Dr. James M. Garrison, Jr., passed away Thursday, Sept. 12, after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday.
A celebration of his life was held Saturday, Sept. 21 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seattle.
James Garrison Jr., a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity graduated with honors from West Virginia State University in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science Degree.
He was designated a Distinguished Military Student and Graduate with a Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Regular Army. His first assignment was at Fort Bragg, NC where he completed the mandatory four years commitment before resigning his commission to enroll at Tufts University Medical School. He earned the degree of Doctorate of Medicine and reentered the U.S. Army as a Medical Officer in the U.S. Army. He continued on Active Duty serving at Ft Lewis, Wash., and Munich, Germany with a final station at Fort Riley, KS. He resigned his Active Duty commission after the death of his beloved wife, Nellie in 1967. He continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserve from which he finally retired as a Colonel 06. He was awarded The Legion of Merit Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Army Reserve Forces Medal.
During his time as an Army Reservist he was appointed the first black officer to command the 50th General Hospital of the U.S. Army Reserve at Ft. Lawton in 1977
Garrison joined Group Health Cooperative in 1969. He had the distinction of being the first black physician hired by Group Health. Within the next 20 years Dr. Garrison rose to become chief of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department and Chief of Staff of the Central Region, serving greater Seattle. During his career as an OB/GYN physician, Dr. Garrison estimated that he delivered more than 6,000 babies.
In 1977 Garrison was awarded the position of Clinical Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Washington, which he held until his death. In 1980 Dr. Garrison was inducted into the West Virginia State University ROTC Hall of Fame, The ROTC Hall of Fame honors graduates of the college ROTC program that have distinguished themselves in military or civilian pursuits.
Garrison was a long time member of the 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry Association which represents and honors the Buffalo Soldiers who originated in Fort Riley, KS.
He was appointed in 1988 by Gov. Mike Lowery to the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission serving as Chairman. He served on the Federation of State Medical Boards and the governing council of Pacific Medical Center.
Garrison is survived by his daughters, Diane and her husband Russell Faria and Alicia Rinehart; his sons, Michael Garrison and David Garrison and his wife Janet Berwick; brother, Melvyn and his wife May Garrison and niece, Sylvia; grandchildren, James M Garrison IV, Joseph Garrison, Jessie Garrison, William Faria and Rachel Faria. Dr. Garrison was preceded in death by his wife Nellie, his son James M Garrison, III and his sister, Sylvia Garrison.