James M. Stewart, M.D.
James M. Stewart, M.D., clinical professor emeritus of the Department of Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, died Sept. 20 at his home in Rochester. He was 88.
Dr. Stewart will be remembered by family, colleagues and those in the community as a versatile clinician, a distinguished teacher and a man of high ideals who inspired countless individuals and enriched the community throughout his long and successful life.
His history at the Medical Center spans more than six decades. Dr. Stewart came to the Medical Center in 1948 as a post-graduate fellow in pathology and physiology after receiving his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, and completing his medical degree at Harvard Medical School. Following his arrival in Rochester, he served as assistant resident in 1948 and chief resident in 1950. He joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine in 1951 and was promoted to professor in 1970. He retired in 1990 and was named clinical professor emeritus.
Dr. Stewart’s teaching and clinical skills were recognized throughout his career. He was appointed the Lawrence A. Kohn Senior Teaching Fellow in 1970, a distinction he held through 1981, and received the American College of Physicians Upstate New York Recognition Award in 1983. He also received several awards from the Rochester community, including a special citation for community activities from the Colgate Rochester Divinity School and a Merit of Honor from the Rochester Academy of Medicine in 1981. In 1996 he was awarded the prestigious Albert David Kaiser Medal by the Rochester Academy of Medicine, its highest honor.
In 1988 in recognition of Dr. Stewart’s dedication to teaching, the Department of Medicine established the James M. Stewart Distinguished Teaching Award, which is presented annually to outstanding clinical faculty in the community.
He was extremely dedicated to the local medical community, including serving on the board of directors of the Monroe Plan. He was a member of the board of directors and finance and budget committee of Genesee Valley Medical Care, board of directors of Visiting Nurse Service, board of trustees and medical scholarship committee of the Monroe County Medical Society, and the medical advisory committee of the Rochester Presbyterian Home.
Dr. Stewart had a particularly strong commitment to the Rochester Academy of Medicine, for which he had served as executive director and board president, according to Marc N. Berliant, M.D. (R ’81), chief of the Medical Center’s Division of General Medicine, and he played a role in “its preservation and renovation, keeping that wonderful building functional, alive and vibrant.”
Dr. Stewart served as a mentor for Berliant, who trained under him, eventually working with him for nearly a decade before he retired in 1990.
“I had the honor of practicing with him for many years, in addition to his being one of my early mentors,” Berliant said. “He was a fabulous teacher who educated using both an impressive scope of knowledge and a steady, reassuring demeanor. He was a consummate physician who exemplified the kind of integrity, compassion and humanism that we strive for in today’s world.”
Paul C. Levy, M.D. (R ’86, FLW ’89), chair of the Medical Center’s Department of Medicine, recalls Dr. Stewart as “one of our community’s most admired clinicians. His attention to detail was unwavering whenever he was working with patients, as well as when he taught us as medical residents.”
William Morgan, M.D., clinical professor emeritus of the Department of Medicine, knew Dr. Stewart as a colleague and a close family friend. Their relationship lasted nearly half a century.
“He was one of the top practicing physicians of his time and was highly thought of as an internist and an educator,” Morgan said.
Dr. Stewart is survived by his wife of 65 years, Natalie; a sister, Janet Hengerer of Slingerlands, N.Y.; four children Nancy (Raymond Terekpa) of Ithaca, N.Y., Jampa M. (Shanti Dechen) of Crestone, Colo., Richard Stewart of Guilford, Vt., and Cynthia Stewart of Boston, Mass.; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Contributions in his memory may be made to the Monroe County Medical Society Scholarship Fund, 132 Allens Creek Road, Rochester, N.Y., 14618.
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