Home
Services
Clements Funeral Service
1105 Broad Street
Durham, NC 27705-3509
(919) 286-1224
Resources
More Obituaries for James Wyngaarden
Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name?

James Wyngaarden


1924 - 2019
James Wyngaarden Obituary
Wyngaarden, James 10/19/1924 - 6/14/2019 Durham, NC DURHAM: James B. Wyngaarden, 94, died peacefully at his home June 14, 2019 following a long illness. Dr. Wyngaarden was a giant in the leadership of medicine during the last half of the twentieth century. He embodied the description of the compleat physician as he advanced medicine through his accomplishments as a scientist, educator, clinician, and administrator. He was a creator and model physician-scientist and was considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of molecular medicine, an approach which seeks to determine the molecular basis of diseases so as to facilitate their treatment and cure. Following a lifetime devoted to medicine, Dr. James B. Wyngaarden will long be regarded as amongst the finest of the greatest generation of physician-scientist leaders of the twentieth century. As a scientist, his research in purine metabolism elucidated the understanding of diseases such as gout, and his work was critical for the development of drugs for their treatment. As an educator, he understood the importance of the physician-scientist and was a leading proponent for training and supporting the careers of these critical contributors to medical progress. He was the first to call attention to the waning interest of many young physicians in pursuing such a career, referring as early as 1979 to the physician scientist as "an endangered species," and took steps to remediate the situation such as starting a special research training program for physicians at Duke University. As a physician-author, he wrote some 250 biochemical research, medical education and science policy papers including co-editing five editions each of "Cecil's Textbook of Medicine" and "The Metabolic Basis of Inherited Disease". As a physician-administrator, he helped train legions of leading scientists, department chairs, and health system heads. He chaired the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (1965-1967) and then at Duke University (1967-1982), elevating Duke's Department of Medicine to one of the nation's best. He served as Director of the National Institutes of Health (1982-1989), Associate Director for Life Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President (G. H. W. Bush) (1989-1990), Director of the Human Genome Organization (1990-1992), Foreign Secretary of the US National Academy of Sciences (1990-1994), and Assistant Vice Chancellor of the Duke University Medical Center (1991-1994). Throughout his career, Dr. Wyngaarden served on numerous federal and private advisory committees. He was a member of the original Scientific Advisory Committee of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (1969-1982), on the President's Science Advisory Committee (1972-1973), on the President's Committee for the National Medal of Science (1977-1980), as the Director of the World AIDS Foundation (1987-1989), and as a Principal of the Washington Advisory Group (1994-2002). Dr. Wyngaarden's notable achievements were recognized by his election to the National Academy of Sciences, The National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal College of Physicians, and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences. Further he received the Anlyan Lifetime Achievement Award from Duke University, the George M. Kober Medal from the Association of American Physicians, and eight Honorary Degrees including one from Duke University. Dr. Wyngaarden was born and raised in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, the second of four children born to the late Prof. Martin Wyngaarden and the late Johanna (Kempers) Wyngaarden. He attended Calvin College and Western Michigan University and earned his medical degree at the University of Michigan in 1948. He married Ethel Vredevoogd in 1946 and over a ten year period, their family grew with five children, including Patricia, Jana, Marty, Lisa, and James B. Wyngaarden, Jr. They raised their family primarily in Durham, NC although they spent 1963-1964 in France while Dr. Wyngaarden was on sabbatical as a Visiting Scientist at the Marie Curie and Pasteur Institutes in Paris. Their marriage lasted 31 years. Dr. Wyngaarden was an accomplished tennis player throughout his life, and as an adult enjoyed skiing, sailing with his adult children, and traveling. He delighted in the continued growth of his family which numbered 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren at the time of his death. He is survived by his daughters Jana Gandy and her husband William of Edgewater, MD, Marty Krauss and her husband Richard of Cambridge, MA, Lisa Wyngaarden of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and his son James B. Jr. and his wife Elizabeth of Durham, NC. In addition to his parents , he was pre-deceased by Lillian (Van Slot), his sister, Martin, his brother, Joanne (De Nooyer), his sister, Ethel (Teer), his former wife, Patricia (Fitzpatrick), his eldest daughter, Brian Rolland, a former son-in-law, and Barbara Walsh Wyngaarden, his daughter-in-law. Over the last several years of declining health, his son Jim devoted himself to meeting all the needs of our father in a loving and deeply respectful relationship. His sisters are forever grateful and awed by the steadfast care Jim provided our father. We also thank the many staff of Vin Rouge who welcomed "Doc", our father, almost nightly to their restaurant. Visiting hours are from 6 pm to 8 pm at Clements Funeral Home in Durham on Friday, June 21. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, June 22 at 2 p.m. at Blacknall Presbyterian Church with Pastor Allan Poole officiating. Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery. The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to www.clementsfuneralservice.com.
Published in Grand Rapids Press on June 19, 2019
Read More
Give others a chance to express condolences. Not right now.
Inform family & friends of James's passing.
Planning Guide
Free funeral planning guide compliments of Clements Funeral Service