Dr. J. Stephen Kurtz, formerly of Mt. Airy, an obstetrician and gynecologist who had practiced in the northwest Philadelphia area for more than five decades, died Sept. 30 of dementia at his home in Ambler.

Dr. Kurtz, who had delivered more than 6,000 babies during his career, was one of the first obstetricians in Philadelphia to use the Leboyer method of natural childbirth, which required that the infant be born into a dark, warm and quiet environment and be placed on its mother for gentle stroking.

He had been affiliated with Germantown, Abington, Roxborough Memorial and Chestnut Hill hospitals, and had maintained offices in Germantown, Plymouth Meeting, Flourtown and Wyndmoor at different times.

Born in Reading, he was a graduate of Reading High School, Franklin and Marshall College and Temple University Medical School. He served in the Navy from 1946 to 1948.

Dr. Kurtz was an Eagle Scout and president of Sigma Pi Fraternity at Franklin and Marshall College. He was a member of the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity, the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

An accomplished violinist, he played frequently with other musicians for his family and friends.

He is survived by his wife, the former Jane Grace; daughters Katrina Kurtz Shuptar of Philadelphia, Gretchen Kurtz Mertz of Fleetwood, and Laura Jane Kurtz Buckalew of Narberth, and two grandsons. Dr. Kurtz’s first wife, Bessie Polk Kurtz; a sister, Jean Kurtz Esser, and a brother, Horace Frame Kurtz, preceded him in death.

Funeral services were held Oct. 5 at the Emil J. Ciavarelli Family Funeral Home in Ambler. Memorial donations may be sent to Dr. Joseph Bavaria, Cardio Aortic Program, University of Pennsylvania, 3400 Spruce St., Suite 750, Philadelphia, PA 19104. – WF