Dr John Harries Maxwell James, 1928–2022

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 64, No. 10, December 2022, Pages 435-436 Obituaries

Dr John Harries Maxwell James

John sadly left this world on 2 October, very peacefully, after a short illness. He will be greatly mourned by his wife, Anne; sons, Richard (Joanna) and Edward (Nicole); daughters, Angela, Catherine (Gary), and Jacqueline (John); and 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife, Jennifer, and his surgeon son, David.

He was a proud Welshman, leaving the family farm at age 17 to study medicine at St. Mary’s in London at the end of the Second World War. He often recounted the story of a V-bomb landing at the end of the street when he went down for his interview in 1945. One of his teachers was Sir Alexander Fleming of penicillin fame.

After completing his national service in the Royal Air Force, John worked as a GP in New Forest, Hampshire, where he was instrumental in establishing one of the first health centres in the country (essentially the precursor of the primary care networks that BC health authorities are now trying to establish).

He became part of the “brain drain” in 1973 and, after successfully negotiating the LMCC, managed to join a well-established group practice in Oakridge, Vancouver, where he stayed for 20 years. He was on staff at Vancouver General Hospital and did many deliveries at the old Grace Hospital. He loved medicine, and many of his patients became friends. He worked until the age of 80 and even then was reluctant to retire! The latter years of his career were spent locuming.

John especially enjoyed his time in Port Alice and Sechelt, where he had a cabin on the seashore and a boat. He loved life and was an eternal optimist as well as being a great joke teller. He embraced life in BC to the fullest. His passions were boating; gardening; his winter getaway to Mismaloya, Mexico; and, true to his Welsh roots, music, family, and rugby.

He will be greatly missed—he was one of a kind, truly an all-rounder.
—Richard James, MD


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Richard James, MD. Dr John Harries Maxwell James, 1928–2022. BCMJ, Vol. 64, No. 10, December, 2022, Page(s) 435-436 - Obituaries.

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