James Wyatt Bawden passed away on June 23, 2011 at the age of 81 years. Jim was born on April 23, 1930, in St. Louis, Mo. He was the son of Lee and Rose Bawden. The family moved to Clear Lake when Jim was very young to operate the Lakeshore Hotel. Jim grew up in Clear Lake and treasured the memories of his childhood on the lake, even
the ones working at the family’s hotel. In addition to his parents, Jim was predeceased by an older brother, Billy, who died very early in life. Although tabbed earlier in a school in St. Louis as a “steady worker” instead of the more talented “busy bee,” Jim excelled academically and graduated as valedictorian of his high school class.
Jim furthered his education at the University of Iowa. After receiving his DDS degree in the School of Dentistry, Jim served his country as a Dental Officer in the U.S. Navy. He was stationed in Japan during the Korean War. This was the beginning of his lifelong love for Japan, which he revisited subsequently on many occasions. Upon his discharge from the Navy, Jim opened a dental practice in Glenwood Springs, Colo. and maintained that practice for two years. He often talked about the cowboys and the Franciscan monks who were some of his favorite patients.
Although Jim enjoyed private practice (and the skiing in Colorado), he felt that his true professional calling was at a different level. He returned to school at the University of Iowa and earned his Masters degree in Pediatric Dentistry and a PhD in Physiology. This was the beginning of his academic career, most of which was spent at the University of North Carolina. He served on the faculty at UNC School of Dentistry for 39 years, serving in several administrative positions, including the deanship of that school for almost eight years and as assistant dean for research at three different times. Jim fulfilled his administrative roles admirably and was a dynamic leader in a period of significant growth at the School of Dentistry as it moved to become a nationally ranked institution in dental research. Jim was uniquely successful in obtaining research funding and carried out a significant research program in the areas of enamel formation and in mechanisms of fluoride uptake into tooth enamel. His research interests were shared by many researchers but especially by scientists in Sweden and Japan. Jim enjoyed many research collaborations and lifelong friendships with individuals in both of those countries. He lived in Sweden while on sabbatical research leaves at two different times in his career.
Jim provided patient care for many years in the Dental Faculty Practice at UNC and has talked fondly of many of the patients that he treated during that time. Most of all, though, Jim enjoyed the students that he worked with over the years. He was an excellent clinician and researcher and liked teaching at all levels. He especially looked forward to each new class of graduate students entering the Pediatric Dentistry Master of Science Program and served as a mentor for many of these students as they completed their research requirements in the program. He liked students, enjoyed interacting with them at all levels and he always had great respect for their abilities and accomplishments.
It is impossible to recite all of Jim’s accomplishments in a limited space, but he had a long and illustrious career, received numerous awards and published numerous research articles, books, and book chapters. Most importantly, he did what he loved and enjoyed all of it.
Jim is survived by his wife, Joyce W. Jenzano; his children, Steve and Margaret, Brookline, Mass., Mike and Meliene, Raleigh, N.C., Tim and Nancy, Chapel Hill, N.C., David and Robin, Chapel Hill, and Becky and David, Matthews, N.C.; and his step-children, Tony and Stephanie, Durham, N.C. and Jarrod and Janine, Hurdle Milles, N.C. In addition, Jim has 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Jim cared passionately for his family and always took great joy in being with them and in sharing in their lives.
Family visitation is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Walkers Funeral Home in Chapel Hill. A memorial service and reception on the UNC campus will occur at a place and time to be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Durham Rescue Mission, the American Heart Association or to a favorite charity.
Walker’s Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is assisting the Bawden family.