Joseph James Baum II
March 18, 1939 – June 7, 2021
On June 7th, 2021, Joseph James Baum II, MD, 82, beloved father, grandfather, and physician, passed away at his home in Raleigh, NC.
He will be missed by his children, Joseph James Baum, III, of Marshalltown, Iowa, Stephan F. Baum, MD (Sherri) of Hillsborough, NC, David C. Baum of Sanford, NC, Lisa Baum Betts (Tim) of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren, Adam Betts, Jarod Betts, Chelsey Baum, Mary Baum, and great-grandson Ayden Nackoul as well as by his many friends in the Floyd, VA area where he lived for almost 40 years until his move to Raleigh, NC last Fall to be closer to family.
The son of Joseph James Baum, Sr. and Harriett Liddy Baum, Joe was born in Manchester, Iowa. He was educated in the local schools and graduated from Loras College and the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Joe joined the Air Force after medical school and completed his internship at US Air Force Hospital Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas where he then served as a flight surgeon. Joe was board certified in Family Medicine as well as Emergency Medicine and served for 55 years in clinical practice. He spent the last years of his career as a family doctor in the Floyd, VA area until his retirement in December 2018. Joe had an exciting and varied professional career having practiced emergency and family medicine in six different states and teaching at five separate medical schools. In the 1970s, he was the only physician in a remote 100-bed hospital in Liberia, West Africa. Joe moved to Southwest Virginia in 1982 and was a founder of the first of the Tri-Area Health Clinics in Laurel Fork, Virginia, specializing in providing care to low income patients. Among his many awards for teaching and clinical work, Joe was most recently honored by the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians by being named Family Physician of the Year in 2020.
Joe was an old-fashioned physician and beloved by his patients. He was known in the community for generously giving of his time, outside of his office hours, to anyone in need and served countless patients who could not otherwise afford medical care. He made many house calls over the years and also saw patients in his own home. It was common for Joe to come home with a bushel of apples given to him as bartered payment for his help, though mostly, he refused payment of any kind and instead would leave patients with a bracelet inscribed with “Pay It Forward.” He enjoyed nothing more than taking care of anyone in need, and his personality was unpretentious, generous, caring, and full of humor.
Per Joe’s request there will not be a formal service. In the spirit of Joe’s giving nature and the joy he felt when doing for others, in lieu of flowers, the family suggests that the best tribute to him would be to do something helpful and kind for someone else.