Published in The Capital Gazette on May 1, 2016
Leo M. Karpeles
Dr. Leo M. Karpeles died on April 26 at Fairfield Nursing Center in Crownsville, MD.
The long-time Annapolis resident was 95. Born in Washington, DC in 1920, the younger
child of Drs. Simon and Kate Karpeles, Leo graduated from Central High School in
Washington in 1937 and earned a BS in physics at the University of North Carolina in
He was a civilian physicist with the Navy's degaussing program during World War II and
served as electrician's mate third class aboard the USS Alabama in 1945-46.
Leo married Eileen Burrer in 1951 and earned his MD in Seattle at the University of
Washington School of Medicine in 1955. His research in cardiovascular physiology led
to a teaching position with the Physiology Dept at the University of Maryland Medical
School, and he settled in Towson in 1960, becoming an active member of the newly
founded Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, which he served as president from
He retired from the University of Maryland as an associate professor in 1977 and began
a residency with the hospital's Dept of Family Practice. He was deeply gratified to open
his first medical practice at the age of 60 in rural Blue Ridge Summit, PA.
In the tradition of his physician parents, he was deeply devoted to his patients, traveling
throughout the area on house calls whenever he was needed. Concerns regarding his
own health obliged him to sell his practice in 1986, and he moved to Annapolis to begin
a second marriage with Nancy Surrick, founder of Miss Nancy's Fancy Bakery.
In retirement, Leo enjoyed taking his dogs to visit area nursing homes as well as reading
aloud to elementary school classes. On his death, it was Leo's wish that his body be
donated to the State Anatomy Board to further the education of future physicians.
Besides Nancy, his wife of 30 years, Leo is survived by former wife Eileen Karpeles;
daughters Katherine Maeda, Robin Magdalene, and Tamia Karpeles; stepchildren John
Surrick, Marion Leukhardt, and Carolyn Surrick; and their children and grandchildren. A
celebration of his life will take place at 3pm on Sunday, May 15, at the Unitarian
Universalist Church of Annapolis at 333 Dubois Rd.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Heifer, Intl (www.Heifer.org).
Unitarian Universalist Church
333 Dubois Rd
Annapolis, MD 21401