James Thomas Robertson, M.D.
April 5, 1931 – June 30, 2019
James Thomas Robertson, M.D., Age 88, of Asheville, NC, died on June 30, 2019 in Memphis, TN. He was born April 5, 1931 in McComb, MS to his parents Clyde Aubrey Robertson and Roberta Darville Robertson and was the eldest of four children. His siblings include Clyde Darville Robertson (predeceased), Kathryn Robertson Stoltz of Pearl River, LA, and Jon Hobson Robertson, M.D. of Memphis, TN. He graduated as co-salutatorian of Messick High School, Memphis, TN, and attended two years at Southwestern University (now Rhodes College), Memphis, TN. He completed medical school at University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, TN in 1954, followed by a residency in Neurosurgery at Semmes Murphy Clinic, Memphis, TN.
Dr. Robertson was a retired neurosurgeon and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, TN. He was Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery for 25 years and trained over 50 neurosurgeons. He was very active in organized neurosurgery, serving as President and Founder of the Society of University Neurosurgeons and President of the Congress of Neurosurgeons, the Academy of Neurosurgeons, and The American Association of Neurosurgery. He was a member and subsequent Chairman of the Residency Review Committee of Neurosurgery, Vice Chairman of The Society of Neurosurgeons and the American Board of Neurosurgery. He was active in clinical research and held grants in stroke research from the Neurological Institute of the National Institutes of Health, serving on the Advisory Council from 1984-1988. He published over 300 scientific papers on various neurosurgical topics, was a member of several scientific journals’ editorial boards, and participated in clinical research protocols on strokes and brain tumors at the National Institutes of Health. He was an active member of the state chapter and national American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons. In Memphis, he was Chief of Neurosurgery at Baptist Memorial Hospital and Elvis Presley Trauma Center.
Dr. Robertson served in the United States Air Force from 1956-1964 as Chief of Neurosurgery at Travis Air Force Base, CA and Assistant Chief at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, where he was discharged as Major. In 1989 he joined the Navy Medical Reserve and retired as Captain in 2003. He was on active duty briefly in the First Gulf War.
He was a member of The University Club, Memphis Wine & Food Society, and Commanderie de Bordeaux.
The Robertson Family were members of Evergreen Presbyterian Church for 50 years. Later in his life, Dr. Robertson became a member of St. Giles’ Chapel at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community in Asheville, NC.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years Valeria Brower Robertson of Asheville, NC; and their five children: James Thomas Robertson, Jr. of Asheville, NC (Anna), Elizabeth Robertson Morris of Olive Branch, MS (David), Clay Darville Robertson of Hendersonville, NC, Roberta Robertson Beach of Nashville, TN (Clay), and Daniel Payne Robertson, M.D. of Ocala, FL. He was predeceased by his daughter Catherine Robertson Newman of Olive Branch, MS. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren: Anne M. Fairey (Chris) of Memphis, TN; Elizabeth M. Bass (Jesse) of Olive Branch, MS; James T. Newman of Jacksonville, FL; The Rev. Robert T. Newman of Fayetteville, NC; Kathryn E. Beach of Chicago, IL; Leigh T. Robertson of Columbus, SC; T. Carl Robertson of Asheville, NC; Henry T. Beach of Nashville, TN; Lauren F. Robertson of Miami, FL; Payne D. Robertson of Columbus, SC; Alison W. Robertson. of Ocala, FL; and Emily C. Beach of Nashville, TN; and six great grandchildren: Alice C. Fairey; Emma R. Fairey, Elizabeth (Betsy) B. Bass, Eleanor A. Bass, George T. Fairey, and Clara L. Bass.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, July 6, 2019 from 1 pm to 3 pm followed by a memorial service at 3 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 1455 McIngvale Rd., Hernando, MS 38632.
The family asks that any memorials be sent to St. Giles’ Chapel, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, 1677 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NC 28803.
- Valeria Brower Robertson, Wife
- James Thomas Robertson, Jr. (Anna), Child
- Elizabeth Robertson Morris (David), Child
- Clay Darville Robertson, Child
- Roberta Robertson Beach (Clay), Child
- Daniel Payne Robertson, M.D., Child
- Anne M. Fairey (Chris), Grandchild
- Elizabeth M. Bass (Jesse), Grandchild
- James T. Newman, Grandchild
- The Rev. Robert T. Newman, Grandchild
- Kathryn E. Beach, Grandchild
- Leigh T. Robertson, Grandchild
- T. Carl Robertson, Grandchild
- Henry T. Beach, Grandchild
- Lauren F. Robertson, Grandchild
- Payne D. Robertson, Grandchild
- Alison W. Robertson, Grandchild
- Emily C. Beach, Grandchild
- Alice C. Fairey, Great Grandchild
- Emma R. Fairey, Great Grandchild
- Elizabeth "Betsy" B. Bass, Great Grandchild
- Eleanor A. Bass, Great Grandchild
- George T. Fairey, Great Grandchild
- Clara L. Bass, Great Grandchild
- He was predeceased by his daughter Catherine Robertson Newman of Olive Branch, MS.
- St. Giles’ Chapel, Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, 1677 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NC 28803
- Visitation Saturday, July 6, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, July 6, 2019