Dr. Thomas Edward Hunt Jr., a retired orthopedic surgeon who was a student of Baltimore history, died Dec. 24 of kidney failure at his North Baltimore home. He was 90.
Born in Pittsburgh, he was the son of Thomas E. Hunt Sr., a fuel company owner and semipro baseball player, and Regina Borgman. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 while a high school student and after graduation trained at the old Bainbridge Naval Center in Cecil County.
“He arrived in the Pacific theater shortly after the surrender of Japan on August 15 and recalled that much of his service as a signalman third class aboard a patrol frigate involved broadcasting news of the surrender via a loudspeaker to Japanese soldiers and sailors who had been left behind scattered across many small islands and atolls,” said a son, James Hunt of Baltimore.
Following graduation in 1950 from West Virginia University, he was admitted to the University of Maryland School of Medicine. While working at Mercy Hospital in the summer of 1953, he met a young nurse, Mary Genevieve “Gene” Maley, who was from Hagerstown.
They married at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington on Flag Day in 1954, nine days after he received his medical degree, his son said in a biographical sketch.
Dr. Hunt completed his orthopedic residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1959 and lived in the physicians’ compound at Bond and Orleans streets. He later lived in New Northwood and in Homeland.
Dr. Hunt had an office in the Latrobe Building on Read Street with associates Drs. Thomas Powell and Christopher Tountas. He saw patients at Hopkins, Children’s, and Mercy hospitals and Harbor Hospital Center, where he was chief of orthopedic surgery from 1965 to 1973.
“His practice placed a heavy emphasis on treating injured blue-collar workers and taking care of children,” said his son. “His patients came from Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock, Bethlehem Steel, Westinghouse and other manufacturing businesses.”
In 1959, he worked with the Crippled Children’s Services Division of the state health department and held clinics for children with cerebral palsy and neuromuscular disorders in Cumberland, Prince Frederick, Cheverly, and the Great Oaks Center for Mentally Retarded Children. He also served at Baltimore’s William S. Baer School for Handicapped Children.
His son said Dr. Hunt kept a library on Baltimore and Maryland history.
“He loved to hear the personal stories of those he treated,” his son said. “This came in handy on Saturdays and Sundays, when he would make rounds visiting patients at hospitals around the city. He would have his children in tow, and he had a story related to every nook and cranny of the city.”
Dr. Hunt was the unofficial historian of MedChi, the state medical society. In 2008 MedChi created the annual Thomas E. Hunt Lecture Series to explore the intersection of medicine and history.
“Tom was the most honest person I’ve ever known,” said Dr. Allan D. Jensen, a friend. “In later years, we would be out driving and he would be the navigator, calling out where William Osler [one of the co-founders of Hopkins Hospital] lived.”
Dr. Hunt also served on the committee for the restoration of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Davidge Hall..
“My father was fascinated by the city and the people who live here,” said his son. “Though he was encouraged to move his practice to the suburbs after the riots in April 1968, he declined. Whatever the city’s problems, he didn’t think they would be improved by his leaving.”
Dr. Hunt enjoyed walking, from University Parkway to the harbor. He favored climbing steps over taking elevators.
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He was a past president of the Baltimore City Medical Society, the Maryland Orthopedic Association and the Medical Alumni Association of the University of Maryland. He also served on the Homeland Association’s board.
He was recognized for more than four decades of service to the Allegany County League for Crippled Children and Health Care for the Homeless.
He was a recipient of the Spirit Award of The Christophers, the Health Care Hero Award of the Daily Record and a Community Service Award from the Baltimore City Medical Society.
His wife died in 1988. In 1993, he married Amy Glenn Angell, who died in 2007. He resided in the Colonnade in the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood of North Baltimore. He then befriended Mary Catherine Cole, who died earlier this year.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., where he was a member.
In addition to his son, survivors include another son, Thomas Joseph Hunt of Forest Hill; three daughters, Mary Anne Kowzan of Timonium, Angela Hunt of Baltimore and Kathleen Pandolph of Woburn, Mass.; a brother, James Hunt of Bethesda; two sisters, Regina Hunt of Kensington and Mary Ann Evans of Newton, Ala.; a stepson, Robert Angell of Bethesda; a stepdaughter, Elizabeth Angell League of Severna Park; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.