Jerome “Jerry” Hantman, Howard County General Hospital’s first cardiologist who developed his private practice into an advanced cardiology facility and continued to volunteer at free cardiac clinics later in life, died March 28 of the development of Parkinson’s disease in his home in Columbia. He was 80.
“He’s always loved his profession. He wanted to leave work and hear a siren and come back and go to the hospital. He loved it. His mind was so active. He was such a problem solver and so insightful,” said Irene Saunders Goldstein Hantman, his wife.
Dr. Hantman started his private practice, Cardiovascular Specialists of Central Maryland, in 1975 in a building on the grounds of Howard County General Hospital and was appointed to staff the hospital as its first cardiologist that year. He later served as chair of medicine for 18 years and head of the cardiology department for 30 years.
Dr. Michael Silverman, a longtime colleague and successor to cardiovascular specialists in Central Maryland, said that Dr. Hantman’s natural leadership skills made him known in the local medical community.
“Whatever time the patient needed, he gave it to them. It’s almost unheard of now for a doctor to bring patients back to their office to review their results. And Jerry did it for every single patient,” Dr. Silverman said.
Dr. Hantman was also a big advocate for medical colleagues and ensured that their concerns and needs were heard by the hospital administration, said Dr. Silverman. He had very high standards of patient care and insisted that the hospital had the most up-to-date technology, even accompanying nurses tasked with purchasing new medical equipment.
“He was in cardiology at a unique time because all these modalities that we all take for granted all just came out. They did not exist. So he brought echocardiography to the hospital; he brought nuclear cardiology to the hospital; he brought cardiac catheterization to the hospital. “He just sowed the seeds of a forest that is now miles high,” said Dr. Silverman.
Dr. Hantman was born January 18, 1942, to Louis Hantman, a coat maker, and Eve Kurtzman Hantman, a Hebrew schoolteacher, in Neptune, New Jersey. He grew up in Freehold, New Jersey, and attended Brandeis University, where he played tennis on the school team. Dr. Hantman was left-handed and known for his evil service. His mother demanded that he study medicine, a command he was grateful for when he fell in love with the subject.
Dr. Hantman left Brandeis University at age three and studied at Tufts University School of Medicine. He graduated in 1966 and later earned a master’s degree in medical management from Carnegie Mellon University. He earned his medical stay in Boston. Dr. Hantman then joined the U.S. Air Force as an aviation surgeon. However, he did not see much action from the country, and wanted to spend his time flying to compete in tennis tournaments and coach a small league baseball team.
He married the late Sue-Ellen Wolfson Beck in 1969 and had three children: David, now of Arlington, Virginia, was born in 1969; Joshua, Los Angeles, was born in 1973; and Deborah of Columbia was born in 1975.
The family moved to Columbia and started their medical practice with doctors Tom Mclean, Bill Parnes and Steve Valenti. Dr. Hantman ensured that practice merged with academic medical centers, such as a partnership with Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2010. He also headed the cardiology department at Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham.
Although Dr. Hantman’s calm demeanor made him appear stoic and serious, so he was actually quite funny, say those who know him.
“He had an amazing sense of humor,” said Dr. Valenti, a cardiologist and longtime colleague. “And that might surprise people. He had a dry sense of humor. From that serious look he often had on his face, he said something out of the blue that was funny.”
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As a father, Dr. shouted. Hantman never. He was a great listener to his patients, diners, committee colleagues and his children. He would sit still until the end of a conversation and then summarize the main points before getting a group to agree on a solution or topic, his wife, Irene, said.
“I think what made him a good doctor is the same thing that made him a good father, and everyone experienced the same thing from him, which is that he actually listened to you,” David said. Hantman, his son. “You would tell him your problem, and he would listen to what was, and he would try to solve it. And that was true for his patients. That was true for his friends.”
Dr. Hantman also volunteered at free heart clinics in Howard County and would waive the cost of appointments for patients who could not afford medical care. He retired in 2014 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
He was a lifelong learner and adventurer, and acquired new hobbies such as astronomy, sailing, model train building, golf and skiing. Dr. Hantman participated in activities with the Jewish community, held Easter Seder dinners, and met his wife Irene at a Jewish genealogy conference in Las Vegas.
“He was a good man,” said Mrs. Hantman.
Services were held at Temple Isaiah in Fulton on March 30.
In addition to his wife, sons, and daughter, he is survived by his brother, Arnold Hantman, of Tallahassee, Florida, and sister, Carol Leaman, of Columbia. A previous marriage to the late Sue-Ellen Wolfson Beck ended in divorce. He is also survived by his stepson, Eric Goldstein, and grandchildren Emma Hantman and Addison and Annemarie Goldstein, along with many nephews and nieces.