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James Edward Oertel was born in Baton Rouge in 1933. He graduated from Louisiana State University and its medical school with additional medical training in pathology at the University of Rochester. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army stationed at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC. He stayed on as a civilian pathologist for his entire career, nearly 30 years. During that time, he led the Endocrine Pathology Branch for almost 25 years and wrote many academic articles and book chapters. Among those were publications on lymphoma of the thyroid and cystic lesions of the pancreas, considered seminal to surgical pathology. His special interests were thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, and adrenal pathology. He lectured widely in the U.S. and internationally.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Yolanda Castillo Oertel, M.D., also an
academic pathologist, as well as a sister Catherine and brother-in-law Ralph Braun of Washington, DC.
He was a founding member of the Vocal Arts Society (currently, Vocal Arts DC) and was on its Board of Directors for several years. He was an avid concert and opera patron.
He resided in northern Virginia for the past 13 years. He passed away peacefully in hospice care after a brief illness on December 5, 2013. A memorial service will be on Saturday, December 21, at 11 a.m. in the chapel at Goodwin House, Falls Church.
Contributions in remembrance may be made to Goodwin House BCR Hospice, 3440 South Jefferson St., Falls Church, VA 22041.

Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 15, 2013
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