James M. Hunter, 88, orthopedic surgeon
James M. Hunter, 88, an orthopedic surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University and a pioneer and innovator in the field of hand surgery, died Tuesday, Jan. 29, of heart failure at the Southeastern Veterans Center in Spring City, Chester County. Dr. Hunter was born on April 5, 1924, in Camden, the son of Robert and Helen Hunter. He was raised in Merchantville.
He was a 1949 graduate of Dickinson College and earned his medical degree at Thomas Jefferson University in 1953. He was in the Army during World War II, stationed in Northern Italy and France. Dr. Hunter worked for about 50 years at Jefferson, where he treated many patients and trained more than 100 fellows in hand surgery. He was awarded the first fellowship in hand surgery at Columbia University in 1959. Dr. Hunter was an editor of Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity, now in its sixth edition. It is considered the bible of hand surgery and therapy and is one of the best-selling hand textbooks in the world.
Dr. Hunter, who loved music since his childhood, played the upright bass with jazz artists around Philadelphia and was in a jazz band known as the Red Peppers, featuring other area physicians. He also played the tuba. His son Gary described Dr. Hunter as a renaissance man who enjoyed taking his family to the Philadelphia Orchestra