"He lived his life bringing comfort to his patients and his family."
COL., M.D., USA Retired
Maryland - Germany - Washington, D.C.
NMP#  12.C.1
Oct. 1945 - Dec. 1991

His obituary as written by Aras van Hertum in the December 12, 1991 Washington, DC newspaper “The Blade” read:

“Warren William Chamberlain, Jr., who was one of the major AIDS care providers in the Washington area, died on Tuesday, December 10, 1991, at his mother’s Annapolis, Maryland home, of complications associate with AIDS.  He was 45 years old. 

A private practice physician in D.C., since 1986, Chamberlain was “very early on in the forefront of treating AIDS patients, according to Dr. Samuel Dotson, who joined his practice three years ago.

Specializing in allergy and immunology, Chamberlain pioneered the early treatment of HIV infection using low-dose AZT, and advocated a more urgent and rational response to the AIDS crisis.  He conducted training sessions on HIV/AIDS for local health-care workers and lectures on AIDS in the workplace and, according to his family, pushed for better “factual education on the disease, early comprehensive testing, aggressive treatment and compassionate care for HIV infected individuals.”  Last year, he was named Physician of the Year by Capitol Hill Hospital.

Chamberlain was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and pre-medicine from the University of Maryland (UM) in 1968, and a doctor of medicine degree from the UM School of Medicine in Baltimore in 1973.

Enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1971, he served an internship and residency at Walter Reed Army Hospital from 1973 to 1976, served as staff pediatrician at the Heidelberg Army Hospital in Germany from 1978 to 1980, and then as chief of pediatrics at the Ft. Meade Army Hospital.  He left active duty in 1984 but remained in the Army Reserve, holding the rank of colonel at the time of his death.  His awards included an Army Service Ribbon, an Army Commendation Medal, and Armed Forces Reserve Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, and an Overseas Service Ribbon. 

An area resident for most of his life, Chamberlain moved from Rockville, Md., to Washington in the early 1980s, but returned to Rockville in 1989 and lived there until his death.  He was active in, among others, New England Critical Care in Columbia, Md., and Care of Baltimore.

“He was an excellent physician and his patients loved him,” Dotson said.

His marriage to Jeanne Nelson Chamberlain of Rockville ended in divorce.

Survivors include his companion, Kenneth Lipskind of Rockville; three children, Erich Chamberlain of Rockville; Louise Chamberlain of Chicago, Ill.; and William Chamberlain of Ft. Drum, N.Y.; his parents, Erma Chamberlain of Annapolis; and Warren Chamberlain, Sr. of Brookside, Pa.; a sister, Teresa…”


While his obituary covers his life well, it only gives you a glimpse of who he was so this Memory Record will attempt to capture more of the events and the stories that shaped the life of Dr. Chamberlain who died at the young age of 45 due to complications from HIV. 

He lived his life bringing comfort to his patients and his family.  He demonstrated a love of people, medical science, art (as an artist and as a collector), music (played the clarinet and the recorder), German culture (spoke fluent German and lived for many years in Germany), horticulture, giving at Christmas and physical fitness (while suffering from AIDS induced blindness in his last year he would still have someone take him to the gym and guide him from one workout station to another).  Numerous people needing terminal care came to him due to his tireless caring nature.  He specialized in immunology, pediatrics, emergency medicine and the treatment of HIV. 

“Junior” always exhibited an unusually high level of attention to detail and precision and disciplined study habits which provided a good foundation for being a doctor.  When doing pencil drawings while in college, he would work with finally sharpened pencils and use a magnifying glass to obtain precision.  After each school class, he would religiously rewrite his class notes that reinforced his learning.  While as a young boy delivering newspapers for the Washington Post in Langley Park, MD he was disciplined in always getting up at 5 am, counting his papers and quickly delivering his route.  It may not seem like much, but these key performance habits helped to make him the person that he was.  (As opposed to his brother Chuck that had an adjoining route but who usually read the comics in the newspaper first.)

His legacy is his children, their children, those who benefited from his care and our memories. 

It was a great shame to lose someone so talented and caring so early in life, he could have contributed so much more to the relief of human suffering and to his family if he had lived a longer life.


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