March 2017


James E. Holmblad, MD
December 11, 1921 – February 5, 2017

Dr. James Holmblad, age 95, passed away at his home in the historic Stockade District of Schenectady, New York on February 5, 2017. He was a founding member of SRS. Born in Chicago, IL he attended West Aurora High School (where he played football and ran track), Lake Forest College in Illinois, and attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. His post graduate training in orthopedics was at Cook County Hospital in Chicago with a brief two-year interruption to serve as a US Army flight surgeon. He subsequently trained in a year-long pediatric fellowship at Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital in Schenectady, New York with Dr. William Gazeley who was known for his research on spinal growth and development.

He was present at the founding meeting of SRS and focused his practice on pediatric spine deformities. He volunteered his expertise at outreach clinics in the rural towns of Saranac and Malone in upstate NY and after retiring, continued as a volunteer physician. He served as a Clinical Associate Professor at Albany Medical College and was a mentor to generations of orthopedic trainees. They learned of his gentle and caring ways in the clinic, OR, and accompanied him at outreach clinics. He was loved and appreciated by his patients and was known by his signature bowties.

He owned a local travel agency and from this interest became a world traveler often accompanied on trips with his wife of 71 years. He was an Eagle Scout and remained active in scouting for many years. In his early years, he was active in skiing and boating and in his later years, golfing and curling. He was also a bridge and cribbage player.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his three children, five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He was very proud to be a founding member of SRS and has left his mark in helping to progress scoliosis treatment during its early years.

Obituary written by Allen L. Carl, MD