Theodore Robert Stent, M.D. (263978)
Credit: Contributed

Theodore Robert Stent, M.D. passed away peacefully at 94 years of age April 29, 2018, surrounded by his cherished wife Jean and his loving family. A memorial service will be held June 9, 2018, 11 a.m. at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church, 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West, Bronx, N.Y.

Theodore “Teddy” Stent was born Jan. 7, 1924 in Charleston, S.C. where he grew up, the loving son of Amelia Boags Stent and Theodore Camille Stent. At 16, he graduated from Avery Normal Institute, Charleston’s first accredited secondary school for Blacks, in 1940 and in 1944 received his Bachelor of Arts from Talladega College, in Talladega, Ala.

As an altar boy and choir member at Charleston’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Teddy developed his life-long passion and love for music. He was also an accomplished musician, and played both the piano and the trumpet. Teddy’s musical passion continued at Talladega College, where he found his musical mentor, Professor Frank Harrison, who became his lifelong friend and godfather to his eldest daughter. He also studied and loved the sciences. Teddy then went on to Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., where he received his Doctorate of Medicine in 1948. He served as president of his class for four years and was an honors graduate. In medical school he continued his dual loves of medicine and music as a tenor soloist with the Fisk University Jubilee Singers choir, organizer the Meharry singers and co-author of the Meharry Alma Mater.

Teddy served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1951 to 1953 and was discharged with honors. He moved to New York City, where several of his cousins lived, and did both his internship and his residency at Sydenham Hospital. He became a staff radiologist at Bellevue Hospital, held appointments as associate radiologist at Sydenham and adjunct at the Hospital for Joint Diseases. His first marriage, in 1953, was to Madelon M. Delany and produced three children, Michelle, Nicole and Evan.

Teddy was certified by the NYS Education Department in 1953. He was appointed director of radiology at Harlem Hospital and maintained a private practice at Lenox Terrace. He served on the faculty of Columbia University College of Physician and Surgeons as associate clinical director for 30 years, retiring in 1991. He was a diplomate of the American Board of Radiology and served as a member of the National Medical Association. His medical affiliations included the American College of Radiology, the Radiological Society of NY Medical College, the Radiological Society of NYC, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Kappa Pi Honorary Medical Society; and the American College of Nuclear Medicine.

In 1973, Teddy became certified by the American Board of Nuclear Medicine, a conjoint of the American Boards of Internal Medicine, Pathology and Radiology in the then new field of nuclear medicine. He became one of the first nuclear medicine specialists in the country and was invited to the First World Conference on Nuclear Medicine held in Japan.

Teddy worked tirelessly with the community and its elected leadership to design and build Harlem Hospital as an institution of medical excellence for the Harlem community he loved. He was an early innovator for community medicine as one of the founders of the Paul Robeson Health Organization. Physicians affiliated were concerned with quality care in an underserved community and provided medical services that were comprehensive in scope and optimum in quality at reasonable costs with minimal risk to patients. Teddy continued to work with local health clinics, including the Adelaide Clinic in Antigua, West Indies and other community-based organizations well past his retirement.

Teddy was a co-founder of Intra-American Life Insurance and served as its vice president and medical director. He was an early investor in what later became Inner-City Broadcasting, started by his friend Percy Sutton. He also was active in state and local politics, beginning with the first campaign for Congressman Charles Rangel, “Doctors for Rangel.”

Teddy’s dual interests and superior talents in science and music always blended well. Although he was highly distinguished in medicine, his musical achievements were no less outstanding. As a soloist and choral director, he conducted many choirs and held long tenure as minister of music of the Westminster Choir at Church of the Master in Harlem. This famed choir premiered several works and appeared with Odetta at Carnegie Hall and on CBS TV with Alfredo Antonini and the CBS Symphony. Teddy also provided musical accompaniment for Langston Hughes’ recitation of his poetry. Teddy was noted for his arrangements, renditions and interpretations of Negro spirituals and founded The Voices, Inc., a Negro spiritual professional performance group that toured across the country. He also worked on arrangements with the legendary composer and arranger, Hall Johnson. He served as board president of the Symphony of the New World that performed regularly at Lincoln Center and was composed of minority and diverse musicians, bringing orchestral composition to communities that had no exposure to classical music. From September 1994 to September 2009, he was soloist and choir master at Riverdale Presbyterian Church, and he also sang with the Oratorio Society of New York, in addition to serving on their board of directors.

Other boards om which he served included Harlem Neighborhood Association, Inc., NY Urban League, NAACP, YMCA and the Greater Harlem Nursing Home, Inc.

Jan. 21, 1995, Teddy married Jean Santoiemma at the Riverdale Presbyterian Church.

Teddy was a true Renaissance man. In an era when it was challenging for Blacks to obtain an education, he was steadfast in his determination to be a physician, and then rise to the top of his profession while guiding others to do the same. He loved the outdoors, fishing, gardening, carpentry, boats, astronomy and sciences, and he would read a book a night. He held dear his childhood home of Charleston, where his parents and many relatives lived. He cherished his family, friends, colleagues and community. He loved his church choir, his wife Jean and being at Jean’s and his home in Connecticut, where he enjoyed star gazing out on the deck.

Teddy was a proud member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi – Zeta Boule, Reveille Club and his beloved Brooklyn Guardsmen. He is survived by his devoted wife, Jean Santoiemma Stent; his beloved children, Michelle D. Stent, JD, MPA, Nicole M. Stent, Esq., Evan T. Stent; step-son John N. Santoiemma; grandchildren Imani Simone Stent Graham and Mark Anthony Stent Graham; his loving sister, Doris Stent Hall; and nephew Harry K. Hall, Esq. Teddy also leaves many cherished cousins and a host of friends in Charleston, New York, Antigua and Connecticut.

Memorial donations can be made to his beloved alma mater Talladega College at HYPERLINK “http://www.talladega,edu”www.talladega,edu or by check to The Office of Institutional Advancement, Talladega College, 627 Battle Street West, Talladega, AL 35160. In memo line write, In memory of Dr. Theodore R. Stent.

Memorial donations can also be made to Riverdale Presbyterian Church, 4765 Henry Hudson Parkway West, Bronx, NY 10471.