In 2002, Dr. Murray Schwartz worked very briefly as a radiologist at Valley Hospital in Palmer, Alaska.
He was there only from July 1 to 19 and from Sept. 16 to 21, with an August stint at a hospital in Anchorage.
But Palmer convinced him that he had made the right decision to work in Alaska, even for only weeks.
"He stayed at a little hotel in Palmer," a son, Jason, said. "And he would walk out the front door of the hotel and there were the mountains. He loved it there."
On Thursday, Aug. 18, Dr. Schwartz, 72, of Cherry Hill, a radiologist who from 2000 to 2008 worked brief terms at several hospitals in Kentucky, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, died of complications from pneumonia at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden.
Dr. Schwartz served as a "locum tenens" - a Latin phrase suggesting a placeholder. He was a substitute physician whose assignments are arranged by agencies for "locum tenens" workers in several careers.
In a 2008 interview for the medical website LocumLife.Com, Dr. Schwartz said that "for physicians like me who are at the tail end of their careers and do not want to practice full time but still want to keep their hands in medicine, locum tenens is a great opportunity."
He turned 59 while he was in Palmer.
From 1966 to 1968, as a volunteer who had not yet begun his medical studies, Dr. Schwartz served in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific for the Peace Corps, his son said.
His taste for adventure, his son said, was shown in that he took the long way home, traveling through countries such as India and Israel, for three to four months.
He returned to be drafted into an Army chemical-weapons unit and, while holding a bachelor's in chemistry at Temple University, worked in the early 1970s as a chemist at the Philadelphia firm Rohm & Haas Co.
Dr. Schwartz earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1978 and worked as an emergency-room physician at Kennedy University Hospital in Washington Township.
But he turned to radiology, his son said, in part because "the lifestyle of an emergency-room doctor was not conducive to having two small children."
He spent his residency in radiology at Kennedy from 1983 to 1986.
Dr. Schwartz was a staff radiologist at what is now Kindred Hospital Philadelphia-Havertown from 1988 to 1991, at the former Zurbrugg Memorial Hospital in Riverside from 1991 to 1993, and at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township from 1993 to 2000.
He then began his career as a "locum tenens" physician and ended it - in his longest stint - from 2008 to 2011 as an assistant professor of radiology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.
"He was the kindest, most incredible man, who just loved being a neighbor and friend," Carol Friedman, a longtime Cherry Hill neighbor, said.
Besides his son Jason, he is survived by his wife, Joni; son Randy; two sisters; and a grandchild.
A visitation was set from 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill, before an 11 a.m. funeral there with interment in Montefiore Cemetery, 600 Church Rd. in Jenkintown.
Donations may be sent to Eric Jacobs Early Childhood Center at Temple Beth Shalom, 1901 Kresson Rd., Cherry Hill, N.J. 08003.
Condolences may be offered to the family at plattmemorial.com.