Dr. Suhayl Kalash, a urologist and former chief of urology at St. Agnes Hospital who shared his affinity for fig trees with family and friends, died April 17 from pancreatic cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The Cockeysville resident was 69.
"He was a great physician and he certainly left his mark in the city of Baltimore and he had also taught many urologists all over the country," said Dr. Mouhamad Oussama Annous, a Baltimore vascular surgeon.
"He treated a lot of patients with insurance and without insurance," said Dr. Annous. "When he went home to Lebanon for a visit, people would come and see him and ask his advice, and he never charged a penny. He was a great man and he will be missed."
The son of Saaeddine Kalash, a businessman, and Kawthar Kalash, a homemaker, Suhayl Saaeddine Kalash was born and raised in Sidon, Lebanon.
After graduating from the American University of Beirut, he received his medical degree in 1969 from the university's school of medicine. He completed a residency in general surgery in Beirut.
Dr. Kalash moved to Baltimore in 1977 to pursue a second residency in urology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine while doing rotations at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Sinai Hospital.
"Wanting a better future for his family, he decided to stay in Baltimore, rather than return to Lebanon, where the civil war continued to worsen," wrote his daughter, Mona Haar, of Bethesda, in an email.
In 1984, he began practicing at St. Agnes Hospital and established a urology practice associated with the hospital, where he treated both pediatric and adult patients.
He was an associate professor of medicine in the urology department at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and published a number of papers in professional journals.
He eventually became chief of urology at St. Agnes, a position he held until retiring in 2001.
"Not just a distinguished physician, he was a great friend and father," wrote Ms. Haar. "He spent countless hours helping others, including many family members still in Lebanon and those in need of medical advice in his home town of Sidon. Family was most important to him."
"I have known Suhayl both socially and professionally for 23 or more years," said Dr. Elias K. Shaya, a psychiatrist at Good Samaritan Hospital. "We shared some patients. He was an extremely accomplished and talented physician and had so many friends.
"His patients absolutely adored him. They spoke highly of his care and the fact that he went beyond the call of duty," said Dr. Shaya.
"Suhayl had a very much down-to-earth style when it came to relating with people. He connected with people on a fundamental, basic level. He was a kind, loving and a caring human being," he said. "He was uninhibited and gentle and just loved people regardless. He was the kind of person who never said anything bad about anyone. I never ever heard him use any profanity and he had no temper."
The center of Dr. Kalash's attention was his garden, which he filled with flowers and trees. He enjoyed sitting in the garden, contemplating with a cup of coffee or entertaining family and friends.
He was especially fond of fig trees and their fruit.
"We both loved figs and Suhayl loved planting fig trees. Sometimes he'd bring a plate of figs to us and if we weren't home, he'd leave them for us in a bag hanging from the garage door," said Dr. Shaya. "Sometimes he'd bring fresh flowers. He especially liked gardenias."
It was not out of the realm of possibility for Dr. Kalash to show up at a friend's home to plant a fig tree.
"He planted a fig tree behind my house, but at the time we had no idea who did it until he called and said, 'How do you like the tree that I planted?'" said Dr. Shaya with a laugh. "I planted a fig tree one time and he told me it was in the wrong place. He always planted trees where he knew they would survive."
In addition to gardening, Dr. Kalash enjoyed finance and following the latest movements in the financial markets, his daughter said.
In accordance with Muslim tradition, services were held the same day of his death, at Rahmah Mosque in Catonsville, with interment in King Memorial Park in Windsor Mill.
In addition to his daughter, Dr. Kalash is survived by his wife of 42 years, the former Nuha Hilmi Abdul Baki; a son, Tarek Kalash of Tyson's Corner, Va.; two brothers, Ahmad Kalash of Sidon and Mahmoud Kalash of Beirut; four sisters, Samia Zeidan of Beirut, Fariha Khayat, Siham Kalash and Baddoura Khalife, all of Sidon; and a granddaughter.