James Carney Overall, Jr. ’59

James Carney Overall Jr. It is with great respect and love that we celebrate the life of Jim, a man devoted to serving others with skill and compassion.

He was the embodiment of kindness and integrity. Born in Nashville, TN on September 27, 1937 to Evelyn Duncan and James Carney Overall.

He studied to become a pediatrician, like his father, at Davidson College and Vanderbilt where he graduated with honors. He married Kimarie in 1965, and after working at the NIH for two years chose to focus on academic medicine. Son Thomas Duncan was born in 1968.

The month Jim spent working at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti in 1969 inspired his lifelong dedication to promoting a broader vision of healthcare. This experience led to his involvement with the Ecumenical Institute (later the Institute of Cultural Affairs), and multiple trips to India to serve in community development.

Daughter Kimberly Marie was born in 1970. That same year Jim moved his family to Salt Lake City, having been appointed Director of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of Utah.

Jim was renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and his dedication to everything he undertook, treating numerous children, teaching, and conducting research. In his spare moments, Jim loved classical music, skiing and camping.

The tragic death of his children, Tom and Kim, in March 1976 was a pivotal moment in Jim’s life. While this eventually took a toll on his marriage, it also initiated a significant spiritual quest that was to transform Jim’s life through his relationship with Christianity and later his discovery of Siddha Yoga and Lakota Vision Quest. The members of these communities remember Jim, his gentleness and his sincere devotion with great fondness.

Son David Anthony was born in June 1976, and Paul Christopher followed closely in October 1977. Jim was always incredibly proud of both his sons and reveled in their achievements. He remained friends with Kimarie after an amicable divorce in 1995, and later married Ilene in 1996.

Jim fulfilled his vision of combining an academic medical practice with spirituality by helping to create the Complementary Alternative Medicine program at the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City. There he led a team of experts in the treatment of veterans by introducing practices of meditation, acupuncture, yoga, equine therapy, and group support. The program was one of the first of its kind, and the results of his careful documentation were shared in several medical journals.

His work was extremely successful, and the pioneering program has been subsequently embraced by VA hospitals around the country. Jim and Ilene spent 24 years together, sharing a passion for history, travel and sacred symbolism.

Their many magical adventures – including visits to India, Norway, the United Kingdom, France and Taiwan – were very special to Jim and allowed him to research his ancestral roots. His most delightful discovery was of sixteenth-century relative, John Overall – Bishop of Norwich, England, and contributing translator to the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

Jim was a loving and supportive stepfather to Ilene’s children: Matthew, Bradley and Adrien, and they will be forever grateful for his sweet presence in their lives.

Jim was never one to complain. Even after his diagnosis of dementia, he took it upon himself to actively support others similarly affected. He deeply appreciated the care he received from all his healthcare providers.

Having been hospitalized for several months with a pneumonia unrelated to the current pandemic, Jim was grateful to be able to spend his remaining days with Ilene in the comfort of his own home. He maintained his ever-optimistic attitude until his last breath.

Jim completed his life as peacefully as he had lived it on May 1, 2020, surrounded by loved ones and the symbols that had grown to mean so much to him.

His book, “Doctor Heal Thyself: A Physician’s Personal Journey and Commentary” will be published soon.

Jim is survived by his wife, Ilene; sister, Carney; sons, David (Lisa) and Paul (Jessica); grandsons: Nikaiya, Malachi, Elijah, Kian, Aiden and soon-to-be-born Banyan James; stepchildren: Matthew (Kathy), Bradley and Adrien (Adam); and stepgrandchildren: Holly, Erik, Lilly, Ian, Haven, Harlow, Isla and Theo.

A memorial service will be postponed until we can safely gather. In the meantime, please visit www.jenkins-soffe.com/obituaries to share your memories of Jim on the Tribute Wall.

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