Amherst Magazine

James Alexander '42

James Alexander '42 died March 29, 2009.


JAMES KERMOTT ALEXANDER ’42

Dr. Jim Alexander, who had a long and distinguished career as a cardiologist, died on March 29, 2009, in Houston, Texas.

Born in Illinois in 1920, Jim spent most of his early years in Englewood, N.J. He graduated from Dwight Morrow High School there at the top of his class, earning a scholarship to Amherst. At Amherst he was involved successfully in many activities—Theta Delt, soccer, squash, glee club, Amherst Student, debating council, planning committee and Phi Beta Kappa.

After graduating cum laude from Amherst, Jim entered Harvard Medical School, receiving his M.D. degree in 1946. This was followed by a 15-month internship at Bellevue Hospital in New York, two years in the military and an American Heart Association fellowship at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.

In 1954 Jim joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, teaching there until 2007. He also served at various times as chief of cardiology at City County Hospital and at the Houston V.A. Hospital. In these positions he performed innovative research, introduced new procedures and technological advances into the practice of clinical medicine and excelled as a teacher. During this period, he was a friend and colleague of famed heart surgeon, Michael DeBakey.

In his private life, Jim married Marie Muckley in 1945. They had three children, two girls and a boy, James Jr. ’69. Marie died suddenly in January 1976, and in October 1977, Jim married Carolyn Barr Alexander, his widow.

Although he was devoted to the practice and teaching of medicine, Jim had many other interests, including chamber music, jogging, cycling, mountain climbing and his special passion, fly fishing. Pursuing this hobby, he traveled to many countries seeking outstanding fishing locations. The Houston Chronicle quoted Carolyn Alexander as saying, “Jim had a charmed, wonderful and productive life.”

—Ted Heisler ’42    

 

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