Category Archives: In Memoriam

ECU mourns the loss of professor, intervention cardiology pioneer

The East Carolina University and Brody School of Medicine community is mourning the loss of longtime faculty member and renowned interventional cardiologist Dr. Joseph Babb, who died in a car accident Thursday.

Dr. Joseph Babb

Dr. Joseph Babb

He was 79 years old.

Babb, a clinical professor in Brody’s Division of Cardiology, joined ECU’s faculty in 1995 and served in several capacities in addition to his professorship, including as director of the medical school’s cardiac catheterization laboratories and as program director for the cardiovascular diseases and interventional cardiology fellowships.

The day after learning of his death, students and colleagues remembered his kind manner and love of sharing his knowledge with students.

Brody nephrology professor Dr. MJ Barchman worked alongside and cared for many patients together with Babb for nearly 25 years.

“Dr. Babb was the epitome of a ‘gentleman and a scholar,’” Barchman said. “He was a highly competent cardiologist, patient teacher and a very kind man. To say he will be missed is a huge understatement.”

Dr. Susan Schmidt, Brody’s associate dean for student affairs, echoed Babb’s impact as an educator, calling him “a long-time student favorite” who represented “the best of ECU Physicians and our Brody faculty.”

Babb, a clinical professor in Brody’s Division of Cardiology, graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore in 1966. He went on to complete an internship, residency and fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston.

According to the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), Babb served in Vietnam and at Walter Reed Hospital as a member of the U.S. Army Medical Corps from 1968 to 1972.

In 1981, while an assistant professor of Medicine and Cardiologist at the Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical Center, Babb reportedly conducted the first coronary angioplasty at Hershey. He later also became the first to perform that procedure in the state of Connecticut while serving as chief of cardiology at Bridgeport Hospital.

Babb joined ECU’s faculty in 1995 and served in several capacities in addition to his professorship, including as director of the medical school’s cardiac catheterization laboratories and as program director for the cardiovascular diseases and interventional cardiology fellowships.

Throughout his five decades in medicine, Babb was bestowed countless awards and honors.

He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions in 2005, was a past governor of the American College of Cardiology from Connecticut and North Carolina, and was elected by his colleagues a Master of the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions in 2014. He was also a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the Council for Clinical Cardiology of the American Heart Association, as well as a past SCAI president.

“Joe Babb was literally the best of the best. The best doctor and the best patient advocate I’ve ever known,” Norm Linsky, SCAI’s executive director from 2001–2015, said in a release. “When he spoke, he commanded the respect of everyone in the room. He knew that he was not advocating for doctors, rather for patient care, patients’ access to care, and a physician’s ability to do what is right for their patients.”

On Sept. 5, the day before his death, the exclusive medical society, Patient Preferred Physicians and Practitioners, announced that Babb had been meritoriously named 2018’s “Patient Preferred Interventional Cardiologist” for the state of North Carolina for his “dedication and excellence in patient care.”

Brody nephrology professor Dr. MJ Barchman worked alongside and cared for many patients together with Babb for nearly 25 years.

“Dr. Babb was the epitome of a ‘gentleman and a scholar,’” Barchman said. “He was a highly competent cardiologist, patient teacher and a very kind man. To say he will be missed is a huge understatement.”

Dr. Susan Schmidt, Brody’s associate dean for student affairs, echoed Babb’s impact as an educator, calling him “a long-time student favorite” who represented “the best of ECU Physicians and our Brody faculty.”

Babb’s students went out of their way to share fond memories of him and thoughts for his family upon hearing of his passing.

“I had the privilege of learning from Dr. Babb during the EKG course this past spring. He shared with us his light sense of humor and passion for teaching during every class session,” said Frank Jefferson, a fourth-year medical student. “My heart aches for his family. Dr. Babb’s memory will live on through the knowledge that he bestowed upon myself and countless other students as we use it to care for our patients.”

Dr. Mark Iannettoni, chair of Brody’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, said Babb was “a pioneer and an icon in the field of intervention cardiology.”

“He was a master technician and clinician who regarded his most important responsibilities were his patients, advancing the academic mission of the institution and preparing the next generation of cardiologists to carry on these missions,” Iannettoni said. “His kind and gentle spirit, and concern for his colleagues is the most important lesson he taught us and the biggest loss for the department. We can only hope to be the person Joe Babb was.”

 

-by Rob Spahr, University Communications

After wife’s death, professor creates nursing scholarship in her name

Dr. Tom Irons keeps a voicemail on his phone of his wife laughing. It’s just a short giggle in an otherwise mundane message, but her laugh is one of the many things he adored about her.

When she passed away unexpectedly in May 2016, Irons struggled not only with the shock of her death, but how to keep her memory alive.

Dr. Tom Irons with his wife, Carol

Dr. Tom Irons with his wife, Carol (Contributed photos)

Here was a woman who lived life so fully, who was so strong and vivacious. Carol Irons loved music, theater and Pirate athletic events. She laughed loudly and often and was not afraid to use colorful language. She was a fierce friend, a devoted mother and an empathetic and accomplished nurse. She was outspoken about social injustices and equality and was an advocate of women’s and children’s health.

