DR. CHARLES E. BRIMM was born in Philadelphia on May 24, 1924. He received his primary education in the Camden city schools, graduating from Camden High School in 1942. After serving in the Army (1943-1946), Charles attended South Jersey Law School/Rutgers (1947-1948). Unable to attend the University of Pennsylvania due to the "Quota System", in 1948, he enrolled at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Canada. In 1949, he married Edith Mapp and the two lived in Canada while he finished his undergraduate education obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. He finished medical school at the University of Ottawa in 1955. Summers were spent in during his college years in Camden, where he worked for the Postal Service. He also made good use of his musical talent by playing the piano at clubs throughout New Jersey and New York.
Dr. Brimm was encouraged to pursue his dream of studying medicine by Drs. Howard Primas, Edwin Murray and Edwin Segal, three well-respected Camden physicians. After graduating from Ottawa University Medical School in 1955, he returned to Camden where he established his own medical practice in 1956 and saw his patients in the office formerly occupied by Dr. Segal at 514 Kaighns Avenue. Dr. Brimm specialized in Family Practice maintaining his Diplomate status of the American Board of Family Practice; his teaching experience in this area includes serving as a teacher and lecturer at the following hospitals and medical schools: Hahnemann, College of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, Thomas Jefferson and Temple.
Involvement and dedication are the words that best describe Dr. Brimm's approach to the practice of medicine. For 41 years, he provided Camden residents with outstanding medical care. Patients knew that if they needed a ride to the hospital and were without means of transportation, "Doc" would take them. Oftentimes, he received no financial compensation for his services. He made house calls on a daily basis. People were never turned away because they were unable to pay. If someone's difficulties extended beyond the realm of the medical, Dr. Brimm offered to help. If a patient had a family member who was in trouble, Dr. Brimm sought to assist. During his years in practice, he witnessed time and time again the devastating effects of drug addiction. He was determined to do everything possible to combat the drug problem in Camden. With this in mind, in 1970, he created Concept House, a drug rehabilitation center that served the people of Camden for many years. Many lives were redeemed at Concept House.
Dr. Brimm's' career included many achievements and awards of distinction, including the Public Service Institute Award, the First Humanitarian Award of the YMCA, the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award, the Cooper Foundation Distinguished Health Care Professional Award, and the Red Cross Good Neighbor Award. In 1979, he was elected as an affiliate of The Royal Society of Medicine by the Queen of England. He was invited to England in 1981 to speak to The Royal Society and to Italy to speak at the World International Society. Dr. Brimm was a Founding Trustee Member for Camden County College in Blackwood, New Jersey.
Through his involvement in the community, Dr. Brimm became aware of Camden's tremendous need for primary care health centers. Determined to fill this need, he devoted a great deal of time and energy to the establishment of six Office of Economic Opportunity health care centers and two health care centers for the Black People's Unity Movement. His efforts also resulted in the establishment of the Riverview Geriatric Health Care Center.
Recognizing the importance of providing mental health services for Camden residents, Dr. Brimm, along with Emmett Doerr, founded CAMcare Health Corporation, an organization with a purpose of offering both primary care and mental health care services. In 1985, CAMcare Community Mental Health Center, formerly a division of the CAMcare Health Corporation, was established as a separate entity. It is now known as South Jersey Behavioral Health Services. One of its current objectives is to provide permanent housing for clients in need of this service. Toward achieving this goal, the CAMcare Sponsored Community Homes, a development containing sixteen apartments were constructed at Sixth and Cherry Streets, the very area where Dr. Brimm grew up. These apartments are known as the Charles E. Brimm Community Homes.
Dr. Brimm served on the staff of Cooper Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes and Virtua Hospital. In the 70's Dr. Brimm served as a city councilman and in 1982 he was voted Councilman-at-Large for the City of Camden. In 1997, Dr. Brimm retired, selling his practice to Cooper Hospital.
The Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School was founded in 1994 with space provided by Our Lady of Lourdes. It moved to its current building on Copewood Street in 1996. This school was the pinnacle of his career bringing him incredible joy. After retiring, he would often walk to his school and stay involved with the students and staff.
Dr. Brimm is survived by his wife, Edith Mapp Brimm, his Son, Charles E. Brimm, his daughter, Linda J. Brimm and his grandson, Justin Van Brimm.
