James D. Barger, MD 1917-2002
Former CAP president James D. Barger, MD, died April 3. He was 84.
Dr. Barger, who was CAP president from 1981 to 1983, held numerous
leadership posts at the College, among them vice president, secretary-treasurer,
and governor from 1966 to 1971.
Dr. Barger, a CAP member for more than 50 years, was named CAP
Pathologist of the Year in 1977 and received the ASCP/CAP Joint
Distinguished Service Award in 1985. He also chaired the now defunct
Management Seminar Development and Publications Committee and was
a member of the Commission of Laboratory Inspection and Accreditation
(now the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation). He will be remembered
for his accomplishments in such areas as laboratory inspection,
quality control, blood banking, management, and oncology.
"He was certainly a fascinating man and probably one of the most
influential presidents the College has had," says Paul Bachner,
MD, immediate past president of the CAP.
Retired pathologist and former CAP president Raymond Zastrow,
MD, admired Dr. Barger, a longtime friend and colleague, for his
ability to inspire younger generations. "He was a very good developer
of young talent in the CAP and that legacy continues today," Dr.
Dr. Barger spent the majority of his career at Sunrise Hospital
in Las Vegas, where he began as director of clinical pathology in
1964 and eventually became chairman of the Department of Laboratory
Medicine. He retired from part-time status at the hospital in the
early 1990s. He also taught in the Department of Laboratory Medicine
and Pathology at the University of Nevada at Reno and had numerous
Dr. Barger received his medical degree from the University of
Pennsylvania in 1941. He served as an Army Medical Corps officer
from 1942 to 1946, earning the rank of major. He obtained a master
of science degree in pathology from the Mayo Foundation in 1949.
Throughout his career, Dr. Barger was active in numerous organizations,
including the American Medical Association, American Society of
Clinical Pathologists, Nevada Society of Pathologists, American
Association of Blood Banks, American Cancer Society, and American
Society for Quality Control.
J. Daniel Wilkes, MD, retired chairman of the pathology department
at Sunrise Hospital and a former member of the CAP Board of Governors,
recalls Dr. Barger as a passionate innovator whose medical talents
were matched by his political skills.
"He was just a superb politician. He taught me more about trying
to manage politics than anybody I know," Dr. Wilkes says.
Dr. Barger was a true visionary whose skills and interests extended
beyond medicine and politics, adds Dr. Wilkes. He was an avid track-and-field
enthusiast and an accomplished amateur gourmet cook.
"It’s true that his interests in pathology were paramount in his
life and his contributions were there, but he was one of the most
interesting people that I have ever known," says Dr. Wilkes. "He
was a wonderful friend and I valued his friendship mightily."
Dr. Barger is survived by his son, James D. Jr.; daughters, Mary
Susan and Mary Elizabeth; brother, Michael; and eight grandchildren.
Karen Southwick is a writer in San Francisco.