Dr. James J. Mezhir

  • Born: June 28, 1973
  • Died: February 3, 2016
  • Location: Coralville, Iowa

Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service

2720 Muscatine Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240

Tel. (319) 338-1132

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dr. James J. Mezhir, Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery, passed away February 3, 2016 after a nearly two year battle with gastric cancer.

James Mezhir was born June 28, 1973 in Niagara Falls, New York. He and his wife, Priya George Mezhir, have two young daughters, Malinee and Anjali. Dr. Mezhir's journey to becoming a physician is a unique experience in that he was a 25 year survivor of cancer. When he was a teenager, James was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma after undergoing a Whipple procedure for bile duct obstruction. He underwent 12-months of chemotherapy and had been cancer free since that time. Being cured of cancer is what drove Dr. Mezhir toward caring for cancer patients and into the research field. He wanted to show children diagnosed with this disease that there is a future and life after cancer.

Dr. Mezhir attended medical school at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York and he completed his residency at the University of Chicago under the training of Drs. Mitchell Posner and Jeffrey Matthews, at which time he completed two years of dedicated basic science research in the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Weischselbaum. Dr. Mezhir continued his training as a fellow in Surgical Oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City where he worked closely with Dr. Ron DeMatteo and Dr. Murray Brennan. Dr. Mezhir was recruited to the University of Iowa in 2010, where he became a valued member of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery in the Department of Surgery.

As a Surgical Oncologist, his primary clinical practice was in the treatment of pancreatic cancer and other GI cancers. He collaborated with many basic scientists and clinicians in multiple disciplines in an effort to advance the field of pancreatic cancer research. Through his laboratory efforts, which focused on elucidating the complex biology of pancreatic and gastric cancer, Dr. Mezhir made novel discoveries in the biology of pancreatic and gastric cancer that will continue to have important translational implications that will eventually lead to novel therapies for these GI malignancies. Dr. Mezhir had over 50 peer reviewed publications and was on the editorial board of 6 surgical and scientific journals. Through these activities and his publications, he made a substantive impact on the medical literature. His laboratory was supported by an American Surgical Association Foundation fellowship, the Department of Surgery, and the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. Grateful patients and their families also generously supported Dr. Mezhir's research endeavors.

Dr. Mezhir was named as one of Castle Connelly's America's Top Doctors in 2015; he was a nominee for the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2014; he received the Teacher of the Year Award from the General Surgery Residents at the University of Iowa as well as the Teacher of the Year Award from the General Surgery Medical Students at the University of Iowa in 2012. Prior to his years at the University of Iowa he received awards for Most Outstanding Clinical Research at the Charles Huggins Research Competition in Chicago, IL in 2004 and Most Outstanding Surgical Research at the Chicago Surgical Society in 2005. He will be deeply missed by his peers, trainees and patients.

Memorial services will be held at 3pm Saturday, February 6, 2016, at the River Community Church in Iowa City with the Reverend Tommy Roberts Officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the "James Mezhir Memorial Fund" c/o Elizabeth Mezhir (mail to the Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service @ 2720 Muscatine Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240) which has been established for his daughters, Malinee and Anjali's education.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I'm so sorry to hear about this tragic loss, for his family and the medical field
I was unaware Dr. Mezhir passed away...
while going through paperwork in my files, I came across an envelope from 2003 with the return address of "James Mezhir, MD.". He had sent me a release form regarding a peer reviewed study involving jaundice appearing after common bile duct surgery.
Dr. Mezhir was imperative during my healing process while recovering after a major surgery at the University of Chicago in 2001. I had undergone an extremely rare surgery at U of C, involving my common bile duct. I had no idea of what he'd gone through personally earlier in his life. And now I know why he was such an empathetic doctor! I'd gone through some rather awful surgeries within a very short period of time. It was a struggle for me to feel normal again. But Dr. Mezhir figured out that I was a big geek and came to my room one evening to watch the original Star Wars movie with me and eat chocolate chip cookies baked by my Grandma. It had been quite a struggle for me to feel like a normal person after having been in the hospital for over a month and a half. For some reason, Dr Mezhir always made sure to remind me that what I was going through was only temporary. And that was huge!!! It helped me to heal & recover and get back to my life because my son needed me!!! Thank you, Dr. Mezhir, may you rest in peace!

Posted by Vanessa (Bartlett) Willison - Acquaintance   September 11, 2020

I cannot believe has been over 4 years, I miss my Doc!

