Louis G. McAfoos Jr., 92, of Downingtown, a longtime South Jersey physician who at 61 decided to go into the Episcopal priesthood and became an associate at Grace Church in Haddonfield, died Monday, Dec. 6, at his home.

In addition to operating a private practice in South Jersey for four decades, Dr. McAfoos served in various positions at West Jersey Hospital, including chief of the medical staff.

Dr. McAfoos opened a general medical practice in Collingswood in 1947, shortly after serving as a flight surgeon in the Army Air Force.

In 1960, he became board certified in internal medicine and, with another physician, opened another practice in Cherry Hill, said his son, Louis G. McAfoos III.

While on the staff at West Jersey Hospital, now Virtua Health, Dr. McAfoos served on numerous committees and the board of trustees. He was also an instructor in the School of Nursing of West Jersey Hospital.

Dr. McAfoos retired from medicine in 1987 but remained busy as a member of the clergy, a role he had been balancing since 1979.

Dr. McAfoos started taking night classes in Trenton through the New Jersey Diocese of the Episcopal church in the 1970s. He was ordained in 1979 and worked as an associate at Grace Church for more than 20 years.

A big kid at heart, Dr. McAfoos engaged with children at "their level," said Rev. Patrick Close, rector at Grace Church.

Dr. McAfoos' shock of white hair and grandfatherly, gentle demeanor were reminiscent of St Nick, which made children feel comfortable with him. "He really loved doing the kids' service," Close said. "He made church fun for the kids."

Dr. McAfoos retired to Exton in 2001 and helped out at St. Paul's Church there. He and his wife, Dorothy, moved to Downingtown two years ago.

Dr. McAfoos was born in Philadelphia and mostly raised in Merchantville. He graduated from Merchantville High School in 1936 and attended Pennsylvania State University for two years before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Penn in 1940.

While at Hahnemann Medical College, Dr. McAfoos met nursing student Dorothy Schroder. They married in 1945.

Dr. McAfoos graduated from medical school in 1943 and enlisted in the Army Air Force, where he served for the last two years of World War II. After the war, he was stationed in Korea for about a year and was in charge of air evacuations for patients going from Korea to Japan and then to the United States.

Dr. McAfoos had been an active member with the Sons of the American Revolution since finding out his ancestors fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, his son said, adding that Dr. McAfoos was an avid reader of history.

In addition to his wife and son, Dr. McAfoos is survived by daughter Diane Hydrean and four grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 10, at Grace Episcopal Church, 19 Kings Highway E., Haddonfield.

Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.