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James B. Wade ’53

August 13, 2021, in Hood River, Oregon.

Born in Pocatello, Idaho, Jim was the youngest by 11 years of three children. His father was in the insurance business and the family moved a lot. Growing up, Jim lived in Tacoma, Bellingham, Spokane, and Seattle. When he was 10, he traveled alone by train to spend the summer on his brother’s sheep ranch in Montana and was left in the care of his brother’s father-in-law. He lived in a sheep wagon with no running water or electricity while his brother and sister-in-law performed as professional skaters in Cincinnati for the summer.

Jim’s family was of very modest means, which was complicated by the near death of his father from pancreatitis when Jim was 11. He began delivering newspapers, getting up at 4 a.m. every day to deliver the Seattle PI before school, a job that continued through high school. Even at Reed, Jim worked a paper route to supplement the income he received from working in the college’s boiler room to pay tuition.

In the eighth grade, he met Art Ratcliffe, who became his best friend and eventually his brother-in-law when the two married twin sisters. During spring break of his first year at Reed, Jim met Jacqueline Frost, a senior at the University of Washington, on a blind date set up by her identical twin sister, Jill, and her boyfriend, Art. Jim and Jackie hit it off and were married a year later.

He went on to medical school at the University of Washington. During his senior year, he joined the U.S. Navy and welcomed his first child, Vernon, into the world. Upon graduation from UW Medical School, he moved to San Diego for a medical internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital and then to Bethesda, Maryland, where he took an intensive course in psychiatry. Second Lieutenant Dr. James B. Wade was eventually stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago to do psychiatric screening of new recruits. His second son, David, was born in Waukegan, Illinois. Jim transferred to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, where he practiced psychiatry until 1961, when his naval service ended. He took a general practice residency in Martinez, California, where his third son, Andrew, was born.

He was invited to join a family practice in Hood River, Oregon, where he took up residency and also worked as the county’s medical examiner. During the 30 years he practiced medicine in Hood River, Jim learned Spanish so he might better serve the many Hispanic families in the county, and willingly bartered with anyone unable to pay in cash. He was presented with an award from Radio Tierra thanking him for his many years of service to the Latinx community. Jim was instrumental in establishing a hospice program in Hood River, and served as the first medical director for Hospice of the Gorge until 2000, eight years after he’d retired from his medical practice.

He started the Hood River Yacht Club, served as Hood River port commissioner, and was active with his boys in Boy Scouts. Avid world travelers, he and Jackie visited 53 countries. They also sailed, were enthusiastic skiers, and were long-time members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. They later became active at Riverside Community Church, where Jim sang in the choir. He loved to sing and would burst into song at the slightest encouragement. Jim is survived by his wife, Jackie, and his sons, Vernon, David, and Andrew.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2022

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