James Metcalfe

Metcalfe—James Metcalfe, 93, on January 8, 2016, in Portland, Ore. Jim was born on August 16, 1922, in New Bedford, Mass., to Georgia and James Metcalfe. He graduated from Brown University and received his MD degree from Harvard. After his residency in Internal Medicine at what is now Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, he taught at Harvard Medical School, rising quickly to assistant professor and concurrently holding positions as associate at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and chief of medicine at Women’s Lying-in Hospital. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from 1942 to 1949.

In 1961 he became the first professor of cardiovascular research at Oregon Health and Science University (OSHU), then University of Oregon Medical School, where he established the Heart Research Laboratory. Especially interested in pregnancy’s effect on the expectant mother and fetus, he made seminal contributions from studying these effects in animals ranging from spiny anteaters to pygmy goats to elephants. He received many awards, including the American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award (1972), the Alexander von Humboldt Award (1976), and the American Heart Association Outstanding Service Award (1982).

After retiring from OHSU in 1986, he was chief of staff in Veterans Administration Hospital’s Extended Care Division in Vancouver, Wash., retiring in 1993. In 2010 OHSU’s Cardiovascular Division established a named lectureship in his honor, which in 2014 became an endowed chair, and he was made professor emeritus in 2011.

In retirement he devoted his abundant energies to the cause of global warming, peace, and social justice. He was clerk of Multnomah Meeting in Portland, Ore., a member of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee, and founder of the meeting’s Global Coolers group. Each Sunday, he and his wife, Audrey, prepared and served hot dogs for the homeless in downtown Portland. He regularly joined antiwar demonstrations, helping carry the meeting’s large banner, which he had made.

He had a lifelong love of horticulture and focused on the hybridizing of hellebores. He and Audrey started Honeyhill Farms Nursery and introduced the named hybrid Honeyhill Joy. They also kept bees and at Christmas gave beeswax candles from their hives. An inspiration to all who knew him, he was a distinguished and honored teacher, mentor, doctor, researcher, environmentalist, and social and peace activist. He is remembered for his patience, interest, devotion to discovery, and inquisitive intellect. Answers (and next questions) inspired him. An eternal optimist, he believed the best in people needed only to be found.

Jim was predeceased by his first wife, Cynthia, and their oldest son, Philip. He is survived by his wife, Audrey Newcomer Metcalfe; his children, Amy Ross Metcalfe (widow of Philip), James Metcalfe (Lisa), Duncan Metcalfe (Frances), and Susan Metcalfe Carrillo (Rick); Audrey’s children and their families, Linnaea Basden, Matthew Booth, and Chytra Brown (Craig); five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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