Jim Bougas, 93

Oct 31, 2017

Jim Bougas died peacefully on October 28, 2017 in the presence of his family.

Born in Bismarck, North Dakota on January 25, 1924, he grew up in the small town of Glendive, Montana, the oldest of four children of a Greek-American family.

At the age of 16, Jim traveled east for the first time to attend MIT. Following his graduation, he served in the Army during World War II, and then entered Harvard Medical School. He further trained in cardiothoracic surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

There he met his future wife of 65 years, Tiina Parlin Bougas, who was a woman pioneer in the area of anesthesia. Together, they moved to Boston to continue their professional careers and to raise a family.

During his long and distinguished career, Jim contributed significantly to the then emerging field of thoracic surgery. He joined the Overhalt Cardio-Thoracic Associates at New England Deaconess Hospital, then the faculty of Boston University Medical Center as a professor in the newly created residency program.

During his career of over 50 years, he led and witnessed the profound evolution of modern cardiothoracic surgery. He was on the staff of over 70 regional hospitals. He made diagnoses, placed thousands of heart valves and removed lung cancers even before the advent of echocardiography. He helped develop the cardiac catheterization laboratory at New England Deaconess Hospital and the use of porous metals which are still used in artificial joints. He brought ventilator machines to BU and placed one of the first artificial aortic grafts at Bellevue Hospital with Dr. Arthur Blakemore, a leader in vascular surgery at Columbia. As President of the Massachusetts Heart Association, Jim helped organize Boston’s EMT system.

Above all, however, he was a family man, deeply proud of his wife, who pre-deceased him by a year. Together, they raised two daughters, Karen Bougas Linn, married to Dr. Frank VanZandt Linn, and Tiina Bougas Smith, married to Lawrence A. Rand. Jim had a close and loving relationship with each of his five grandchildren: Kara and Andrew Linn; and Trace, Camden and Staley Smith.

Jim was an all-around Renaissance man who was interested in many things including: sailing his Shields, Rainbow, out of the Beverly Yacht Club, beekeeping, gardening, reading, and reflecting upon, scientific journals and history.

All who had the honor and pleasure to know Jim, knew him to be a gentle man and a gentleman who espoused the principles he learned as a child: honesty, kindness, a strong work ethic, and intellectual curiosity—traits he passed on to his children and grandchildren.

In addition to his children and grandchildren, he is survived by his sister, Artemis Demopolus.

A memorial service will be held for Jim at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill on Friday, November 24 at 11 a.m.. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Jim’s honor be made to the Sailing Club at MIT, Walter C. Wood Sailing Pavillion, Mass Avenue, Cambridge, MA.