Dr. James Harry Stephans passed away on Tuesday, September 18, in Green Valley, Ariz. Dr. Stephans was born on November 29, 1935, in Rochester, and grew up in Rushford.
Jim was the eldest son of the late Roy and Beatrice Stephans and brother to Donald and Robert Stephans, who are also deceased. He was valedictorian of his Rushford High School class in 1953 and attended Carleton College, where he majored in Zoology and Chemistry. There, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi and earned both the Noyes Prize and the Reeve Prize, honors given to the highest ranking junior at Carleton. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in Chemistry-Zoology from Carleton in 1957.
Dr. Stephans first entered the field of medicine in neurosurgery, attending Harvard Medical School and graduating with honors in 1961. He completed his internship in general surgery at Stanford University Hospital in California and was the only doctor to earn a three-year residency appointment in neurosurgery at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Mass.
After completing his medical training, Dr. Stephans was appointed as a member of the Permanente Medical Clinic in Martinez, Calif., and from there was appointed to the post of resident surgeon on The Golden Bear, a research ship of the California Maritime Fleet. On The Golden Bear, Dr. Stephans and 60 other scientists traveled to the Galapagos Islands in one of the first modern scientific expeditions since Darwin's famous visit.
Dr. Stephans entered the Army during the Vietnam War, where he served as a neurosurgeon in Nha Trang, Vietnam. Upon his return to the United States, Dr. Stephans chose to return to his Minnesota roots, where he devoted the remainder of his career to psychiatric medicine, specializing in the treatment of mental disorders.
Jim greatly enjoyed traveling and frequently visited other parts of the world, such as China, South America, and Europe, where he was one of the first doctors to ever see the hospitals that existed behind the Iron Curtain. He enjoyed spending time at the family cabins at Big Sandy Lake to water ski, sail, swim, fish, and visit. Upon his retirement, Jim relocated to Green Valley, Ariz. where he enjoyed the sun and the company of his friends.
Jim Stephans is survived by his nieces, Paige Stephans Bota (Cris), Kimberly Stephans (Joe Auty), Tanya Stephans Growe (Russell), his nephew, Ryan Stephans (Michelle), his great-nieces, Tessa and Brynn Stephans and Hannah Growe, and sister-in-law, Judy Stephans (Donald), and former sister-in-law, Linda Greene (Robert).
Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the First Presbyterian Church in Rushford, with visitation one hour prior. Reverend Kristin Rice will officiate. Burial will take place in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Rushford with full military honors provided by the Rushford American Legion.
Please share a memory of Jim with his family and sign his guestbook online at www.hofffuneral.com