Posted by Terry Gromacki - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 10, 2020

Just hearing of this tragic news as I was going to reach out and share with James about finally presenting my story involving cancer and surgery to other providers! Something I know that he would have loved to hear!

James was a surgeon on my team when I was a patient and I can honestly say that I wouldnt be here today if it werent for the care he coordinated and provided! I know he is truly missed by so many! Thank you so much for the wonderful memories amidst the biggest fight for my life! The wheelchair ride around NYC after being in the ICU, sharing your story, the constant encouragement and for just being so passionate about people! I am a better medical provider because of you!

And Priya, I am so happy to have met you! Not sure if you remember, but thank you for bringing me animal crackers when I had no one with me, it was the kindest gesture and has stuck with me to this day!

Rest In Peace James, I know you are looking over everyone!

Posted by Jennette Bookston - Rochester, NY - acquaintance   June 12, 2019

I still think of you often, particularly when I meet new residents. You were friendly, humble, funny, smart, and caring. A pleasure to have worked with you.

Posted by Jennifer Massow - Chicago, IL - Coworker   February 02, 2019

We still miss him.

Posted by Joseph Jones - Taylor Ridge, IL - Friend   February 02, 2019

I can't believe it's been 2 years. James was the first good friend I made when our family moved to Iowa City in 2012. We quickly bonded as we shared common interests, and daughters in the same daycare center. I was always astounded at his incredible professionalism in the workplace, but relaxed and fun personality outside of work. I miss him every day...

Love my Doc, RIP buddy! I'm going to hit a hole-in-one for you tomorrow on the 2-year anniversary of your passing and I know you'll be watching from above...
Terry Gromacki

Posted by Terry Gromacki - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 02, 2018


After Doctor Mezhir performed my whipple surgery we became very good friends. He came into my room every day while I was at the hospital and ask me how I was doing and what he could do for me and all I would ask him is could I have a popsicle. Finally after a week without food he ask me what I would like and I told him a popsicle and he ask me what flavor I told him cherry and brought me one. I will never forget that day. I miss him very much, me and my family loved him and talk about him all the time when we are together. I have been receiving treatment in Iowa City over the past months and they have told me they dedicated one of the floors in the new children's hospital to Dr. Mezhir can't wait to visit the area.

Posted by Joseph Jones - Taylor Ridge, IL - Friend   February 02, 2017

Firstly, I cannot express enough condolences to you Priya and your children. My daughter Denise Prager was Dr. Mezhir's very first case in Memorial Sloan Kettering while he was a fellow under Dr. Jose Guillem. Denise had many complications at a very young age of 20 years old . Dr. Mezhir became an amazing inspiration to her and my family. He had her as a patient for over a month and was an amazing doctor and friend. We are truly heartbroken and will miss him terribly. Cathy Prager

Posted by A friend   June 10, 2016

Priya, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband. For some reason you came to my mind tonite. I am sorry I haven't kept in touch with you to see how you and your family were doing. You and your family will be in my prayers from this day on.

Posted by Gayle Markese - Chicago, IL   May 12, 2016

I just now learned of Dr. Mezhir's passing. He was a wonderful doctor, but even better, a great person. He operated on Randy for pancreatic cancer in April 2014. Randy and I felt so at ease with him, and he showed so much compassion and care for us both. Randy is doing fine, but he will be devastated to learn that his friend is gone.
Please let the compassion that he showed all his patients flow from us back to you, his family. He will be greatly missed.

Posted by Georgia and Randy Henry - Cedar Falls, IA   April 28, 2016

This man has extended my life after 10 hours of surgery by him and his team. I owe & thank the man for my very existence who I pray for every day. It is a sad day that the good Lord reached out & took him from us. I pray that the sadness of the family is replaced by love & goodness he spreaded in short time wit us.
God Bless Darrell

Posted by Darrell Beranek & Family - Oxford Junction, IA - Friend   March 30, 2016

I was a patient in 2013. I was so fortunate that my tumor turned out to be benign but still required 8 hours in surgery. I know that my good health is a direct result of Dr Mezhir's incredible skill. He was a wonderful person and over the last couple of years he would always respond to messages with optimism. The world list so much with his too early passing. But his life will continue on in the work he started and the many lives he touched and saved.

Posted by Carol - Acquaintance   March 17, 2016

Leave a condolence or a memory.

