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James Cather

Dr. James (Jim) Cather

March 17, 1931 July 26, 2019

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Obituary for Dr. James (Jim) Cather

Dr. James (Jim) Cather was well-loved by his family, friends and students. Born in Carthage, MO, he is preceded by his parents, John Ward Sr. and Liza Jane Cather; and his brother, John Ward Cather, Jr.Jim was raised in Dallas, TX. After high school, he was in active duty with the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserves between 1948 and 1958. In 1951, he was married to his wife, Jane, who he met in high school. They recently celebrated their 68th anniversary.Jim attended Southern Methodist University where he earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in embryology in 1954 and 1955, respectively. Soon thereafter, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in radiation effects on cell division from Emory University. In 1958, Jim started his career at the University of Michigan in the area of biological science. He became a full professor in 1973 and served in this capacity for 22 years until attaining emeritus status in 1996. He received the Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in 1964 and an Upjohn Faculty Fellowship in 1965. During his tenure at the university, Jim held many roles including associate chairman of the Division of Biological Sciences, associate dean of the College of Literature, Science and Arts, and director of the Office of International Programs. Jim loved to travel and had the opportunity to reside with his family in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Bermuda, the Netherlands, France and Oregon.Once retired, Jim and Jane continued to travel the world over. He loved his greenhouse and was a dedicated member of the American Orchid Society. He loved woodworking, sailing, listening to classical music, reading the New York Times and walking his beloved dogs. Jim is survived by his wife, Jane; his daughter, Alicia (Kalamazoo, MI); his son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Katie (Spring Lake, MI); as well as five grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

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