, and for two years trained in dermatology and syphilology. He then completed a residency at Fort Howard Veterans Administration Hospital and at the Johns Hopkins Medical School. He was certified by the American Board of Dermatology and Syphilology.

He also served in the Navy from 1945 to 1946 as a lieutenant, and again from 1952 to 1956 at the Navy’s Training Center in Bainbridge.

“He served two different terms, which postponed his ability to establish a private practice,” said a daughter, Harriet Yaffe of Port Republic in Calvert County.

Eugene J. Becker, a retired national Security Agency official who supported the mission of the National Cryptologic Museum, died Saturday in his sleep at Howard County General Hospital. The Ellicott City resident was 90.

In addition to being a dermatologist, Dr. Yaffe also specialized in treatment of venereal diseases. “At the University of Maryland, he was director of the venereal clinic,” said Dr. Charles S. Samorodin of Ruxton, a retired dermatologist and longtime friend.

“It was an ironic specialty for a man who was so private, so unassuming, so unemotional most of the time,” said Rabbi Debi Wechsler in her eulogy at Chizuk Amuno Congregation, where Dr. Yaffe was a member. “He was so devoted to his patients, to medicine as his profession, and was never in it for the money.”

When he entered private practice, Dr. Yaffe opened his first office in the Fallstaff Medical Building in Northwest Baltimore, and later moved to Park Heights Avenue. His fees ranged from $6 to $10, and for years he refused to raise them.

“Stan practiced at a time when there were only four or five dermatologists in Baltimore,” said Dr. Samorodin, who retired in 2013 and is now president of the Baltimore County Medical Association and an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Stanley thought nothing of it when people would come to the house on Saturday mornings to be seen by him, or when they would line up in the sand while they were on vacation at Bethany Beach to show him weird stuff on their bodies and [ask] what it was,” said Rabbi Wechsler.

In addition to his practice, Dr. Yaffe supervised dermatology clinics at the U.S. Public Health Hospital in Wyman Park, at the Fort Howard VA Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical System.

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In 1951, he published an article, with co-authors Drs. M.B. Sulzberger and V.H. Whitten, about orally administered cortisone for dermatological therapy.

“It was a most impressive hallmark,” said Dr. Samorodin. “Dr. Yaffe was one of the very early physicians treating people with cortisone for skin disorders. He used to mix his own compounds, but cortisone and later prednisone eliminated that.”

“The condition that he used cortisone to treat was pemphigus vulgaris — which was a life-threatening condition. The patient would get blisters all over his body,” Dr. Burnett said.

For 50 years — until he was in his 90s — Dr. Yaffe volunteered as a unpaid faculty member at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and also helped in the clinic.

“Medical students loved Stanley because he had a pleasant and mellow personality,” Dr. Burnett said.

“He was a nice guy who was always anxious to help the residents, and so knowledgeable,” added Dr. Samorodin.

Dr. Yaffe still enjoyed making rounds at the University of Maryland Medical Center with Dr. Samorodin, who would drive him to the hospital.

“He loved his work… and was always raring to go,” Dr. Samorodin said. “He truly enjoyed interacting with the patients and making sure that they got better. He was always donating his time.”

Dr. Yaffe sold his practice in 1965 and then worked part-time for Clinical Associates, an HMO. He retired from there in 1998.

He was a former resident of the Pavilion on the Park Condominium on Old Court Road in Pikesville. He was an avid tennis player who continued playing until he was 90 at the Suburban Country Club, where he was a member.

He enjoyed classical music, opera and the theater, and was a financial supporter of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was a regular patron at the Center Stage, Everyman Theatre and the old Morris A. Mechanic Theater.

He also liked gardening and woodworking.

Graveside services were held June 8 at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.

In addition to his daughter, Dr. Yaffe is survived by his wife of 69 years, the former Florence R. Kessler; two other daughters, Renee Maier of Columbia and Ilene Salditch of Cockeysville; and four grandchildren.

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