Posted by Carol - Bettendorf, IA - Acquaintance   March 17, 2016

As a currently surviving patient of Dr. Mezhir's' skill as a surgeon (gastric cancer,,,total gastrectomy 2013) I will continue to fight for my life in his honor. Dr. Mezhir was a good man. From the moment he removed my cancer, I have never had him out of my mind. Thank you James.

Posted by William Desmond - Aledo, IL   March 15, 2016

I. Was a patient in 2011. There are no words to fully describe what a wonderful man Dr Mezhir was, professionally and personally.. His skill, compassion and humor were what made him the very special person he was..Norm and I loved him dearly. Rest easy dear friend.

Posted by Glenn ann hide and Norm uhde - Rock island, IL - Acquaintance   March 09, 2016

May you have a forever smile on your face in Heaven, James! You were a wonderful and super fun friend to me while you were residing in Chicago. I'm sorry the years have separated our friendship as we both grew our own beautiful families and as you pursued your oh so appreciated and impressive oncology career. I will always remember the laughter and fun times we shared. Our parents are best friends and that makes us more like family. God bless your family, too, and may you live in their (and all of our) hearts and souls forever! As my daughter Angela says, "You are now Heaven years old!" May we share many laughs again someday in Heaven! Peace be with you, my dear friend!

To Virginia, Savino, Priya, Malinee, Anjali, John, Kate and cousins (and step siblings), We are so sorry for your loss! Please let us know if you need anything and we will be here for you. Our deepest condolences to you all. We love you!
xo, Kim, Greg, Angela and Georgey Alexopoulos

Posted by Kimberly F Alexopoulos - Northbrook, IL - Friend   February 22, 2016

You will be missed forever dr Mezhir!! I can not believe you are not here anymore. Thank you for always taking such good care of me.

Posted by Hoda H.    February 19, 2016

Jim, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your son. You must have been very proud of him and his accomplishments. Praying that God will ease your pain in this great loss.

Posted by Paul E. Macy - Gainesville, GA   February 12, 2016


Dearest Priya,

I cannot express the sorrow I felt at hearing the news of the loss of your husband. I want you to know how deeply sorry we are for your loss and are thinking of you and your beautiful girls. Much love to all of you in this most difficult time.

Jaya, Abhijit, Nilam and Shalini Mukherjee

Posted by Jaya Mukherjee - Tokyo, IL - Friend   February 11, 2016

James was an inspiring, passionate and dedicated surgeon and teacher. I am honored and blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him and learn from him in my last year of training. His passion for learning and teaching was immediately apparent and he pushed me to be better everyday. He will always be a part of my surgeries and the many trainees and patients he has impacted. His love for you, Priya, and your beautiful family was something he talked about everyday and is undoubtedly his proudest accomplishment.
Sending prayers for strength and peace.

Posted by Eanas Yassa - MI   February 11, 2016

My hope and prayer is that James' family will somehow, someway find peace and comfort during this very difficult time. RIP my cousin and dear friend.

Posted by Jean Clabeaux - Grand Island, NY   February 11, 2016

To the Mezhir, Calvano, and Nanula families, My deepest and sincerest condolences of your loss in the passing of James, Jamie, and Dr James J Mezhir. Having known Dr. Mezhir since his birth I have witnessed the maturation of a truly American treasure. At each stage of his development Dr. Mezhir displayed those traits and charactristics which marked him as someone who not only was made of the "right stuff" but knew how to use it!
My entire family joins me in expressions of sorrow and loss!

Posted by Joseph Orsini - Niagara Falls, NY   February 10, 2016

Dearest Priya:

May God hold you and your daughters close by during this time. I pray that all can hold tight to the memories of James as husband, father, son, physician and friend. Peace be with you always! Larry (Westfall)

Posted by Larry Westfall - EDWARDSBURG, MI - Friend   February 10, 2016

Dear Priya and family,

I want to extend my deepest sympathies to you. While I only met Dr. Mezhir a couple of times, I want you to know how important he was to me. He performed my dad's Whipple and, thanks to him, my dad is still alive today. I know many of the people here have been touched by his desire to help others and, thanks to him, many people are survivors because of him. My family owes so much to him, and I am sure many other families would say the same. Unfortunately cancer is a cruel beast and has taken away a brilliant man who was changing the world. And this fact absolutely breaks my heart. Please know that James will be remembered, not only by you, but by all the people whose lives he has touched. I wish I could express my sorrows for you, but there's just no words to describe the loss of someone so special. My heart is with you.

