Dr. Alvin A. Stam­bler

Bal­ti­more pe­di­a­tri­cian re­tired at 90 af­ter car­ing for thou­sands of chil­dren dur­ing his six-decade ca­reer

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

Dr. Alvin A. Stam­bler, a re­tired Bal­ti­more pe­di­a­tri­cian who cared for gen­er­a­tions of in­fants, chil­dren and ado­les­cents dur­ing a ca­reer that spanned more than six decades, died Sept. 26 at Gilchrist Cen­ter in Tow­son of com­pli­ca­tions from a fall. The long­time Lutherville res­i­dent was 91.

“He was a won­der­ful pe­di­a­tri­cian who loved his pa­tients and con­tin­ued prac­tic­ing un­til very re­cently. He had great em­pa­thy and care,” said Dr. Leon Strauss of Owings Mills, an oph­thal­mol­o­gist and long­time friend.

“When I was in med­i­cal school, he was both an ex­em­plar and an in­spi­ra­tion,” said Dr. Strauss. “He was al­ways there for his pa­tients, fam­ily and friends.”

“A lot of doc­tors are com­pletely ab­sorbed by their prac­tice, but Alvin was a whole man. He had a full life,” he said. “We are all go­ing to miss him so much.”

Alvin Abra­ham Stam­bler was born in Bal­ti­more and raised near Druid Hill Park, the son of Joseph Stam­bler, a win­dow washer, and Min­nie Res­nick, a home­maker.

He grad­u­ated in 1944 from Bal­ti­more City Col­lege, where he had been ed­i­tor of The Col­le­gian, the school news­pa­per. Dur­ing his high school years, he held a part-time job at Sachs Broth­ers Phar­macy on Reis­ter­stown Road.

Af­ter high school he joined the U.S. Mer­chant Ma­rine and worked as a phar­ma­cist’s mate. He later served in the Army and was dis­charged in 1947.

He re­ceived a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in 1950 from the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, and was a cum laude grad­u­ate two years later of the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal School. He was a mem­ber of Al­pha Omega Al­pha Honor Med­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Af­ter com­plet­ing an in­tern­ship in 1953 at Beth Is­rael Hos­pi­tal in New York City and a pe­di­atric res­i­dency in 1955 at the old Bal­ti­more City Hos­pi­tal — now Johns Hop­kins Bayview Med­i­cal Cen­ter — Dr. Stam­bler es­tab­lished a solo pe­di­atric prac­tice in 1955 in Pikesville.

He was board cer­ti­fied by the Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics in 1957.

Dr. Stam­bler was af­fil­i­ated with sev­eral Bal­ti­more hos­pi­tals. At the Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal, he worked from 1952 to 1975 with his men­tor, Dr. Harold E. Har­ri­son, in the re­nal-meta­bolic en­docrinol­ogy clinic. Dr. Har­ri­son, who died in 1989, was an ex­pert in cal­cium, phos­pho­rous, vi­ta­min D me­tab­o­lism, rick­ets and oral re­hy­dra­tion. He had been chief of pe­di­atrics at Johns Hop­kins.

In 1970, Dr. Stam­bler was ap­pointed as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of pe­di­atrics at Johns Hop­kins. He was also an at­tend­ing physi­cian at Si­nai Hos­pi­tal, Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Greater Bal­ti­more Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Mercy Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

He was chief of pe­di­atrics at the old Lutheran Hos­pi­tal from 1960 to 1970, and held a sim­i­lar po­si­tion at the former Church Home and Hos­pi­tal from 1962 to 1980.

“We were class­mates in med­i­cal school and have been friends ever since,” said Dr. Bella Faye Schim­mel, a Bal­ti­more na­tive who spent her ca­reer as a psy­chi­a­trist in Los An­ge­les. She called Dr. Stam­bler “a very ded­i­cated physi­cian who loved his work, and worked long and hard at it.

“He was ded­i­cated to his pa­tients and to sci­ence,” Dr. Schim­mel said.

Dr. Stam­bler was a mem­ber of the Bal­ti­more County Med­i­cal So­ci­ety and the Mary­land State Med­i­cal So­ci­ety, or MedChi.

He was 90 when he re­tired last year.

“It would be safe to say that my fa­ther took care of thou­sands of chil­dren through­out the course of his ca­reer,” said his son, Kirk J. Stam­bler of Los An­ge­les. “I would es­ti­mate the num­ber at over 3,000.”

“He was a friendly per­son who liked peo­ple, and when he made con­tact he kept in touch with them,” Dr. Schim­mel said. “He reached out to them and made friends very eas­ily.”

A man of var­ied in­tel­lec­tual pur­suits, Dr. Stam­bler read widely about his­tory, pol­i­tics, art and cul­ture. He was an avid ten­nis player and en­joyed ex­er­cis­ing.

He was in his 50s when he de­vel­oped a keen in­ter­est in sail­ing, and be­came an ac­com­plished sailor. He en­joyed sail­ing Odyssey, his 30-foot sloop, and shared jour­neys with friends ex­plor­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and its var­i­ous trib­u­taries and rivers.

He was a mem­ber of Bal­ti­more He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion. Plans for fu­neral ser­vices are in­com­plete. In ad­di­tion to his son, Dr. Stam­bler is sur­vived by his wife of 61 years, the former Deb­o­rah Belle Babitt; a daugh­ter, Wendy M. Lud­lum of Prince­ton, N.J.; and two grand­chil­dren.

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