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Sentinel publisher Bernard Kapiloff dies at 95


Kapiloff also remembered as doctor, dentist, philanthropist and civil rights crusader

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Sentinel file photo. Dr. Bernard Kapiloff, longtime publisher of The Sentinel Newspapers, died Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the age of 95.

Sentinel file photo. Dr. Bernard Kapiloff, longtime publisher of The Sentinel Newspapers, died Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the age of 95.

Published on: Wednesday, October 10, 2012

By The Sentinel Staff

Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Kapiloff, long-time publisher of the The Sentinel, died Wednesday, Oct. 10, of complications from a stroke he suffered in April. He was 95.

Friends and business acquaintances remember him as a powerful man in the community and a civil rights crusader.

State Sen. Brian Frosh, a friend of the Kapiloff family, said, “Bernie was one of a kind. He was small in stature but big in influence. He was a crusader for civil rights at a time when you did it at your peril.

“He has many devoted friends because he was a mentor to so many. He saved countless of lives because of his medical talents too. Many people are in his debt including me. I’m proud to call him my friend.”

Sentinel file photo. Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Kapiloff, far left, is pictured here with son Mark Kapiloff, wife of 51 years Lynn Kapiloff and a family friend.

Sentinel file photo. Dr. Bernard “Bernie” Kapiloff, far left, is pictured here with son Mark Kapiloff, wife of 51 years Lynn Kapiloff and a family friend.

Bernard, affectionately known as Bernie to many, was born Sept. 23, 1917, in New York City.

He had extensive knowledge in the medical field and worked at various universities including Howard University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Kansas.

“He was my surrogate father,” said Dr. Morton Mower, the inventor of the defibrillator. “I met him when I was a resident at Sinai and he was already a well respected plastic surgeon. He was a mainstay of his community and very active in philanthropy. He had a very long and productive and useful life.”

In Rockville, where The Montgomery County Sentinel offices reside, Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio was saddened at his passing.

“He was a super guy. I knew him (when) I was a kid. He was one of the first dentists to work on my teeth when I was a little girl. I remember he had an office above a Mercury dealership here in the city. My thoughts are with his family during this trying time. He will be missed,” Marcuccio said.

Bernie, along with his older brother Leonard “Doc” Kapiloff, bought The Montgomery County Sentinel in 1962. They immediately began crusading for civil rights and helped exonerate two African-American brothers in a nationwide story reminiscent of the story in “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

“Bernie’s reputation was well known in Montgomery County,” said Brian Karem, managing editor of The Montgomery County Sentinel. “He held multiple degrees and was a developer, but his passion was The Sentinel and civil rights. There are many who owe a debt of gratitude to what he did for everyone in Montgomery County.”

Bernie graduated from City College in New York City at a very young age. Then he got his master’s degree at the University of Michigan, while he was in dental school at the University of Maryland. He obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1941and practiced for a short time while he went to medical school. He obtained his doctor of medicine degree from Howard University in 1945. He was the only white man in that medical school class.

Bernie also was a founding member of the Health Cost Review commission and was a fellow in surgery at Howard from 1948 to 1949.

He maintained a long-standing relationship with Howard and was an associate professor there from 1950 to 1972. He was also an instructor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical School until 1980.

Bernie was a senior attending surgeon and emeritus chief of plastic surgery at Sinai. He remained chief of plastic surgery at Sinai Hospital until his retirement.

Bernie also served on the Maryland State Health Services Cost Review Commission from 1971 to 1977 and was instrumental in helping hospitals throughout the Baltimore area.

He was  a long-standing supporter of Israel and was the former president of the Maryland Council of the Jewish National Fund.

Born of modest means, Bernie was the quintessential self-made man.

“Bernie was an extraordinary person. Bernie just wasn’t a dentist who published a paper. His record in civil rights is astounding. His work in the Scotland community was amazing. He worked so hard to help those folks in that community get decent housing when the county would do nothing. His work and dedication to the Civic Federation was greatly appreciated. He was a phenomenal man. My heart goes out to the family,” said Jim Humphrey of the  Montgomery County Civic Federation.

At the state level, Bernie also made his presence felt.

“My thoughts are with Bernie’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time,” Attorney General Doug Gansler said. “It is important to remember the significance of this man’s legacy that will live on for generations. Part of that gift is the community institution nurtured by Bernie for decades — The Sentinel Newspapers. His efforts produced fair, just and important community journalism in the same way he championed a more fair and just society. 

“I will miss our regular conversations and, like many whose lives he has touched through the years, I will always remember and treasure his articulate voice, both in person and on the printed page.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley also offered his sentiments on Bernie.

“Bernie was a great spirit and great gentleman who cared deeply about his community and his state. His zeal and love of life will be missed by all of us who had the privilege to know him,” O’Malley said.

Bernie is survived by his wife of 51years Lynn Kapiloff, sons Mark and Michael Kapiloff, daughter Miriam Kapiloff, daughter-in-law Judy Kapiloff and grandchildren Rebecca and Hannah Rose.

Funeral services were held Thursday, Oct. 11, at Sol Levinson in Pikesville.

Reader Comments - 1 Total

captcha 6576cce54266423c8c45bc12e53f1f79

Posted By: Danielle Storch On: 10/11/2012

Title: such a special man

My family was privileged to know Dr. Kappiloff for many years. He was considered like the Doctor's doctor. As a surgeon, he had hands of gold. He helped thousands of people over the years. And when a patient could not afford to pay, he operated on them for free. He was a true philanthropist together with his wife (may she be well). Dr. Kappiloff, you will be sorely missed.




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