Posted by Melissa - Waterloo, IA - Acquaintance   February 09, 2016

To: Jim Mezhir- From Sam Leone. Jim, I am so sorry read about loss of your son. I share in your grief and pain. I see he has a brilliant young man with any accomplishments. It seems a sin that God would take a man of his talent. But they tell me there's a reason for everything. I have a difficult time understanding the reason why the good Lord takes young men with so much offer our problem communities. God bless you and your family in this most difficult time

Posted by Sam Leone - Buffalo, NY   February 09, 2016

My condolences to the Mezhir family. I remember Jim as a young man on Carlton 3 in the late 1980's. I worked with him when he was a resident at the same hospital several years ago. It was an honor to be part of his care on Carlton 3, so many years ago. God bless you all.

Posted by Kathy    February 09, 2016


Dear Priya and family of Dr. Mezhir,

I was a patient of James for more than 3-1/2 years. The first appointment I had with him I came to know how deeply he cared for his patients. Waiting for him to enter the exam room we knew we could always count on him bringing some extra items, some of those his patients and their relatives could always use, comfort, understanding, hope and friendship. We were ever so happy to share with Dr. Mezhir and his family the produce from our organic garden. May the love of friends, associates and patients be a source of comfort and strength for your family. We will always hold a place in our hearts for James.

Michael and Carol Alber - North Liberty, IA

Posted by Michael and Carol Alber - North Liberty, IA - Friend   February 09, 2016

I send my sincere condolences during this very difficult time. May you all find comfort from the words found at 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

Posted by A friend   February 09, 2016

James was my surgery resident when I was a medical student, and he is one of only two residents I remember from my training. He always took time to teach and mentor medical students-- even when it might have been a hardship or nuisance. I hope his daughters can call upon these accounts in the future to remember what an extraordinary man their father was, and I will keep his family in my prayers.

Posted by Stephanie Leeds - Old Greenwich, CT   February 09, 2016

I send my sincere condolences during this very difficult time. May you all find comfort from the words found at 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

Posted by A friend   February 09, 2016

Sending my deepest sympathy. Dr. Mezhir was an amazing surgeon. He did surgery on my husband and we were able to have another three years of memories. He was recommended by his original oncologist, what a recommendation.

Posted by Trudy - Friend   February 09, 2016

My deepest respexts

Posted by Heather Miller - NY - Acquaintance   February 08, 2016

My deepest condolences to his wife and girls.
Dr. Mezhir was my dads doctor about five years ago. I will never forget his smile, kindness and the calm he brought to my family during a difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Posted by Casey    February 08, 2016

Thinking of you all at this heartbreaking time. Forever in our thoughts and prayers

Posted by Lavinia, Mark, Graziella and Benedicto - Manchester, England - Friend   February 08, 2016

I remember James as a resident at the University of Chicago. He was a delight to work with. What a wonderful career. Sorry that it ended so soon.

Posted by Jennifer - Bloomington, IN - Coworker   February 08, 2016

Dr. Mezhir was such a wonderful person and surgeon! One day he came into the operating room and asked how everyone was doing. I just shook my head and my eyes teared up. He came over to me, took my hand and we prayed. He always helped others and was such a compassionate man. I will forever remember him! Thank you, Dr. Mezhir!

Posted by Lynn Fitzpatrick - Coralville, IA - Coworker   February 08, 2016

My family and I came to know Dr. Mehzir during some of the hardest days of our lives after my mother became very ill from a surgical complication. He was an angel that dropped out of the sky that cold day in February 2013. After numerous surgeries and days of dedication he saved my mother's life. I will forever be grateful to him. She is now an amazing grandmother to my 20 month old daughter. Dr. Mehzir was an outstanding human being. His radiant smile could brighten the moment even during the worst of times. He brought such comfort to us. He was the most talented and compassionate surgeon I have ever met. It is hard to understand why God would take such an amazing person at such a young age, but I trust He has a greater plan for Dr. Mezhir that I pray we will all have the privilege of knowing someday. I will strive to be more like Dr. Mezhir in my practice as a Physician Assistant. Thoughts and prayers to all of his family, friends and co-workers.

Posted by Carissa Spain - DeWitt, IA   February 08, 2016

My deepest sympathies go out to the family of Dr. Mezhir. He performed surgery on me over three years ago to treat a tumor in my liver. It was an extremely long surgery and I was in the hospital for quite a while but that allowed me to get to know the man. I will miss him dearly and the ribbing I gave him about his ties. By the way, I am still cancer free thanks to Doc.

