AMerican Veteran 11

James C. Breneman

March 20, 1922 ~ August 3, 2020 (age 98)


James C. Breneman was born March 20, 1922 in Sherburn, Minnesota. He was the oldest of three children born to Henry E. and Clara Breneman. James attended Trimont High School in Trimont, Minnesota and was graduated valedictorian. That summer was spent as a catcher in the minor leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. With an academic scholarship, he attended Gustavus Adolphus College and was graduated with honors three years later. He majored in music and sciences. Subsequently, he would be awarded Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in Science by that same college. With his brother Wayne, he sang in the quartet "The Collegians" and performed throughout the Midwest.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School, he served an internship at University of California San Francisco Medical Center and residency at Swedish Hospital Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Veterans Administration. With a rank of Captain, he served as a medical officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps stationed at Fort Custer VA Hospital Battle Creek, Michigan during World War II. Marrying Mary Jo and remaining in Michigan after military service, he went on to practice medicine for 51 years. His interests included dozens of patents (mostly medical), travel and writing; his most recent book The Stryker Story with journalist Dave Hager. He could be counted on to provide a poem for any important occasion or celebration.

James was certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology of the American Medical Association. In 1969, he founded the Food Allergy Committee of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and served as its chairman for the next 14 years. In 1984, that organization presented him with the Fellow Distinguished Award for advancing the science of food allergy. He organized the International Food Allergy Symposium in 1974 and served as its chairman until 1983. The bi-annual programs represented the first international effort for physicians to participate and share the most current scientific knowledge in the study of food allergy. As a life-long investigator in the area of food allergy, he authored 3 textbooks and over 100 scientific papers and lectures delivered nationally and internationally on the subject. Other areas of research included diabetes, enuresis (winning the Ross Award in 1959 for Outstanding Medical Publication of the Year), rheumatology, herniated disc syndrome and post-operative thromboembolic disease (winning the Angiology Research Foundation Award and the Certificate of Honor from the International Academy of Law and Science in 1964). His pioneering work lead to an invitation to the White House to consult with the presidential physician of a sitting U.S. President.

In 1975, he was appointed by the Governor of Michigan to the Michigan Board of Medicine, Licensing Division, where he served for 9 years, a portion of which he served as Vice-Chairman. Professional memberships included the American Medical Association; Michigan State Medical Society; Kalamazoo Academy of Medicine; Michigan Allergy Society; American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; Annals of Allergy Council; Medical Writers of America; Consultant in Allergy to Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology; Phi Rho Sigma; past-President Galesburg Chamber of Commerce; past Vice-President Kalamazoo Chamber of Commerce; Medical Advisor Selective Service Board; Associate Professor Michigan State University School of Medicine.

Surviving is a son, C.J. Breneman of Kalamazoo, a son-in-law and daughter, Peter and Lisa Reed of Kalamazoo as well as nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Jo, a son Grant, a brother Wayne Breneman and a sister Jean Nielsen.

A celebration of James and Mary Jo's life will be held at a later date.

Please visit James' personalized online guestbook at


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