James "Jim" L. Emerson

January 23, 1938May 13, 2021

Dr. James L. “Jim” Emerson, 83, of Atlanta, died May 13, 2021, after a long and courageous battle with Parksinon’s. He was born on January 23, 1938, to George C. Emerson and Ellen Bennett Emerson in Garrett, Indiana. Jim graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1962 and received a Ph.D. in pathology from Purdue University in 1966. He was a Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, and an honorary professor at the Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Kirov State Medical Institute, Kirov, Russia. Jim had a long career in experimental medicine and pharmaceutical development. He was Research Associate Pathologist in Toxicology at Norwich Pharmacal Company, Norwich, New York; Senior Research Specialist, Department of Pathology & Toxicology, Dow Chemical Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, and subsequently, served as Manager of the Department of Pathology at Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, Illinois. Jim worked at The Coca-Cola Company for more than 20 years, where he focused on extending the importance of the Company's scientific programs outside of the Company and promoting science-based risk assessment for regulatory policy formulation working. He retired as Assistant Vice President and Senior Science Fellow, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at The Coca-Cola Company. Upon retirement, he started his own consulting firm, Emerson Consulting International. His broad knowledge of science and ability to work across cultures gave him a unique ability to lead and address complex issues with vision, dedication, passion, and grace. Jim formerly served on the Boards of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, the Flavor Extract and Manufacturing Association, the Calorie Control Council, the Health and Environment Science Institute, and the International Life Sciences Institute North America. In his leisure time, Jim enjoyed family vacations at the beach, being "Papa" to his grandchildren, Ansley and Caede, and holiday gatherings at home. Upon retirement, he loved taking cruises to various ports abroad and Friday night Mexican dinners with Mel and friends. Jim could always be relied upon for a good time and great wine! The family would like to thank Thomas Bartley, Beth Culloty, LaShawna Watkins, and Weinstein Hospice for their kindness while caring for Jim. Dr. Emerson was preceded in death by his parents and sister Marjorie Argerbright. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mel Emerson; Son, Todd Emerson (Meredith); daughters, Kiersten “K.C.” Emerson, Leisel Talley (Ryan); grandchildren, Ansley Emerson, Caede Talley; and nephew, Michael Argerbright. A memorial service will be Monday, May 24, 2021, at 1 o’clock at Sandy Springs United Methodist Church, 86 Mount Vernon Hwy, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. A reception will immediately follow the service at the family residence.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Dr. James L. Emerson Memorial Fund established at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine to support doctoral studies in pathology. Alternatively, donations may be made to the High Museum of Art.

Gifts may be mailed to: College of Veterinary Medicine Attn: Tiffany Connors 1900 Coffey Road Columbus, OH 43210. Checks should be made payable to OSU Foundation, Memo line: 317273 Gifts can also be made online at

Questions may be directed to: 614-688-8433.


  • Memorial Service

    Monday, May 24, 2021


James "Jim" L. Emerson

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Pat Nyetrae

May 24, 2021

Dear Mel and Family,

I am so sorry for your loss. Jim was a kind and generous man whom I truly admired. He embodied that Maya Angelou quote that says something like... people will forget what you said or maybe what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Jim always made me feel valued and included. I had the pleasure of working with him at The Coca-Cola Company for a good number of years, designing his slides for his many speaking engagements around the globe. I will remember his quick laughter and that twinkle in his eye. He was truly one of a kind.

Rossanne Philen

May 20, 2021

Dear Leisel and Family,

My sincerest condolences at the loss of your father. He sounds like such a wonderful person! You were fortunate to have him for so long, and I hope that the loving memories you have give you some measure of peace at his passing.

Rossanne Philen

Melissa Welsh

May 19, 2021

I had the very good fortune of working with Jim at Coke and we had many memorable Coke trips together (we nearly drowned white water rafting in Costa Rica at an SRA meeting and he helped me bargain for jewelry in Nairobi while he was buying something to take home to Mel, even though you'd told him to stop bringing all of this junk home!). I remember him as a bright light in a sea of scientists, full of joy and always full of love for his family. I'm so sorry to learn of his passing.

Balerie crabb

May 19, 2021

I was so saddened to learn of the passing of Jim . Bob respected Jim so much , in the knowledge ,and assistance he gave him.
I know they had good memories of their time together at Coca Cola .sometimes good and sometimes bad!
My sympathy to you all, such a special family .Love ,as always , Val Crabb.🙏

Katie Belew

May 18, 2021

Thinking of your family and sending prayers during this sad time. Jim was such a gentleman. Doug and I hope the knowledge that Jim is now free and with our Lord and Savior brings you comfort.