Dr. Brimm also held an ownership interest in the Camden Bullets professional basketball team, which played in the Eastern Professional Basketball League from 1962 through the spring of 1966. The Bullets played their home games at the Camden Convention Hall which stood at Mickle Street and Carteret Steet.
Philadelphia Inquirer - January 31, 2010
By Claudia Vargas
Charles E. Brimm, 85, a family doctor in Camden who made house calls in a yellow Mustang and had a city high school named in his honor, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.
In an age when most doctors restricted interactions with patients to hospital rounds and office visits, Dr. Brimm continued to provide at-home visits until his retirement in 1997.
"He loved his work and he loved his patients, and there was no place too far for him. He would go where his patients needed him," said Camden County Freeholder Riletta L. Cream, who knew Dr. Brimm for many years.
After applying his favorite Yves St. Laurent cologne, Dr. Brimm would walk out the door of his Camden home between 7 and 7:30 a.m. each weekday, and often on weekends, too, for his rounds at area hospitals.
From there, he did some morning home visits, mostly to his elderly patients and others who had a hard time getting to his office at 614 Kaighns Avenue, said his daughter, Linda J. Brimm.
Then it was time to see the 75 to 100 patients who could make it to the office.
"He never turned anyone down," she said.
Once the office closed, he made another round of home visits before calling it a night.
Sometimes Linda and her brother, Charles E. Jr., would be asleep by the time their father got home, she said. Because of that, they went to work in his office beginning in their early teenage years.
"It was our way to get to spend some time with him," his daughter said.
But there were never any hard feelings about their father's hours, she said. They knew he was working to help others, and that was something they admired.
After Dr. Brimm won a distinguished-professional award from the Cooper Hospital Foundation in 1992, his friend Michael Proper, a cardiologist, was preparing a speech and asked him how he would like to be described, Linda Brimm said.
"He told him, 'Just say I'm a doctor who cares,' " his daughter recalled. "And that sums it up. He really did care."
Dr. Brimm won many awards, but the accolade he was most happy to receive was the establishment of a Camden high school under his name.
The Dr. Charles E. Brimm Medical Arts High School was founded in 1994 with space provided by Lourdes. It moved to its current building at 1626 Copewood Street in 1996.
"It was the height of his life," said his wife, Edith. "In fact, he couldn't stop crying. He could have gone right then and been happy."
Dr. Brimm also helped establish organizations including CAMcare, a city-based health-care system. His daughter said he was one of the founding trustees of Camden County College in 1967.
In the 1970s, Dr. Brimm served as a city councilman and as campaign treasurer for Mayor Melvin R. "Randy" Primas Jr. His family members said that campaign soured him on the Democratic Party, though they weren't sure exactly why.
So, in 1985, he ran as a Republican for the Assembly. He campaigned in the same style of his medical career: making house calls.
In a 1985 Inquirer article, Dr. Brimm said, "I'm just doing the same things I've been doing for 31 years, making house calls and identifying myself with the issues."
He lost the race to Democrats Wayne Bryant and Francis Gorman. He then gave up on politics to focus on his medical practice.
"He was a family physician; he took care of the whole family, from cradle until they passed," said Marilyn Gordon, clinical director of internal medicine at CAMcare.
When he wasn't visiting ill patients, Dr. Brimm enjoyed playing the piano and listening to jazz.
He frequented the old Latin Casino in Cherry Hill and met stars such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, his daughter said.
After a stroke in the late 1980s, Dr. Brimm had to cut back his work schedule, and in 1997 he sold his practice to Cooper University Hospital.
"He couldn't keep the pace he was used to, and that was really hard on him," his daughter said.
In retirement, Dr. Brimm spent a lot of time reading biographies and walking in the neighborhood. Some of his favorite subjects were Presidents Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.
During his short Republican political career, Dr. Brimm was invited to the White House and met Reagan. The picture still sits in his house.
Following his graduation from Camden High School in 1942, Dr. Brimm served in the Army during World War II and was stationed in Germany for about three years.
Upon returning to Camden in 1947, he enrolled at the South Jersey Law School, which became part of Rutgers University-Camden. In 1948, he went to the University of Ottawa, where he received his bachelor's degree in pre-med. He stayed in Canada through 1955, when he obtained his medical degree.
In addition to his wife, son and daughter, Dr. Brimm is survived by a grandson.
Funeral services have not been scheduled..
Camden Courier-Post * February 2, 2010
BRIMM, Charles E., M.D.
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