“She really knew how to take care of other people,” Irons said.

He decided to create a scholarship in Carol’s name for Honors College students who are interested in women’s and children’s health, show commitment to service and demonstrate financial need.

“I think the primary reason I chose to do this with the support of my children was that I wanted the things she stood for to continue. To have something in her name that would give aspiring nurses the opportunity to enhance and fund their education,” he said.

Irons is a professor of pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine, director of ECU’s generalist physician program and associate vice chancellor for regional health services. He is a Greenville native who returned home in 1981 to join the faculty at Brody. After he and Carol raised three children, Carol went back to school to get her master’s degree in nursing from ECU and later joined the faculty as well. Both of their sons, Tom Jr. and James, graduated from ECU. Their daughter, Sarah, did not attend ECU but is a physician like her father.

Nurses are uniquely prepared to cultivate their empathy, and Carol was good at it, whether it was opening their home to neighborhood children and strangers in need or deciding at age 60 to go to Africa and start a health clinic in Zambia. To her core, she believed in service, a tradition she shared with her husband and ECU.

Tom and Carol Irons on a medical mission trip in western Zambia.

Tom and Carol Irons on a medical mission trip in western Zambia.

“Something that was important to Carol and I was that, if we were to be remembered for anything, we wanted to be remembered for what we gave, and I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about how we served,” Irons said. “I believe we give for the students of the future, the young faculty of the future. To show that this university stands for what it says it does.”

The Carol Irons Nursing Scholarship is also about Carol’s legacy for her family.

“I’d like my (seven) grandkids to look at this scholarship and say, ‘That’s named after my grandma,’” Irons said. “I’d like them to know what a great nurse she was, and a great citizen. I think this is an opportunity to let other people know what she stood for.”

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications

University grieves loss of Business professor

East Carolina University accounting assistant professor Dr. Rebecca Fay died unexpectedly Monday, Jan. 2 after being involved in a car accident in Roanoke, Virginia.

Fay’s husband, Patrick Fay, and their two young children sustained minor injuries in the accident according to a post on his Facebook page. Patrick Fay is the marketing and communications manager for ECU’s enrollment services.

Dr. Stan Eakins, dean of East Carolina University’s College of Business, described Fay as “one of the stars of the college.”

“She had a tremendous academic future ahead of her,” said Eakins. “She was extremely liked by faculty and students, and a future leader of this college.”

Fay

Fay

Fay’s brief but prolific career at ECU does include the hallmarks of a rising star. She came to ECU in 2011, the same year she received her doctorate in business from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She was a licensed certified public accountant (CPA), and before joining ECU, she worked as an audit manager for Cherry Bekaert, an accounting firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Liberty University.

Fay’s primary research interests focused on enhancing the quality of audits and accounting education. She received the College of Business’ Scholar-Teacher Award in 2015 for the outstanding integration of research in the classroom. Her work has been featured on the cover of the Journal of Accountancy and has been published in Issues in Accounting Education, the CPA Journal, Managerial Auditing Journal, Current Issues in Auditing, and Research in Accounting Regulation.

In 2016, Fay received the Innovation in Auditing and Assurance Education Award from the American Accounting Association.

Fay was also engaged with the students. She recently served as the president of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society for business students, from 2013-2015 and was also the faculty advisor for Beta Alpha Psi in 2015.

“Dr. Fay was very talented and dedicated to her work,” said Dr. John Reisch, professor and chair for the College of Business’ Department of Accounting. “She was willing to work with students outside of the classroom to help promote their intellectual curiosity. Her presence will be sorely missed.”

In addition to her research on auditing, Fay was the lead author of “Incorporating International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into Intermediate Accounting,” a textbook supplement developed by a team of authors from Virginia Tech that has been implemented in classrooms across the country. She has provided IFRS training seminars to accountants and professors, and has contributed IFRS questions to the CPA exam.

The family will receive friends 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 in the Pate Chapel of Thomas Road Baptist Church, 1 Mountain View Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502. A funeral service will be held immediately following in the Pate Chapel. Interment will follow in Virginia Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may take the form of contributions to Ronald McDonald House, 529 Moye Blvd., Greenville, NC 27834.

Heritage Funeral Service and Crematory, (434) 239-2405, is assisting the family.

 

–by Michael Rudd

In Memoriam – Clyde Thomas ‘Tom the Jazzman’ Mallison

'Tom the Jazzman' Mallison (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

‘Tom the Jazzman’ Mallison
(Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Clyde Thomas “Tom the Jazzman” Mallison of Greenville, a benefactor of Joyner Library who was widely known for his music program on Public Radio East, died Sept. 6. He succumbed from injuries suffered in a car wreck that occurred shortly after he had completed his show on WTEB New Bern. He was 75.

Mallison, who graduated from East Carolina University in 1966 and was SGA president that year, worked at the Du Pont plant in Kinston for 32 years before retiring in 1998. He hosted the Sunday night jazz program on WTEB for more than 30 years. Before he began his show with WTEB, he broadcast with WOOW AM in Greenville and WITN FM.

