dr James Royal Malm died Sept. 21, 2019, in the company of family at the Warner Center for Caring on Amelia Island, Fla. hey what 94
He was born Sept. 7, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio to Royal Dinsmore Malm and Theodora Agnes Dromont. Jim and his younger brother Bill were raised in LaGrange and Evanston, Ill. He graduated from Evanston High School in 1943, already focused on becoming a doctor. He enlisted in the US Navy and was allowed to defer service until completion of his medical training. He completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University in two years, then enrolled at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his medical degree in 1949.
After rekindling a friendship with his grammar school friend Constance Brooks, they were married July 8, 1950. During their first year of marriage, they moved to Philadelphia to complete his surgical rotation at the University of Pennsylvania.
He was called to active duty during the Korean War and served as a junior medical officer on the USS Philippine Sea. The couple then returned with their firstborn daughter to New York City for his thoracic surgical training residency. They eventually settled in Irvington, NY and, later, Scarborough.
By 1958 he was appointed chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Columbia Presbyterian’s Medical Center, to which he devoted his vision and skill for the next 36 years. Under his leadership the fledging program became an international leader in the specialty of pediatric corrective surgery and also open heart surgery, transplants and research into the artificial heart. As a faculty member, he trained many of today’s leading cardiac specialists.
He published more than 200 papers, lectured around the world, served as president of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and was a member of the New York State Cardiac Advisory Committee. Upon retirement, he received Columbia’s distinguished service award and an endowed chair was created in his name.
Jim first arrived on the Vineyard with his Princeton roommate Jack Butterworth when they worked as lifeguards at the West Chop Beach Club. He experienced love at first sight from the ferry and returned with Connie for their honeymoon. In 1991 Jim and Connie moved full-time to their home at Pilot Hill Farm. An avid sportsman, he immersed himself in lifelong interests in fishing, hunting, tennis and training his beloved hunting dog, Chad. He turned his surgical skills to tie flying and decoy carving, and most days could be found fishing for stripers and blues from his boat. He became a skeet and trap champion of the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club, enjoyed weekly doubles games at the West Chop Tennis Club and served on the board at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
He brought energy and enthusiasm to his family life, spending many winters skiing and enjoying happy summers on the Vineyard with Connie, their four daughters and a wide circle of friends.
In 2003, Connie and Jim moved to Amelia Island, Fla. At 80, he gave up tennis for golf. Six weeks before his death he was still working on his swing but had reached the goal of shooting his age: 94.
He predeceased Constance Brooks Malm, his wife of 69 years; she died in October 2020. He is survived by their daughters, Betsy Malm Holdsworth, Melissa B. Malm, Karen W. Malm and Sarah D. Malm; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The family will gather during the last week of July to celebrate the lives of both Connie and Jim.
Memorial donations can be made to the Babies Heart Fund Columbia University Irving Medical Center at babiesheartfund.org.