Dr. James Karns, UM medical professor


March 06, 1992

Dr. James R. Karns, retired clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and retired medical director of the Monumental Life Insurance Co., died Feb. 28 after a heart attack while on vacation in Port St. Joseph, Fla.

A memorial service for Dr. Karns, who was 76 and had moved to Salem, N.J., after his retirement in 1982, was being held today at St. John's Episcopal Church in Salem.

A specialist in internal medicine, he had been president of the medical board at University Hospital, chief of clinical medicine at Maryland General Hospital and president of the trustees of the University of Maryland Medical School.

Born in Cumberland, he earned a pharmacy degree at the University of Maryland before his graduation in 1940 from the medical school, where he won the university's Gold Medal.

After his internship at University Hospital, he served in Australia as a captain with the Army's 42nd General Hospital and its subsidiary, the 3rd Portable Surgical Hospital. His decorations included the Bronze Star and a Presidential Unit Citation.

He became a resident at University Hospital in 1946. The next year, he became an instructor in medicine and director of the medical school's student health service, holding the latter post for 20 years.

Dr. Karns was medical director of the Maryland Life Insurance Co. from 1949 to 1962 and, from 1971 to 1982, of the Monumental Life Insurance Co.

A fellow of the American College of Physicians who had been certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, he was a member of the Baltimore City Medical Society, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the American Medical Association and the University of Maryland Hospital Medical Association.

He lived in Ruxton before moving in retirement to New Jersey, where he and his wife had restored her family home.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Acton; and a son, James A. Karns of Jacksonville, Fla.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the trustees of the Endowment Fund of the University of Maryland Medical School.

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