James J. Stagnone ’55 died January 5, 2015, in Lowell, Massachusetts.
(The following appeared in the Lowell Sun, January 15, 2015.)
James J. Stagnone, MD, passed away on January 5, 2015, at the age of 82. He was born in Lowell, MA on Sept. 23, 1932, the third of five sons to parents Joseph and Helen (Finnegan) Stagnone. Jim lived most of his life in Albuquerque, NM where he practiced dermatology from 1969 to 1994. He was a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of New Mexico Medical School, where each of his four sons also graduated. He devoted his medical skills and vast experience to the teaching of medical students and residents and, upon retirement, he donated his medical building to the UNM Department of Dermatology. The James J. Stagnone MD Building is now home to the Department of Dermatology and provides clinical space for the Division of Plastic Surgery at UNM.
Jim was a scholar, athlete and renaissance man and excelled at every goal he set. He was the president of his high school class, captain of his high school football team and president of his fraternity at Bowdoin, where he also played football as a pre-medical student. He went on to Yale for medical school, graduating in 1959 and later joined the United States Army for a professional career in active military service until 1969 and then continued his service in the United States Army Reserves for another ten years, where he retired as a full Colonel. Although a scholar and passionate lover of people, travel and the finer things in life, his greatest happiness came from his family and their shared love of the great outdoors. He ran numerous marathons and “collected” trophies in golf and skiing. He was a member of the Albuquerque Country Club for over 30 years where he forged countless friendships and enjoyed a wonderful celebration at the end of his medical career. Upon his retirement from his daily medical practice in 1994, he moved to his beloved Taos each winter where, as a Certified Phase II Instructor, he taught skiing for the sheer love of people, sport and the joy of giving to others. This continued until 2004 when time began to catch up and overtake his ability to conquer the mountain. During his entire time with the ski school, he continued to provide medical care free to all he could help.
Once the reality of Parkinson’s disease could no longer be ignored, Jim moved to Olympia, WA, to be near three of his sons, David (Dave) a physician specializing in Radiology in Olympia, WA, Edward (Ted) an Engineer with Daimler in Portland, OR, and James Jr. (Jay), an engineer with Hewlett Packard in White Salmon, WA. His fourth son, Gregory (Greg) is a plastic surgeon in Dallas, TX. Jim was a best friend and cherished mentor to each of his sons. As one of five children, and himself having four sons of his own, his survivors include a nearly countless number of cousins, nieces, nephews and “grandpeople” but most closely include his sons, Jay, Greg, Ted and Dave, daughters-in-law Ellen, Misty and Karen, his grandchildren, Nick, Kaitlyn, Natalie, Caleigh and Caiden; and his brothers, Dan, Lou, Joe and Frank. Jim’s family began missing him as Parkinson’s disease slowly took away his participation in the life he so embraced. They now let go with love, thanks and true appreciation for the lessons in kindness, the support and the loving guidance he shared with so many in his 82 years of a life truly well lived.
He also had two awesome step children named Alexandra and Robert, whom he raised since they were 6 and 7 into adulthood, and a loving partner named Jane who cared for him dearly.