Fair, clear, tough and passionate are descriptors of notable Longview teachers and coaches recalled by James “Jim” Feusner, MD.
Jim, a R. A. Long graduate and Director of Oncology for the Children’s Hospital Research Center-Oakland (CHRCO), has a resume long enough to cover a wall of his alma mater. However, he admits that he was more passionate about athletics than academics during his middle- and high school years. (Although he earned a nearly-perfect GPA.)
As a young student, he had the occasion to attend Broadway, CVG, and finally the newly-constructed Robert Gray, before spending grade six at Kessler and Monticello for grades seven through nine. At various times, all those schools served the family’s neighborhood on Clark Creek Road. At Monticello, he was inspired by Coach VanDuessen. “He was probably the best coach I ever had—he expected production; he was passionate, fair and clear.”
Jim was the leading scorer and rebounder in his senior year of basketball as a Lumberjack, made second team All-Conference in basketball that year, was projected to break the school record in the high jump (before the Fosbury flop) in track and played baseball during the summers (American Legion). The family’s barn served as a makeshift training center with its basketball hoop, high jump pit, and their pasture held a –the area’s first—pitching machine.
In the classroom, Jim recalls chemistry and physics teacher Lionel Livermore as very tough, fair, and disciplined.
Jim attended Willamette University where he played basketball until his time on the court was cut short by bad knees. He later transferred and earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Universities of California and Washington. His internships, residencies, and fellowships focused on pediatrics, cancer and blood research. “I saw a real need in newborn coagulation. We had to establish what was normal for these patients in terms of bleeding time, coagulation factor levels.” However funding was not available for this career in Seattle and he had to change goals, which led him to become the director of oncology at CHRCO in 1979. For his many years of service to patients and his field, this year he was recognized with the hospital’s highest award for clinical service – the Bronze Bambino award.
While he has had a heavy impact on both his patients and their families, he also has impacted others and has mentored countless residents, fellows and undergraduates in his career.
And in his home town, he and his sister, Jennifer Feusner Leach (Mark Morris Class of 1973 and current school board member) confer the Judith Feusner-Hogan Scholarship in honor of their late sister who is remembered as having a deep love of books, animals and the outdoors.