Louis F. Rittelmeyer Jr., 79, retired professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, died June 28 at his home in Alexandria. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was born in Mobile, Ala., and graduated from Spring Hill College in 1945. He received his medical degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1947. After graduation, he interned at Mercy Hospital in Chicago. His subsequent general medical practice in Mobile was interrupted by two years of service as a captain in the Army Medical Corps during the Korean War.

He began his career in medical education in 1954 at the University of Tennessee and later at the University of Mississippi, teaching family practice before it became a recognized specialty. He pioneered efforts to raise standards of practice, which led to the recognition of family medicine as a primary care specialty. In the early 1960s, Dr. Rittelmeyer was vice president and medical director of Mead Johnson and Co.

He began a residency in psychiatry at Georgetown in 1963 and joined the faculty there in 1966. He continued his interest in the family and developed programs for teaching psychiatric principles to practicing physicians and family practice residents. He directed the adult psychiatry clinic for many years and was chairman of the department from 1982 to 1986. He retired from his full-time position in 1992 and continued teaching as a volunteer until 2002.

Dr. Rittelmeyer was a life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a diplomate of the Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He published numerous scientific articles on aspects of psychiatry, family practice and medical education. The Georgetown University Teacher of the Year Award in Psychiatric Residency has been named in his honor.

He was a longtime resident of McLean and an active participant in St. Luke's Catholic Church. At the time of his death, he was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria. He spent much of his retirement pursuing his passion for travel.

His wife of 49 years, Patricia Hamersly Rittelmeyer, died in 1999.

Survivors include his wife of two years, Sally Roddy Rittelmeyer of Alexandria; seven sons, Michael Rittelmeyer of Marietta, Ga., James Rittelmeyer of Winchester, Va., Frederick Rittelmeyer of New Orleans, Paul Rittelmeyer of Amherst, John Rittelmeyer of Cary, N.C., William Rittelmeyer of Woodsboro, Frederick County, and Robert Rittelmeyer of San Francisco; a daughter, Anita Rittelmeyer of Winchester; a brother; three stepchildren, Bruce Roddy of Glen Ridge, N.J., Cynthia Blue Horse of Albuquerque and Brian Roddy of Barnegat Light, N.J.; 14 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.