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Obituary - Dr. James Leonard Routon
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel
Dr. James Leonard Routon

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- We mourn the passing of Dr. James Leonard Routon, 82 years old, of Savannah, Ga. After determinedly battling acute myeloid leukemia for more than a year, he found peace and final rest with family at his bedside on the morning of March 29, 2024.

Affectionately known as "Papa", he was born in Fairburn, Ga., on September 12, 1941, to the late Beatrice Baker Routon and Stephen Leonard Routon.

Jim was a dedicated family man and physician whose Catholic faith was the source of his strength, perseverance and principles, shaping his career through a path of academic excellence and compassionate care.

He was a graduate of Campbell High School and went on to attend Newberry College on an academic and athletic scholarship.

Jim then attended the Augusta Medical College of Georgia, graduating with the class of 1967.

His commitment to advancing edification led him to complete a general surgical internship at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and an anesthesia residency in Washington, D.C., at Georgetown University.

Throughout his career, with his generous warmth and dedication to care, he touched countless lives.

While completing his education, Dr Routon married his loving wife of 56 years and became a father to his two daughters, Genevieve and Emmaline.

He was then drafted and served as lieutenant commander at the Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida.

Jim would then take his family to Atlanta, close to family roots, where he began his career as an anesthesiologist. His interest in chronic pain management and rehabilitation would lead him to board certification in both specialties.

He opened two pain management clinics there before moving to Savannah, where he opened a third pain management practice at Candler Hospital.

Many years later, Dr. Routon returned to the sole specialty of anesthesia at Memorial Hospital. That was soon followed by a move to help build the anesthesia and pain management departments at East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, Ga. This would be his last move before retirement.

He spent 13 very happy years in that community, once again cultivating an atmosphere of fellowship and medical excellence.

Jim was a voracious reader, never without a book in his hand. He enjoyed most sports, especially the volleyball games he attended cheering his granddaughter's high school team to state championship.

He had a deep love for his family and dogs, which, outside of work, occupied most of his time. He found joy in their company and in the company of friends.

An active member of the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Dr. Routon frequently acted as an adult altar server, eucharistic minister and volunteered often to serve in any way he could. He worked diligently in the diocese as an educator for Natural Family Planning (NFP), embodying his commitment to his faith and community.

Daily prayer with his wife was a discipline of his and was the foundation of their rare and special union.

It was in his simple act of spending unhurried time with his grandchildren that was most emblematic of his inquisitive mind and kind spirit. Their close bond is the legacy he leaves.

Dr. Routon is survived by his wife, Emmaline; his daughters, Genevieve Markowsky (Wayne) and Emmaline Routon-Davis (Greg); his grandchildren, Hannah Routon, Hugh Markowsky and Noah Davis; his sister, Barbara Nestlehutt (Leon) of Venice, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews, all of whom he loved and in whom he shared genuine interest.

He is remembered fondly by his cousin, Fred Brown; and his dear friend, Bruce Montgomery, both of whom provided support and unwavering friendship that gave him strength when he was weakest.

Other dear friends: Father Mark Ross, Johnny Mulligan and Wayne Cunningham III.

Dr. Routon is also preceded in death by his brothers, Wesley Routon, Jack Routon (Brenda) and John Routon (Paula); his best friend since childhood, Allen Jennings; and close friend, Ken Gold.

The family would like to thank Dr. Roel Laygo, Dr. George Negrea, Dr. Callie Downing and Dr. Jay Goldstein for their compassionate care. Also, a big thank you to the team at Anderson Cancer Center, the staff in the emergency room, 3W Oncology at Memorial Hospital and Hospice of Savannah.

The family expresses endless gratitude for the tireless caregivers, Rosella Thomas-Simmons, Ashley Green, Pamela Williams and Nadira Johnson, as well as the valuable advice of family friend Anne Rogers.

Navigating the journey through treatment was only possible with these individuals and others who generously gave of their time and talents.

May Papa's memory be a source of strength and inspiration to all who knew him. He is dearly missed.

Rosary will be held Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at 5 p.m., with visitation to follow until 7 p.m. at Fox & Weeks, Hodgson Chapel.

A mass of Christian burial will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist Thursday, April 4, 2024, at 10 a.m., with burial to follow in the Catholic Cemetery.

Statesboro Herald, April 3, 2024

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