A. Everette James, Jr., age 78, passed away on March 14, 2017 at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill from complications following emergency surgery. He was preceded in death by his parents, A. E. “Buck” James, Sr. and Pattie Royster James, and his daughter Elizabeth R. James. He was born in his mother’s hometown of Oxford, N.C. and grew up in the small farm town of Robersonville in Martin County. He completed his undergraduate degree with honors (1959) at the University of North Carolina (UNC) and followed graduating with honors at Duke University Medical School (1963). His post-doctoral work was at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and as Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in England. He was a Picker Advanced Academic Fellow under Russell H. Morgan at Johns Hopkins. He also graduated in Program Health Systems Management at the Harvard Business School.
In 1965, he volunteered for the Army and served in Vietnam with the 93rd Hospital Evacuation Unit. Later he was given the Leadership Award for his efforts on behalf of Vietnam Veterans and contributions to the committee for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Tennessee. Following his military service, Everette was a Harvard Teaching Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital (1968-69) and then began his professional career as the Director of Radiological Research Laboratories at Johns Hopkins Medical School (1971-75). He was appointed Chair and Professor of Radiological Sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1975, where he also was a Lecturer in Legal Medicine and Senior Research Associate at the Vanderbilt Institute of Public Policy (1975-93). He founded the Vanderbilt Center for Medical Imaging Research. His leadership and vision transformed the radiology department at Vanderbilt and many viewed the program as one of premier departments in the world. His scientific focus in radiology was at first nuclear medicine, followed by ultrasound, and later MRI. For over 20 years of his career, he served as a consultant to the National Zoo of the Smithsonian traveling worldwide in the study of exotic animals.
Everette was a Scholar at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a Visiting Scientist at the National Cancer Institute/National Institute of Health in 1991-92, and Senior Program Officer at the IOM in 1993-94, all in Washington, D.C. In 1994-95, he served as the Special Advisor to the Governor of North Carolina and the Board of Science and Technology. He remained a lecturer at Johns Hopkins Medical Schools, Adjunct Professor of Vanderbilt, and Clinical Professor at the University of North Carolina.
Everette was an active member and leader of countless academic, professional and cultural organizations. He was President of the Society of Chairmen of Academic Radiology Departments (SCARD), the Association of University Radiologist (AUR), and the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS). He received the Gold Medal Award from both the AUR and the ARRS for contributions to the discipline. He was a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, D.C. for his publications and the Explorer’s Club of New York for his work with the Smithsonian.
Everette was given a Distinguished Graduate Award of Duke University Medical School in 1993 and in 2002 received the Medical School’s Humanitarian Award for his work in the arts, historic preservation, and attention to Vietnam Veterans. He served as a member of the Duke University Medical School Board, a member of the James B. Duke Society, and the Davison Club. He was also a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, medicine’s honor society.
At the UNC, he was a founding member of the Parent’s Council for Out-of-State Students, served on the Board of Visitors, and the Advisory Council for the Center for the Study of the American South. Currently he was a member of the Chancellor’s Club and on the board of the Di Phi Society. He continued involvement with many programs and services across campus because of his past and ongoing gifts of paintings and pottery. At Johns Hopkins University, he was a member of the Dean’s Committee in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and a member of the President’s Society. He initiated the Russell H. Morgan Fund at the school.
Everette served as Radiology Representative of the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Administrative Board of the Council of Academic Societies (CAS). He was a long-time member of the National Council of Radiation Protection (NCRP) and was author of the text Radiation Exposure from Nuclear Medicine Procedures in Pediatrics.
Everette was a Tennessee Squire, a Kentucky Colonel, and a recipient of North Carolina’s Long Leaf Pine Award. In 2015 he received the prestigious North Carolina Award from the Governor for notable accomplishments in the Fine Arts. He was a member of Leadership Nashville, a life member of Vietnam Veterans, on the board of the North Carolina Decoy Collectors Society, and h maintained his fraternal affiliation with Pi Kappa Alpha in the Junior Founder Society.
Everette was also active on a number of medical boards and numerous state and national art-related organizations and museum boards. He served as a member of the North Carolina State University Veterinary Medicine Foundation and was President of the Board from 1997-98. For this service, he was inducted into the Riddick Society of North Carolina State University. He was a founding member of the International Association of Art in Medicine and cover editor of their journal (IJAM). Dr. James served on the Board of Directors, North Carolina Pottery Center, and on a Regional Advisory Committee for Preservation North Carolina. He also served on the North Carolina Arts Council and was preparing to attend his first meeting of The North Carolina Arts Foundation.
