1938 - 2020

James Hoehn, M.D. (S ’69, PLS ‘71)

Dr. James G. Hoehn, M.D., a prominent, internationally recognized plastic surgeon, quietly passed away at Albany Medical Center on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020, surrounded by his wife, Barbara, son, James Jr., and daughter, Melissa. He was finally at peace after a debilitating struggle with medical complications that defeated his noble efforts to carry on. Jim was a beloved husband, father, and good friend to all who knew him. He led a full life of purpose and was a good leader, with an unending passion for learning and meeting challenges, particularly for the sake of the advancement of plastic surgery. Born in Detroit, Mich. in 1938, he was the son of Vincent Hoehn and Margaret Pallai, who soon moved to South Bend, Ind. He lived there until high school graduation, when he entered Georgetown University as a pre-med student. He went on to Northwestern University Medical School where he met his wife, Barbara, in 1962 and pursued his goal to become a plastic surgeon. He was accepted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he spent four years completing his residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Jim and his family immediately moved to Albany, joining the plastic surgery practice of Dr. Ray Elliott with a specific focus on reconstructive hand surgery. His long-standing commitment to the Albany Medical Center started in 1971. Over the years, he became known as “Big Jim” to all the nurses, doctors, and staff at A.M.C. His stature was sometimes intimidating to those who did not know him, but he respected and listened to all he encountered. He served at the American Society of Plastic Surgery for many years and was president in 1993. Also, he served as president of the American Association of Hand Surgery, the New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the Society of Plastic Surgeons of Upstate New York. He was known as a trailblazer in the field and was an outstanding leader in cultivating the field of plastic surgery. He focused on hand surgery throughout his career and traveled the world to share his knowledge and expertise. Jim also would bring a team of doctors to the Dominican Republic for many years to operate on children with cleft lip palates. He dedicated the last years of his life to the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center. Not to be ignored are several interests that kept him fully involved. First and foremost was his love of Jaguars, the pleasure of working on them, driving them, even to writing the book, The Illustrated Buyers Guide to Jaguars. Jim was an avid reader, preferably historical books, loved Jeopardy, the New York Times crossword puzzles as well as the funnies, and maintained an extensive stamp collection. He was a member and had leadership positions at many local organizations such as the N.Y.S. Archives Partnership Trust, Historic Cherry Hill, and the Saratoga Automobile Museum. As a devout Catholic, he was a parishioner of St. Pius X Church, St. Mary’s Church, and a 25-year member of the Knights of Malta. He gave his time and treasures to many local charities, including the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Albany Academies, the Community Foundation, and SPAC. He enjoyed many a fun time at the Fort Orange Club and Schuyler Meadows Club with good friends and family. As a long-time supporter of the Capital Repertory Theater, he always enjoyed a good show. He loved good food, wine, and a good gin martini. Jim is survived by his wife, Barbara; son, James Jr. (Erin); daughter, Melissa Nigro (Frank III); and grandchildren, James Hoehn III, Madison Hoehn, Frank Nigro IV, William Nigro, and Rowan Hoehn. Due to the current social restrictions of COVID-19, the burial will be private in the Albany Rural Cemetery. There will be a memorial service when the pandemic subsides. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the James G. Hoehn, MD Fund for Plastic Surgery, Albany Medical Center, 43 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY, 12208 in honor of his dedication to the field of Plastic and Reconstructive Hand Surgery.