David Armitage dies; medical officer served at Walter Reed

Sunday, December 13, 2009

David T. Armitage, 70, a retired Army colonel who had a long career as a medical officer before becoming a senior medical adviser to the Army's Physical Disability Agency, died Nov. 17 of a heart attack at his office at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He lived in Silver Spring.

Dr. Armitage joined the Army in 1965 after graduating from medical school at Syracuse University in New York. He was board certified in five specialties: psychiatry and neurology, child psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, family practice and hospital administration. He was also a lawyer and often worked on cases in which legal and medical issues overlapped.

After early tours of duty in Hawaii, at Walter Reed and in Germany, Dr. Armitage became chairman of the psychiatry and neurology department at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Fort Gordon, Ga.

He returned to Walter Reed in 1984 and became associate director of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. At the same time, he served as co-director of Walter Reed's forensic psychiatry fellowship and associate chairman for forensic sciences and litigation support at the Department of Legal Medicine.

Dr. Armitage retired from the Army in 1995 but continued to work as a civilian medical adviser on military disability matters until his death. He was the co-author of "Principles and Practice of Military Forensic Psychiatry" (1997) and served as an expert witness, writer and consultant.

He was also an examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

David Templeton Armitage was born in Troy, N.Y., and graduated from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, before entering medical school at Syracuse. He received a law degree from the old Augusta Law School in Augusta, Ga.

One of Dr. Armitage's many interests was singing. He sang bass with the Washington Chorus and often performed at the Kennedy Center and Music Center at Strathmore. He was a member of the chorus when it won a Grammy Award in 2000 for best choral performance. The chorus plans to dedicate a performance of Mozart's "Requiem" to Dr. Armitage in March.

His other interests included tennis, running and hiking.

A daughter, Nancy Armitage, died in 1982.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Barri Gotham Armitage of Silver Spring; a son, David T. Armitage Jr. of Arlington County; a sister; and a granddaughter.

-- Matt Schudel

© 2009 The Washington Post Company