Further extending his interest in his home state and the arts, Everette restored a primitive Baptist church in his hometown converting it into a free-to-the-public museum devoted to Southern folklore. The church is on the National Register of Historic Properties, and for this work, he was awarded the North Carolina Carraway Award for Historic Preservation. He also restored the Bank of Robersonville under the guidance of Preservation North Carolina and the National Trust. He later gifted the Bank to Preservation North Carolina.
Since retirement to Chapel Hill, he had been guest curator and lecturer on many art forums both nationally and internationally. His collections of 19th and early 20th century American art, North Carolina art pottery, North Carolina quilts, North Carolina waterfowl decoys, have been widely exhibited. Throughout his career he brought an arts focus to radiology, specifically, and to medicine in general.
Everette is the author of over 540 articles, over 200 book chapters, and over 20 books on medicine, law, ethics, art, folklore, and fictional works. His most recent publications have been: Severance, Rutledge (novels), Tales of the Dismal Swamp and Deep Fried Southern Tales (short stories), Knights in White (a novella), and non-fiction works, North Carolina Art Pottery, Collecting American Art, Essays in Folk Art. He was in the process of co-authoring a book on North Carolina painters up to 1950 with Scott Power of Greenville. He is listed in many Who’s Who.
Collecting and donating North Carolina decoys, pottery, Southern furniture, and American art to museums and organization was a lifelong activity. Beneficiaries of his gifts across North Carolina include 35 locations. At UNC , his donations may be seen are at the: Alpha Delta Pi Sorority House; Center for the Study of the American South; George Watts Hill Alumni Center; James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence; Kenan Institue; Lineberger Cancer Center; UNC Hospitals; School of Education; School of Government; UNC Winston House in London, England; and currently underway is a gift of 45 paintings to the relocated Arts and Sciences Foundation. His gifts out-of-state have also been extensive and include Art in US Embassies around the world. Dr. James also exhibited then gave his North Carolina African-American quilt collection to the North Carolina Museum of History and gave the Pattie Royster James Collection of North Carolina quilts to the North Carolina State University Gregg Museum of Art and Design.
Although Everette achieved great things in medicine, art and life, he never lost his connection with his hometown and the people in it. He was a dedicated son and father. His children were his greatest blessing and he was always proud all were UNC graduates. His four grandchildren were a great source of amazement with their endeavors. He was athletic- a star athlete in high school, played competitive tennis with colleagues until his very senior years, and an avid tennis, golf, and ACC sports fan. He enjoyed hunting, but loved fishing especially with his son and in later years with Alan Powell of Cary. Though he was a great public speaker and talker, using his Southern wit to surprise and amuse, he was also a non-judgmental listener who was interested in you. He had a knack for bringing people together and staying connected with people from all walks of life He was a gentle man with an especially tender heart. In Chapel Hill, he became a father figure to many who needed his attention, time, and caring. There are countless wonderful stories about Everette’s very full life from shenanigans at Massachusetts General , climbing through a South American forest to x-ray tamarin monkeys, being a fashion icon in pink and madras, and oh so much more.
Everette is survived by: his wife Nancy J. Farmer of Chapel Hill ; his son Everette III, wife Gretchen, and grandchildren Katie and Charlotte, of Pittsburgh, PA; his daughter Jeannette James Whitson , husband Clay, Sr., and grandchildren Clay, Jr. and Elizabeth, of Nashville, TN. He is also survived by: his brother-in-law Lee B Farmer and wife Wanda of New London and their children and families in Charlotte and Hickory. Other family on his mother’s side include: Charles and Carolyn Noblin, Roy and Marsha Noblin , John and Marsha Currin , all of Oxford; Lee and Vickie Currin of Rocky Mount; Katherine Belcher of Holden Beach; and Susan Royster of Cary. His family is especially indebted to all members of the Men’s Bible Study who strengthened his Christian faith and gave him genuine love and support over the years. A. Everette James, Jr., was one of a kind who graced us with his presence. He will be missed and never forgotten.
His funeral was held in Chapel Hill on Saturday, April 8, 2.00 pm, University United Methodist Church, 150 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. Following the service there will be a celebration of his life at the Chapel Hill Country Club, 103 Lancaster Drive. Memorials donations in his memory may be made to the: National Parkinson Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131; UNC Center for the Study of the American South, 410 E. Franklin Street, CB 9127, Chapel Hill, NC 27599; or University United Methodist Church, 150 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Condolences may be shared at cremationsocietync.com