Dr. Hubert T. Gurley II, a retired Johns Hopkins department head and longtime Bolton Hill resident, dies of COVID-19

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Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun
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Dr. Hubert Taylor Gurley II, a retired Johns Hopkins Hospital administrator who was medical director of Health Care for the Homeless, died of complications of COVID-19 on Saturday at Brookdale Senior Living. The Bolton Hill resident was 77.

Dr. Gurley was also the director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Hopkins Hospital, director of its pacemaker laboratory and director of the coronary care unit at the old Baltimore City Hospitals.

“Hubert was my mentor and a great friend,” said Dr. Richard Bennett, president of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “I first met him when he lectured on emergency medicine, and I relied on him, and his wise counsel, as I grew in my academic career. He was also a great host.”

Born in Baltimore and raised in Homeland, he was the son of Dr. Hubert T. Gurley Sr., a physician who was the city medical examiner, and his wife, Helen Oakjohns, a homemaker.

His father died when he was a child, and his mother married William Heidelbach, owner of a fancy food and liquor business in Catonsville, with a Roland Park branch. Mr. Heidelbach became a second father to him and they remained close. Dr. Gurley later had the responsibility of closing the Heidelbach businesses.

Dr. Gurley, a 1961 graduate of Catonsville High School, earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Duke University. He was a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and had a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

After serving as an intern at the University of Maryland, Dr. Gurley was a resident in internal medicine, held a fellowship in clinical pharmacology and specialized in cardiology at Johns Hopkins. He also served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps.

He became the director of the coronary care unit at what is now Johns Hopkins Bayview in 1974, and later headed the pacemaker lab at Hopkins Hospital.

He went on to become the director of the department of emergency medicine at Hopkins Hospital.

In that capacity, Dr. Gurley led a widely attended postgraduate program, “Topics in Emergency Medicine.” He set up a required undergraduate course in emergency medicine for students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was an assistant professor.

“Hugh Gurley was one of the most remarkable people I had the privilege to know,” said Dr. Gabe Kelen, Hopkins professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “He recruited me to the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Residency in 1982 and hired me to join the faculty in 1984. Hugh was a very engaging, worldly, accepting individual — amazing cultured as well.

Dr. Kelen recalled Dr. Gurley as a “great conversationalist, on almost any topic.”

He also said, “He gave me the opportunity to develop as a physician leader, and with a sense of poetic symmetry, I now direct the same department he did when I trained.”

“I remember Hugh as a very broadly knowledgeable physician who mastered the professional and personal interaction of physicians, patients, trainees and staff,” said Dr. Myron L. Weisfeldt, a Hopkins colleague and professor.

Dr. Weisfeldt also said: “He could function as a master in many settings such as the emergency room, the coronary care unit and the in-hospital medical floor. Patients became his long-term friends. These skills also helped him in administration and medical leadership even at very challenging environments.”

From 1985 to 1989 he was the medical director of Health Care for the Homeless.

He also worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development and assisted with developing medical standards at the ministries of health of Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

From 2001 to 2006 he was executive medical director for quality and performance improvement at the Inova Health System in Falls Church, Virginia, and had earlier been a consultant and clinical coordinator for the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care Inc. in Easton.

He had also been a physician surveyor for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Dr. Gurley was the co-author of numerous medical papers, including studies on pacemakers and pharmaceuticals as hospital hazards.

Dr. Gurley lived in Bolton Hill for more than 40 years. He bought a Lafayette Avenue house with his partner and later husband, John William Hale.

He and his partner directed a lengthy renovation that returned a onetime apartment house to a single-family property.

They opened their home to house tours, including the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage and the Holly Tour, and as a fundraiser for Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the American Society of Interior Design.

Dr. Gurley was an avid Chesapeake recreational sailor. He had a power craft, the Lafayette Venture, which he moored at a Boston Street marina. He enjoyed trips to St. Michaels, the Sassafras River and Norfolk.

He also had homes in Ocean City and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. A dog lover, he had standard white poodles named BoJo, Lafayette, and Nicolee.

Survivors include his partner of 41 years and husband of six years, an interior designer; two nieces, Rebecca Younglove-Marsden of Bel Air and Elizabeth Younglove Condon of Annapolis; and cousins.

Plans for a funeral are incomplete.