Posted by Jim Rohweder - Grundy Center, IA - Friend   February 08, 2016


We are truly sorry for your loss. Our hearts ache for you and your family, and our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you at this most difficult time.

Posted by Kevin, Charlene, Chad & Casey Kelly - Wheatfield, NY   February 08, 2016

To the family of James we would like to extend our condolences. What an accomplished young man with a beautiful family who was taken away much too soon. God must have a wonderful plan for him. May you find the strength and faith to endure this loss. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Posted by Carol and Terry Henschel - Niagara Falls, NY   February 08, 2016


I worked as a secretary in the University of Iowa Department of Surgery at the time Dr. Mezhir was hired, and we had occasion to work together from time to time. He once paid me the nicest compliment one could ask for when he said that someday, if he was lucky, he would have a secretary like me. I will never forget his kind words, or his tenacity with respect to his work. It was my pleasure and honor to know him.

Posted by Judy Pope - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   February 08, 2016

I was deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Mezhir's passing. My heart felt condolences to you and your family. My dad had pancreatic cancer and Dr. Mezhir was his oncologist in Iowa City. On April 13th, 2013, he performed a whipple surgery that gave my dad two more years of life. He treated my dad as if he was his own. He was an exceptional humanitarian and he gave the gift of two more years of life to my dad. We could never repay him with enough gratitude. I pray that your heart and soul will find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Posted by Shawna Viktor - Davenport, IA - Friend   February 08, 2016

My deepest condolences to everyone. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Posted by Kelly Clark - Grand Island, NY - Friend   February 08, 2016

There are no words to describe how much Dr. Mezhir meant to myself and my family, he took care of my father several years ago and gave my dad another chance at life, we were all treated with warmth and love my this man, he will truly be missed. God Bless him and his family.

Kendra Gould

Posted by A friend   February 08, 2016

To Priya, Malinee and Anjali, you have our deepest sympathy and will be in our prayers at this difficult time.

Posted by Colleen Sedlacek - Tiffin, IA   February 07, 2016

So sorry to hear of Jamie's passing it seems like just yesterday I would see him and his brothers over my fence in deveaux,swimming in their pool. My daughters became good friends with him as the years passed and when I heard how successful he had become and the field he choose to devote his life to I said what a remarkable young man he had become and how proud his parents must be of him. Rest in peace Jamie and God bless your family during this trying time

Posted by Mrs frank paynter - North tonawanda, NY - Neighbor   February 07, 2016

May you enjoy your eternal reward with God in Heaven for your service to Him and all his children during your too short journey here on Earth. Rest in peace!

Posted by - IA   February 07, 2016

We are sorry for the loss of Dr. Mezhir. We send our sympathies to his family and to his community. He was the good doctor for our nephew who was battling cancer at the same time. He will be greatly missed.

Robert & Bonnie Baker

Posted by Bonnie Baker - Greentop, MO   February 07, 2016

Anjali, Malinee and Priya, you are all in my prayers and have my deepest sympathy. Girls, your dad was so very proud of both of you!

Posted by Julie Lacina - Iowa City, IA   February 07, 2016

He was dedicated to making a difference for his patients and the residents he helped train.

Posted by Andrew Philip    February 07, 2016

Dear Priya, Malinee, and Anjali:
James' was a great colleague and friend of the Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program at the University of Iowa. He always lived his life with courage, grace, and wisdom. It was an honor and privilege to know and work with James. He was working on a new therapy protocol for gastric cancer when he passed away. We will continue his work and hopefully open the clinical trial he wanted to see succeed in his honor. James' was a gentleman and a scholar as well as a great family man and will be greatly missed by all of us.
Douglas R. Spitz, PhD
Professor and Director,Free Radical and Radiation Biology Program, University of Iowa

Posted by Douglas Spitz - Iowa City, IA   February 07, 2016

I am a better person for knowing James, and sadness isn't a strong enough word to describe how I feel. James devoted his life to helping people, he was an incredible surgeon and I am honored to call him my friend. Every communication I had with James ended with a "Love you buddy". I will miss that immensely, but I will cherish the time I was able to spend with my "Doc" forever.

A daycare center on the hospital campus brought our children together as friends, and through that connection we developed an amazing friendship with Priya, James, and their girls. My deepest sympathies go out to the Mezhir family.

Love you Doc!

