James Stinnett

Obituary of James L. Stinnett

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Dr. James L. Stinnett passed away in his home in Yardley, PA on April 6, 2023, from complications related to Multiple Myeloma. Born on August 1, 1938, in Washington, DC to Harry Caskie Stinnett and F. LeBaron Coleman, he graduated from Princeton University in 1960 where he often returned for the annual "P-rade", sporting his Princeton colors. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, after which he served in the U.S. Army achieving the rank of Captain and receiving the Distinguished Service Award. In 1972, James joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty as a Professor of Psychiatry, and in 1978, he was appointed Director of Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry, serving until 2005. He held many leadership roles in the Penn Medicine community, including Director of Clinical Services in the Department of Psychiatry, Chairman of the Medical Board, Acting Director of Clinical Practices, and Acting Vice Dean of Clinical Affairs. During his career, he received numerous accolades, awards and honors including the I.S. Ravdin Master Clinician Award from the University of Pennsylvania Health System and the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society's "Practitioner of the Year" award. His clinical excellence was recognized both regionally and nationally and he was designated a "Top Doc" by Philadelphia Magazine and recognized by Best Doctors in America many times over. He was recognized with the Resident Teaching Award from the Department of Psychiatry for multiple years and received the Penn Pearl Teaching Award from the School of Medicine as well as the Lindback Award for distinguished teaching and the Albert Stunkard Faculty Recognition Award. Both during his career and after his retirement, he was an invaluable resource and respected teacher and colleague, highly regarded for his wisdom and compassion. Former students note that "many decades of Penn medical students, residents, and faculty are better physicians because of him" and that "he taught hundreds of residents, many of whom went on to share the lessons he taught with hundreds more." As one former student noted, "He was my most influential teacher, and 23 years later, I still consider 'what Stinnett would say or do' on a regular basis in my practice." Another former resident noted that when faced with a difficult situation, "I could feel myself heating up inside, then remember to take a 'Stinnett moment'." He loved travel and was fortunate to be able to take many trips to destinations both near and far with Carol, his wife of more than 30 years. One of his favorite places was the family home on Hamloaf Island off the coast of Harpswell, Maine where he enjoyed many summers with family and friends kayaking, swimming, sailing and "heavy gaping" from the deck overlooking Casco Bay. He enjoyed walking his beloved dog, Morrison, along the Delaware River canal and photographing the scenery there, reading and sharing books and keeping track of the weather. He was an avid Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers fan, in that order. He is survived by his wife, Carol Anderson Stinnett, his three sons Jonathan Stinnett and his wife Kelly of New York City, David Stinnett and his wife Teresa Synn of St. David's, PA, Nathaniel Stinnett and his wife Melanie Wachtel Stinnett of Boston, his stepdaughter Rachel Forrest of Belize and her husband James Chiavaroli, and by his grandchildren, Avalon, James, Skye, Aaron and Olivia and his sisters Karen Gelband of Florida and Savannah Lewis of Alaska. He is fondly remembered by the many family members, friends and colleagues who knew and loved him. A private celebration of life gathering will be held at a future date. Memorial contributions can be made to The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (www.themmrf.org) or Doctors Without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org). Arrangements are under the care of the FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home 17 S. Delaware Ave. Yardley, PA, 19067. Condolences for the family can be left at www.fitzgeraldsommerfuneralhome.com. "What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." - Helen Keller
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