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Dr. Weeks, longtime family physician, still seeing Hagerstown patients at 81

September 25, 2007|By JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Dr. Howard N. Weeks Sr.



Age - 81.

Occupation - Family practice physician.

Hometown - Hagerstown.

Where would you see Weeks? - For almost 54 years, Dr. Weeks has been practicing medicine out of his Northern Avenue office. He chose to return to Hagerstown after graduating from medical school at the University of Maryland, which included some training in New England.

"The grass appears greener on the other side, so I decided to come back to Hagerstown," Weeks said.

Weeks was born in Martinsburg, W. Va., in 1926. His father was transferred to Hagerstown when Weeks was 4, and he considers Hagers-town his hometown.

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To earn money to start his own practice, Weeks worked as a ships' doctor for a shipping company out of New York City. For four months, Weeks worked on cruise ships headed to the Caribbean, as well as cargo ships.

He married Wanda Rae Beer, known as Rae, in 1955. They lived within walking distance of his office and were married until her death in 1990.

Rae's family was from West Virginia and she had a twin, Wanda Lou, who lives in Salisbury, Md.

The Weekses had three children - Ranelle Flurie of Hagerstown, Howard N. Weeks Jr. of Funks-town, and Roxanne Strickland of Florida - and two grandchildren.

During the course of his career, Weeks has enjoyed having his family involved. He said both his daughters helped in the office and one of his son-in-laws is a CPA and takes care of the tax preparation.

Weeks' sister-in-law, Lou, continues to visit and helps with the banking, payroll and paperwork for his practice.

"So it's all in the family," Weeks said.

Two years ago, Weeks brought in Dr. Shahid Mahmood as a partner, so he could reduce his own hours to three mornings a week. Weeks said he sees 15 to 20 patients in a morning and still makes the occasional house call.

Weeks became the senior member of the Washington County Hospital Staff when his friend and colleague, Dr. Edward Ditto, retired in 1999. The pair worked together as medical examiners for 50 years.

"For the most part, I'm satisfied with what I have. I look forward to each day. You have to have a purpose when you wake up each day," Weeks said.

As a family practice physician, Weeks said he delivered babies and administered anesthesia for 30 years, before both fields became specialized. He found delivering babies "gratifying."

Weeks keeps current by reading medical journals and attending medical meetings. He said when he goes on vacation, he goes with a pile of medical journals to read and discards them as he finishes them, lightening his luggage for the return trip.

He has been a member of St. John's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown since the 1930s, where he served several terms on the church council. Weeks also belongs to the Exchange Club and Long Meadow Rotary.

"I would rather be busy than idle. I figure if and when I retire, I can rest and relax," Weeks said.

Hobbies: Weeks likes music and dance and played the clarinet. He and his wife would dance at Pen Mar Park and his daughter Ranelle Flurie, who owns Ballet and All That Jazz dance studio, also shares that love of dance.

Weeks has been a member of the Mens' Choir at St. John's since the choir was formed. They sing at the 8 a.m. service, which suits Weeks who said he's a morning person.

Reading for pleasure, yardwork, tennis, golf, swimming, scuba diving and travel round out Weeks' list of hobbies. He used to ski and being an adventurous person, has photographs from when he went bungee jumping in 1996 while in Australia.

What does Weeks like best about Washington County? - "The people are down-to-earth. You can talk with them. There's no high-falutin' stuff, they're not stuck up," Weeks said.

"I like the people, I like to see rolling hillsides and the changing seasons. I enjoy what we have here."

Weeks added that in Hagerstown, there are excellent trained physicians in specialties. He also likes the low-key, rural setting with a good selection of cultural offerings.




If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail janeth@herald-mail.com.

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