Lawrence “Larry” Pakula, a dedicated pediatrician and philanthropist for whom the Sutland/Pakula Newborn Critical Care Center at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center is partially named, died on November 2, 2022, at age 89.
The son of a pediatrician, Pakula was an associate professor emeritus of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-founder of Pavilion Pediatrics in Lutherville, Maryland, where he practiced for more than 50 years. He is remembered for being a leader among pediatricians and staunch supporter of pediatric research and clinicians.
Pakula and his late wife, Sheila Sutland Pakula, were major supporters of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and its neonatology program. The couple established several professorships and funds at Johns Hopkins, and helped fund the expansion of the Newborn Critical Care Center, named for the family in 2012.
“Dr. Pakula leaves behind an incredible legacy at the Children’s Center, not just through his generous financial support, but also through his ongoing partnership in so many of our clinical initiatives, especially regarding our ability to care for sick neonates,” says David Hackam, co-director of the Children’s Center. “Larry had the precious combination of a desire to give, combined with incredible expertise as a skilled pediatrician and health care leader.”
Pakula earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, then completed internships and residencies in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins from 1957–1960. He then served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps at the Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines from 1960–1962. He returned to Baltimore to complete his postdoctoral fellowships in the behavioral aspects of pediatrics and at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center at Johns Hopkins, co-founding Pavilion Pediatrics in 1963.
Both Larry and Sheila served on many boards, including Larry having served on the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Council. He also served as chairman of the board at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital.“Even beyond Johns Hopkins, Dr. Pakula was a leader in the community of pediatricians in Maryland. He was loved by his patients and enjoyed the tremendous respect and admiration of his peers,” says Margaret Moon, co-director of the Children’s Center. “As a person, he was a gentle man with a powerful intellect and an enduring commitment to the well-being of children everywhere.”