James E. Garvin

December 21, 1920 - October 28, 2012

James E. Garvin

December 21, 1920 - October 28, 2012


James E. Garvin died peacefully of pneumonia on Sunday, October 28, 2012 at the Vining Villa in Bellingham, WA. He was born December 21, 1920 in Seattle, to John P. Garvin and Edna Hayes Garvin.

He attended ODea High School in Seattle, entered Seattle College then transferred to the University of Washington, graduating in1943. He got his MD from Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago in 1946 in an accelerated wartime program. During WWII he served as the chief medical officer of the Clinton County Army Airbase in Ohio. After the war, he went back to school, receiving his PhD in Biochemistry from Harvard University Medical School in 1955.

He married Lidia Alkalay Garvin in 1956 and adored her for the 51 years of their marriage. They moved to the Chicago area, living in Wilmette and Winnetka until moving to Bellingham in 1991. They had two daughters, Ann Elizabeth (Ben Silver) of Brooklyn, NY, and Grace Rosemary (deceased; Bruce Guthrie) of Bellingham. He was a devoted and nurturing husband and father, and considerate and loving to his many friends.

In 1956 he took a job teaching biochemistry to medical and nursing students at Northwestern University Medical School, where he was known for dedication and brilliance both in the classroom and in the laboratory for 32 years. He conducted important biochemical research, including pioneering work on the adhesion properties of human blood cells, and on the effects of dietary fiber on serum cholesterol. In retirement, he volunteered with the Bellingham chapter of Us Too!, a prostate cancer support group, and served on its steering committee in the 1990s.

He is survived by his sister Mary Jane Burns of Seattle, his daughter Ann Garvin, sons-in-law Bruce Guthrie and Ben Silver, his grandson Gabriel Garvin Silver, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his daughter Grace in 2005 and wife Lidia in 2007, and by his sister, Marjorie Garvin Rouke.

He loved science, poetry, mathematics, art, nature, good conversation and his family, and was actively engaged with the people around him and the world of ideas until his final days. He improved many lives and will be greatly missed.

The family wishes to thank the kind staff at Merrill Gardens and Bellingham Health Care, and especially Dr. Richard McClenahan, John Jordy, and Vining Villa, for his care. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (PO Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486).

A memorial gathering will be held on Sunday, November 11th in Seattle. For more information or to contact his daughter, please email her at jegmemorial@pobox.com.

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10 responses to James E. Garvin

  1. Ann, Ben and Gabriel, I’m so sorry for your loss. Uncle Jim was a wonderful and funny man, he’ll be missed. I’m sending my thoughts to Washington to be with you all at the memorial. Elizabeth

  2. Ann,Gabriel, Ben…. Blessings to your father on his journey and blessings to you each. Ann, you steadfast love and commitment to your father, everyone I know who you love, touches and inspires me. Ken

  3. Dear Ann, Condolences to you and your family on your Father’s passing. Jim and Lidia were bright lights in our neighborhood. They are missed, but left us with many happy memories. Chris and George Gerhold

  4. Jim Clark says:

    Ann, my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your father. His spirit, as well as his memory, will live on through you and your family. With all my love, Jim

  5. Ann says:

    Welcome to our virtual memorial. Please feel free to leave public comments here, and also to send me private messages at the e-mail address next to my name on this post.
    Thank you, -Ann

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