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DR. JERALDINE C. BAUMGARTNER, M.D., 98, of Indianapolis, peacefully met her maker on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. Born July 20, 1914, in Fort Wayne, she was a daughter of the late John E. and Edith (Emrich) Baumgartner. Dr. Baumgartner was a 1939 graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine and was one of the state's first female physicians. She was a solo practitioner of General Medicine, as well as Obstetrics and Gynecology in Fort Wayne until her retirement in 1976. The good doctor was known far and wide as a compassionate healer who treated all with respect, whether rich or poor, farmer or city-dweller. It was not unusual for her to call on patients in their homes, day and night. She was proud of having delivered more than 3,500 babies over the course of her career. Her many stories of practicing medicine in rural Indiana in the mid 1900s include instances of administering her own anesthetic, setting fractures, and cutting a man out of a corn-picker. During a raging winter storm in Harlan, a farmer asked her to come quickly, stating his wife was in labor. Knowing that the path to the farmhouse would be impassable due to the snow, Dr. Baumgartner suggested that he meet her at the road with his horse and buggy. The farmer replied, "Why Doc, I wouldn't send a dog out on a night like this!" Dr. Jerry, as she was fondly known by many, had a deep love of nature, wildlife, gardening, and dogs. A renaissance woman, Jerry developed a variety of skills, including photography, tennis, jewelry, and stained glass. Those her knew her best were the fortunate beneficiaries of her keen mind, quick wit, and sense of humor, all of which remained with her to her last days. Throughout her long life, she served as a role model and source of inspiration to women seeking higher education and professional advancement. Survivors include Allene's children and grandchildren; lifelong friend, Fiora Contino and Fiora's children and grandchildren; and many close and loyal friends, near and far. "We are most grateful to Ruth, Keela, and Pat, of Senior Home Companions, for the extraordinary care and love shown to Dr. Baumgartner during the last year." She was also preceded in death by her sister, Allene Pence. Per Dr. Baumgartner's request, there will be no services. Donations may be made to the IUPUI Women in Science House, IU Foundation, PO Box 663802, Indianapolis, IN 46266-3802; Indianapolis Poodle Rescue; or remember her each time you affirm the intelligence and adventuresome spirit of girls and women you know. Arrangements by Indiana Funeral Care and Crematory, Indianapolis, Ind.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Dec. 16, 2012
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