James R. Hennessy, MD ’61

It is no exaggeration to say that Jim Hennessy ’61 has made a difference – a profound and lasting difference.  While at SHS Jim played football, making All-NOL his senior season, and represented the school at Buckeye Boys State. After graduating he earned a bachelor’s degree in premedical sciences at the University of Akron and his M.D. with honors in pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati.

       He then embarked on a path that led to a career that focused on saving lives, particularly those of children. Jim became a physician with a specialty in pediatric cardiology. Observes one alum, “Jim has devoted himself to saving the lives of children.”  After earning his M.D., he also served in the Army from 1975-78, including time in Germany.

       During his youth, Jim was a Henson.  At family reunions his dad related that the name in their native Ireland was Hennessy. But after the family immigrated to the U.S., the name was changed to Henson to avoid anti-Irish prejudice.  In 1971 Jim took the original Irish name of Hennessy “to set the record straight” for his family.  He had found church records in Cleveland and Avon, Ohio, confirming the original name.

       His continuing interest in SHS can be seen in his having attended both the 2002 11-class reunion and the 2004 All-Alumni Weekend as well as numerous Alumni Association planning meetings – despite a demanding and unpredictable schedule subject to emergency calls. Jim lives in Maumee, Ohio, and has a medical practice in Toledo. He also has pediatric cardiology clinics in Findlay, Wauseon, Willard and at two separate hospitals in Lima. His nominator: Mike Johnson ’63.  His presenter: Bill Henson ’56.

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