June 9, 2016
Lawrence Deems Egbert, Jr. Husband, Father, Friend Presente!
Lawrence Deems Egbert, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., a resident of the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore, died of a heart attack Thursday evening, June 9th. He was the oldest and the longest-surviving of the three sons of Lawrence D. Egbert, Sr. and Lyn Forsyth Egbert. He is survived by his wife, Ellen Barfield, his five children: Louise Egbert Treitman (Rick Treitman), Lexington MA; Ruth Egbert Walker (Ron Walker), Stillwater, OK; Dave Egbert (Imane Daher), Parkville, MD; James Egbert (Peg Murphy), Eureka, CA; and Ben Egbert (Thomas Lymenstull) of Dallas TX, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his former wife, Dorothy Staples Egbert, of Stillwater, OK and was predeceased by his former wife, Marcelle Hechemy Egbert. He was 88 years old.
Dr. Egbert was a retired professor of anesthesiology and public health. He earned several degrees from Johns Hopkins University and his M.D. from the University of Maryland. He was a veteran, having served both in the Army and Navy, and was stationed in Japan after the Second World War.
Lawrence was born in Champaign, IL and grew up in Washington, DC. He was a nationally-recognized anesthesiologist, publishing several important articles about patient care and racism in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association. He worked at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He also served for several years as visiting faculty at Pahlavi University Medical School in Shiraz, Iran and the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.
In later years, he became an anti-war and anti-nuclear activist, a member of the board of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders. He was also strongly opposed to the death penalty and was a nationally-known expert on lethal injection. In recent years he was the medical director of Final Exit Network—an organization that provides education and compassionate presence to those facing end of life choices. He was arrested and faced multiple trials for his work with FEN. He was active for much of his life in Unitarian Universalist district governance and social change committees, especially UUs for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. He was attending a Quaker Meeting in recent years.
Lawrence has lived with his wife Ellen in Baltimore for nearly twenty years. He did not own a car or a cell phone. He bicycled nearly everywhere he needed to go, rain or shine. A memorial service is tentatively planned for August 27th in Baltimore. Donations in his memory can be made to Physicians for Social Responsibility, Final Exit Network or Veterans For Peace.