Dr. James F. King’s gratitude for the medical education he received at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and his pride in Dr. Bruce Bacon’s accomplishments during the past decade prompted him to fund the first endowed chair in gastroenterology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. It is his hope that the chair will enhance the mission and prestige of the division of gastroenterology and hepatology.

James Francis King, a gastroenterologist in Canton, Ohio, frequently has been lauded as one of the best physicians, gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal endoscopists in America.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1957 and his doctorate of medicine from Saint Louis University School of Medicine in 1961. While at Saint Louis University, Dr. King graduated third in his class and was named to Alpha Omega Alpha for his exceptional scholastic achievements. Dr. William Knight Jr., a clinical professor of internal medicine, enlivened Dr. King’s interest in internal medicine and gastroenterology during his year of internship at Firmin Desloge Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Louis City Hospital.

Dr. King’s uncle, Dr. James J. Pagano, a surgeon in Canton, was a 1933 graduate of Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He was an inspiration and role-model for his nephew and provided interest-free loans to Dr. King for the University of Notre Dame and Saint Louis University.

Dr. King completed his residency training in internal medicine and gastroenterology at Western Reserve University Hospital of Cleveland and studied under Dr. Harvey Dworken, Dr. Harold Roth and Dr. Austin Weisberger. He served as lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps from 1966 through He was subsequently an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine for one year before returning to Canton in July 1969.

Dr. King is a fellow in the American College of Physicians and American College of Gastroenterology. He was named a master of the American College of Gastroenterology in October 1998 and was honored in May when he was named a master endoscopist by the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Dr. King has trained more than 30 gastroenterologists and surgeons, the most notable being Dr. Jeffrey Ponsky, past president of ASGE, who developed the percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube and is chief of surgical endoscopy at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. King performed the first colonoscopy in Ohio in 1970 and developed and published the techniques of colonic tattoo with India ink in 1974 with Dr. Ponsky.

In spite of his heavy practice load, Dr. King always has found time to devote to teaching and research, enjoying the company of students, residents and fellows. He was instrumental in developing six residency programs in Canton, and was involved in the recruiting of residency program directors and faculty. He organized the GI section of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine during the early ’70s and chaired the section from 1974 to 1995; he remains an active teaching member of the section. He organized the Akron/Canton Gastroenterology Society and the Northeastern Ohio Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and served as the first president of both for years. He was a visiting professor at many medical schools, including his alma mater, and has lectured at many statewide educational programs throughout the country. He chaired the division of medicine twice, the institutional review committee for six years and chaired or served on many committees of the Stark County Medical Society, Ohio State Medical Association and the Ohio Society of Internal Medicine.

Dr. King served on the board of trustees of Timken Mercy Medical Center for nine years and the Canton Medical Education Foundation for 20 years. He also served on the editorial board and governing board of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy while he was president of the Council of Regional Endoscopic Societies. And he served on many committees of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American College of Gastroenterology.

Dr. King was principal investigator for 37 clinical trials in the treatment of digestive diseases, but his principal research interest is Barrett’s esophagus. He has a detailed computerized registry of more than 160 patients, many followed for 20 to 30 years. He has a special interest in familial Barrett’s esophagus and currently is studying 14 families with multiple affected members, collaborating with the Mayo Clinic and Ohio State University for genomic analysis.

Jim and his wife, Charlene, have been married 41 years. Charlene is a registered nurse who scrubbed in open heart surgery for three years at Firmin Desloge with Dr. C. Rollins Hanlon, Dr. Valee Willman and Dr. Maumee. With three daughters, one son and five grandchildren, she is a busy wife, homemaker and grandmother. Their children have made them quite proud. Kathleen King McCann, born at Desloge, was the 1978 Professional Football Hall of Fame Queen and is now a housewife and mother of three. Valerie is a professional photographer and teacher in Japan. Their son, Jim, is a district manager in retail sales and the father of two. Julie is an elementary schoolteacher in Compton, Calif. as part of Teach for America.

Dr. and Mrs. King have sponsored family scholarship programs at the University of Notre Dame and Central Catholic High School in Canton and have been supporters of St. Michael’s Church, Loyola of the Lakes Jesuit Retreat House and Walsh University. Dr. King enjoys all sports, including deep sea fishing, but especially loves football, golf, tennis and dancing. He has been an avid Notre Dame football fan since age 10. His grandfather, Ralph Hay, was the owner and manager of the world champion Canton Bulldogs from 1919 to 1922. In the showroom of Hay Motors, he organized and chaired the seminal meeting that gave birth to the National Football League on Sept. 17, 1920, in Canton, Ohio.

Dr. King also has devoted considerable time to religious and civic activities. He is on the board of trustees of Walsh University, a Catholic liberal arts university, in North Canton, Ohio, and is chairing the health division of the school's capital campaign. He loves computers, politics, administration, the stock market, practice efficiency systems and especially the humanistic aspects of medicine. His favorite quote is, “You make a living by what you earn, but you make a life by what you give.” Dr. King is proud to be a graduate of Saint. Louis University School of Medicine and hopes this chair augments the academic endeavors of many.