WHEN DR. Murray H. Ringold arrived in Levittown in 1951, it was a rapidly growing community. And it needed a doctor.

Dr. Ringold capably filled that need and remained a popular physician there for 45 years, as the Lower Bucks County region grew around him.

He died Thursday of complications of pneumonia. He was 88 and was living in Newtown, Bucks County, but had lived most of his life in Levittown.

Murray Ringold was born in Philadelphia to Harry and Leah Ringold. He grew up in Hazleton, attended Penn State, graduating in 1941, and enlisted in the Army. He served in the Army Air Corps as a cryptographer in New Guinea.

After the war, he attended Temple Medical School on the GI Bill. He married his wife, Helen, in 1945. After graduating from Temple, he opened his general practice on Pinewood Drive, in Levittown, in 1951.

"There he set a standard for compassionate and scientific-based health care for the then historically burgeoning community of Levittown," said his son Stephen Ringold.

Dr. Robert S. Mursky, a physician at St. Mary Hospital, talked about Murray's generosity to his peers and his scientific curiosity.

" 'When I arrived in town to practice medicine, your father took the time to call me and welcome me to the community,' " he told Stephen Ringold.

" 'He offered his help in establishing me here and asked if it were OK for him to call me to learn about useful new techniques and information.'

"This sense of scientific inteligence and curiosity, combined with a sense of humor and an absence of arrogance, was central to his work, making him a beloved physician for his 45 years of practice," his son said.

Murray's time at Penn State left him with a lifelong passion for Nittany Lion football, his son said.

He was also active in the Jewish community. He was an active supporter of both Beth El Synagogue and Temple Shir Ami in their early days. He was a fundraiser for the State of Israel and took an active role in issues pertaining to Soviet Jewry.

In his spare time, he enjoyed photography and sailing his 14-foot sailboat - strictly in fresh water.

"But most of all he was a devoted husband and father who brought to his family a sense of curiosity, compassion, humor and love," his son said.

Besides his wife and son, he is survived by another son, Paul; a daughter, Judy Ringold; and three grandchildren.

Services: 11 a.m. today at Temple Shir Ami, 101 Richboro Newtown Rd., Newtown.