John T. Magee, 85, Bryn Mawr Hospital physician

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John T. Magee

John T. Magee, 85, of Haverford, a physician who was born at Bryn Mawr Hospital and worked there for 37 years, died Wednesday, March 16, at the institution he considered a second home.

As word spread of Dr. Magee's death from respiratory failure, hospital spokeswoman Bridget Therriault released a statement honoring the calm and kindly doctor.

"It was at Bryn Mawr Hospital that Dr. Magee came into this world, and it was also here that he took his last breath 85 years later," she wrote.

"For so many years in between, he demonstrated a solid connection to the hospital, which was his home away from home. He graced our hospital community with his kindness, compassion, and deep commitment to his patients and colleagues."

Dr. Magee was named director of the department of medicine in 1969 and served 25 years in that post, retiring in late 1994. His son John C., also a physician, said his father ran the department "like a family."

The only child of John J. and Margaret B. Magee of Bryn Mawr, "Jack," as he was known, graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys in 1949 as valedictorian and Man of the Year.

Through the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a religious teaching order, he was awarded a partial scholarship to what is now La Salle University. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree and received a medical degree in 1957 from Jefferson Medical College.

Dr. Magee completed an internship and a two-year residency in internal medicine at Bryn Mawr Hospital, where he was chief resident his final year. He served a one-year clinical fellowship in renal and metabolic diseases at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington before joining the Navy as a medical officer.

After two years of active duty, he was honorably discharged to the Navy Reserve with the rank of lieutenant, Medical Corps, in 1957.

Upon returning to Bryn Mawr, Dr. Magee started a private practice in internal medicine and nephrology, but three years later, he joined Bryn Mawr Hospital as director of medical education and conducted his clinical work from the hospital.

A member of Jefferson's volunteer faculty starting in 1964, Dr. Magee won several teaching awards and was promoted to clinical professor of medicine in 1979, a rank he held until his resignation in 2002.

He served as a consultant in nephrology to the Wilmington VA Medical Center, the former Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, and Lankenau Medical Center.

In addition to societies connected with internal medicine and nephrology, he was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

In retirement, Dr. Magee worked without pay for the Physicians' Health Programs of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. He did referral and monitoring of health-care professionals struggling with substance abuse or other health problems that interfered with their ability to practice safely and resulted in the suspension of their licenses. The aim was to win their reinstatement once they were drug-free.

Dr. Magee was ahead of his time in espousing the idea "that you can bring them back - the idea that you can redeem yourself," his son said. "He worked really hard on that."

From 1995 through 2007, he was a co-therapist for physicians in recovery and became an adjunct member of both the Philadelphia and the American Group Psychotherapy Associations.

As a father, Dr. Magee was "supportive and loving," his son said. He stressed the importance of being inquisitive and made time for all his children and grandchildren.

He was married to Sarah A. Magee, known as "Sally." She died in 2011.

Besides his son, he is survived by son Michael E.; daughter Margaret M. Costello; and six grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass was celebrated Tuesday, March 22.

Donations may be made to the Endowment Fund of the Physicians' Health Programs, c/o The Foundation of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, 777 E. Park Dr., Box 8820, Harrisburg, Pa. 17105.

bcook@phillynews.com 610-313-8102

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