U-M Basketball Captain James Rae Passes Away
James Rae was captain of the basketball team during his senior year.

Jan. 9, 2013

(This letter was sent via e-mail to Dr. Rae's colleagues by Dr. Jim Leonard and Dr. Ed Hurvitz. Dr. Leonard granted permission for the Letterwinner's M Club to post it on this web site.)


It is with sadness that I inform you of the recent passing of Dr. James W. Rae. Dr. Rae passed away yesterday, January 7, 2013 at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City from complications of an upper respiratory tract infection which he developed in late December. He was 95 years of age. He is survived by his wife of 10 years, Arlene, and his two daughters and their families.

The funeral service is currently scheduled for Friday, January 11th at 11:00 AM with possible visitation before (family is still making plans). The arrangements are being managed by Martinson Funeral Home 115 North Saint Joseph Street, Suttons Bay, MI 49682, phone 231-271-3441 or 877-271-3441.

For those who did not have the opportunity to know Dr. Rae, he was the founding Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan. He was recruited from Mayo Clinic in 1950 following the completion of his residency there in PM&R to come to Michigan to establish the department. Dr. Rae was born and raised in Ohio and attended the University of Michigan.

He was the captain of the basketball team during his senior year as an undergraduate. Upon graduation he matriculated in U of M's Medical School and then did his PM&R residency training at Mayo Clinic under the direction of Dr. Frank Krusen. Following his recruitment back to Michigan he established the PM&R residency program recruiting Dr. George Koepke as his first resident in 1950.

The first faculty member he recruited was Dr. Leonard Bender, who had also trained at Mayo Clinic in PM&R. He also brought with him from Mayo, Ms. Helen Johnstone to be the director of Physical Therapy and recruited Ms. Virginia Wilson from Warm Springs, Georgia to start and direct the Physical Therapy Curriculum to train physical therapists here at Michigan. The program continues now on U of M's Flint campus. Dr. Rae served as department chair from 1950 until 1975 when he retired.

He returned from retirement shortly thereafter to serve as Interim Chair until he assisted in recruiting Dr. Ted Cole as Department Chair in 1977. Dr. Rae was very involved in the growth and development of rehabilitation services at U of M as well as the training of medical students, physical therapy students, and residents here at Michigan. He believed strongly in the roll of outreach into the community establishing many local clinics served by faculty and staff from U of M throughout the state. His contributions to the field of rehabilitation medicine were great. We here at Michigan are all fortunate to benefit from his wisdom and foresight.

He will be sorely missed.

Written by:
Dr. Jim Leonard

Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Director of Orthotics and Prosthetics, Medical School

Dr. Ed Hurvitz
James W. Rae Collegiate Professor and Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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