In 2009, Mallison donated thousands of jazz music albums from his personal collection to Joyner Library. The recordings span a variety of the sub-genres of jazz, including ragtime, Dixieland, bebop, free, and fusion. The collection now resides in the ECU Music Library.

The Alumni Association honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1998 and its Robert Wright Society Leadership Award. He was a former member of the ECU Board of Visitors, a member of the Chancellor’s Society, a member of the College of Education Advancement Council and a former president of the S. Rudolph Alexander Performing Arts Series.

He is survived by two children and his wife, Frances Mallison, an ECU graduate who is a retired librarian with the Pitt County Schools.

Memorial contributions may be made to Public Radio East, 800 College Court, New Bern, N.C., or First Presbyterian Church Youth Projects Fund, 1400 S. Elm St., Greenville, N.C.

In Memoriam – Dr. Charles E. Stevens

Dr. Charles E. Stevens of Greenville, who taught piano at East Carolina University for 30 years before accepting emeritus status in 1990, died Sept. 4. He was 89. Stevens, who received his master’s degree in music at ECU in 1954 and his doctorate in music from UNC Chapel Hill in 1957, was dean of the School of Music for the last six years of his tenure.

Stevens

Stevens

He recently was honored for more than 50 years of service to the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia national music fraternity.

Survivors include daughters Margaret Mauney of Winston-Salem, a 1976 ECU graduate, and Mary Charles Jenkins, a 1979 graduate, and son-in-law Jack Jenkins, a 1978 graduate, both of Morehead City.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Charles E. and Margaret S. Stevens Endowment, ECU Foundation, 2200 S. Charles Blvd., Greenville, NC 27858.

— Steve Tuttle

In Memoriam – Dr. Linner Ward Griffin

Dr. Linner Ward Griffin, emeritus professor of social work, passed away unexpectedly this past Sunday, July 5.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, July 17, at 2 p.m. at Brown Funeral Home in Greensboro.   A memorial service will be held in Greenville on Saturday, July 18, 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1400 South Elm Street.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to the ECU School of Social Work Scholarship Fund.  Checks may be sent to the ECU Foundation, 2200 S. Charles Blvd., Suite 1100, Greenville, NC.  Please indicate the purpose of the donation.  Cards and condolences can be sent to:  Mr. Bobby Griffin, 311 Beech Cove Drive, Grimesland, N. C. 27837.

Dr. Griffin began at ECU as an assistant professor of social work in January, 1990 and progressed through the academic ranks to professor of social work in 2000.  She served in a number of administrative capacities including interim dean of Social Work and Criminal Justice, interim dean of the School of Communication, interim associate vice chancellor and later associate vice chancellor for academic programs.  In 2010 her title was changed to associate provost for academic program planning and development and she held that that position until her retirement in 2013.  She was granted emeritus professor status upon her retirement.

In Memoriam – Jimmy Grimsley

Grimsley

Grimsley

Dr. Jimmy Grimsley, ECU alumnus and faculty emeritus, passed away Jan. 28. He was 70.

Grimsley joined the ECU faculty in 1967 to teach and serve as head coach of both tennis and soccer for men. Following a brief leave of absence to earn his doctoral degree from the University of Georgia in 1972, he returned to ECU, where he continually taught for more than 40 years in the Department of Kinesiology.

He was known for his outstanding memory, student advising and mentoring of former students. He was a mentor and friend to his colleagues. His sincerity and practical advice were valued by many.

As an associate professor, he served as director of graduate studies, director of clinical experiences, and coordinator of physical education programs. He contributed significantly to the University through his service on search, accreditation and other committees, including the President’s Advisory Committee, Faculty Senate, and the Graduate School.

He was a strong supporter of ECU and Pitt County Schools athletics. He served as the scoreboard operator at ECU football and basketball games for several decades.

Above all else, he cared about students and was a strong and effective student advocate. He leaves a legacy as a caring, knowledgeable, well-loved professor, who understood the field of physical education. He will be missed in the hallways of Minges Coliseum.

Gifts may be made payable to the ECU Foundation, Inc. for The Jimmie Grimsley Scholarship and mailed to:

Tammy C. Garris

Greenville Centre, Room 2211

East Carolina University

2200 South Charles Blvd.

Greenville, NC 27858

Mail Stop 301

In Memoriam – James Davenport

A familiar face around campus, James Davenport is shown at right during a reception for fellow ECU employee Nellie Taylor. (Contributed photo)

A familiar face around campus, James Davenport is shown at right during a reception for fellow ECU employee Nellie Taylor. (Contributed photo)

James Davenport from the East Carolina University Department of Materials Management died Jan. 21 after a lengthy illness.

He had worked with ECU for 25 years. Many faculty and staff came to know Davenport as the person who delivered office supplies for Central Stores and Receiving.

He also worked with Event One at athletic events and concerts at ECU venues for a number of years. He was also an avid Pirate fan.

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