Dr. Elting and Dr. Drugovich

Hartwick College Celebrates the Life of James Jerow Elting

August 13, 2012

James (Jim) Jerow Elting, MD, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Hartwick College and a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon at Bassett Healthcare, died at the age of 73 on Friday, August 10, 2012, after a brief and unexpected illness. A memorial service celebrating Elting's life will be held in the Lambros Arena of the Binder Physical Education Center on the Hartwick College campus at 1 p.m. ET this Saturday, August 18, 2012.

"Jim was an extraordinary person," said Hartwick College President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich. "He was kind and thoughtful, and generous with his time, counsel and good humor.  He supported Hartwick in various ways, and served on Hartwick's Board for more than 20 years. Over these last three years, he has been an invaluable colleague to me and our Board members in his role as chairman of the Hartwick College Board of Trustees.  Jim understood the importance of Hartwick College to the Oneonta community, and the importance of Oneonta to Hartwick."

Elting was born on August 4, 1939, in Neptune, NJ, to parents Julia Thompson and Stephen Elting. He grew up in the New York/New Jersey areas and, while attending high school in Belleville, NJ, was introduced to rowing - a sport that became a lifelong passion.

Dr. Elting attended Yale College as an English major, where he competed on the varsity men's rowing team. Graduating with honors in 1961, he went on to medical school at the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University. Dr. Elting first came to the Cooperstown area during his internship at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital from 1966 to 1968. Following his internship, he served in the Navy as the First Medical Officer aboard the USS Columbus, the flagship of the Sixth Fleet. He then went on to complete a residency at Yale New Haven Hospital and became certified in orthopaedic surgery.

In 1973, Dr. Elting returned to upstate New York and established a medical practice, Otsego Orthopaedics, in Oneonta, becoming the first orthopedic surgeon on the staff of A.O. Fox Hospital. It was his lifelong love of sports that led him to incorporate sports medicine into his practice, in addition to the specialty of joint replacement surgery.

During his years in private practice Dr. Elting traveled extensively, teaching surgical techniques and lecturing throughout the US, Europe and Asia. He was a consummate traveler who took great joy in such adventures with his wife, Karen. In 1984, Dr. Elting accompanied Hartwick students to China for January Term. He also served as an orthopaedic surgeon at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid.

In 1995, he joined the staff of Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital as senior orthopaedic surgeon and clinical assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery, returning to the hospital where he had interned many years before.

In addition to being devoted to his family, his profession and his community, Dr. Elting was also deeply committed to Hartwick College.

Dr. Elting was a tireless and faithful supporter of Hartwick for almost four decades.  He had been a member of the John Christopher Hartwick Volunteer Program since 1999, was a past President of the Hartwick College Citizens Board and served on College Board of Trustees for 21 years.  Dr. Elting had been Chair of the Board of Trustees since 2009.  He has served on the Executive, Academic Affairs, Audit & Compliance, Budget, Student Affairs, Development, Education, and Enrollment Committees. He also served as a member of Hartwick's 2002 and 2007 Presidential Search Committees and most recently served in various capacities for The Campaign for Hartwick Students.

On campus, The Elting Gallery of the Yager Museum of Art & Culture was named for Dr. James and Karen Elting in 1990 and The Fitness Center within the Binder Physical Education Center was dedicated to James J. Elting, MD in 1993. Dr. Elting, along with his wife, Karen Elting, also received the "Outstanding Citizens of the Year" Award from the Hartwick College Citizens Board in 2006. He spent countless hours working with Hartwick College student-athletes, coaches, and sports medicine staff through the years and was an avid spectator at College athletic events.

"He cared deeply about Hartwick's students and employees, and they returned this affection and respect for him," said Drugovich. "He worked tirelessly to advance the interests of the College. Jim will always be revered and remembered by the Hartwick community for the leader that he was. Those of us who knew him well consider ourselves fortunate, and we will miss him greatly."

Dr. Elting is survived by his wife of 31 years, Karen; his children, Kimberley Elting and her husband, Stewart Cohen, Laird Elting and her husband, Jean Robert, and William M. Elting; his stepchildren, Regan Wesson and her husband, Steve, and Clay Curley and his wife, Anne Marie; and his grandchildren Amy, Mark, Teal, India, Reid, Matthew and Petra. Also surviving are his brother, William W. Elting of Houston, Texas; and several sisters- and brothers-in-law.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031