Posted by Terry Gromacki - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 07, 2016

Virginia, we are so heartbroken over the passing of your son James,what a fabulous legacy he left. He is definitely an angel looking over his wife Pyira and daughters. Please know your family is in our prayers.

Posted by June and James Bruno - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Friend   February 07, 2016

With all our love, and deepest sympathy.

The Wardynskis

Posted by Lisa and Skip Wardynski - Buffalo, NY - Friend   February 07, 2016

Virginia. No words can make your hurt disappear. My deepest condolences to uou and your family.

Posted by Marianna Pisano - Friend   February 07, 2016

Nicholas and I send our loving thoughts and prayers to every one in the Mezhir Family. We have know Jamie since he was a young man and watched and admired his strength and courage as he battled Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The dedication to his education and his ultimate choice to become an oncologist are a testament to his goal to "pay it forward" to other cancer patients.
After reading so many of the loving and glowing tributes already submitted, it is evident that he touched so many lives in such a positive way. What wonderful, lasting memories.

With all of our love and prayers sent to each member of the Mezhir Family...
Cathie and Nick LoCascio

Posted by Catherine and Nicholas LoCascio - Leesburg, FL - Friend   February 07, 2016


Godmother Savino Johhnny please accept my sincerest and deepest sympathy for your loss. I hope it comforts everyone that you are not alone and I share in your grief. Please extend my love and condolences to all family members.

Posted by Peter DeMarti - Henderson, NV - Family   February 07, 2016

I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Mehzir's passing. I only met him one time and that was after her performed the Whipple surgery on my father four years ago to remove his pancreatic cancer tumor. Dr. Mehzir was kind and compassionate and my dad felt a strong bond with him, even keeping in touch after the surgery as Dad continued to fight his battle. My dad passed away in October of 2015, but I know this for a fact, without the surgery Dr. Mehzir performed on my dad, we would not have had any additional years with him. Dad kept in touch with him until shortly before Dad died, knowing that Dr. Mehzir was fighting his own battle by then. Please know how grateful we were for Dr. Mehzir and all he did for my dad. My condolences to your entire family.

Posted by Kaye Rollins-Siders    February 07, 2016

I am so sorry to hear this. James was not only a childhood friend to me he was a great friend to so many. I have such great memories of him.
My prayers go out to his whole family.
Heaven gained an amazing angel.

Posted by Melissa Paynter - Niagara Falls, NY - Friend   February 06, 2016

I was deeply saddened to hear of Dr. Mezhir's passing. He was a dedicated and gifted surgeon and I enjoyed working with him. His concern for his patients was always present, and I have great respect for his strength to continue working in the face of his recurrent illness. I will miss his humor and dedication.
Mary O'Brien, CRNA

Posted by Mary O'Brien, CRNA - Swisher, IA - Coworker   February 06, 2016

I am so sorry and shocked to hear about the loss of Jim. My family and I knew him very well during his late high school and early college years. He was an exceptional young man... He went through so much at such a young age and persevered. Went on to be such a success. His family must be so proud. I'm sorry he was taken from you way to soon. My heart,thoughts and prayers go out to Jims entire family. RIP Jim from the Meyer family.

Posted by Erin Meyer Bongiovanni - Tonawanda, NY - Friend   February 06, 2016

Dr. Mezhir walked into our lives on a day we didn't know how much we would come to cherish him, his skill as a doctor, and his attitude as a person. He led the team that treated my rare cancer (PMP) when it was on the verge of killing me. Yet, nearly four years later, I am still here. I thank God everyday for bringing James and I together. His passion for his work and his dedication to his patients gave me the strength to push on when it was almost too hard to keep going. He was a wonderful, warm human who enjoyed telling us about his girls and his beautiful wife. He clearly loved his life. My family and I mourn his passing and celebrate the gifts he shared while with us. We will never forget Dr. James Mezhir. Our condolences to his family. Gene and Suzy Richter

Posted by Gene Richter - Solon, IA - Friend   February 06, 2016

I will remember Jim as an extremely kind and compassionate physician and colleague.

Clark J. Obr, M.D.

Posted by Clark J. Obr M.D. - Coralvlle, IA - Coworker   February 06, 2016

To the Mezhir Family I am sorry for your loss. Please except my deepest condolences. May God Bless him and may he rest in peace with our Lord and Savior.

Posted by Paul Bax - Niagara Falls, NY - Friend   February 06, 2016

My deepest sympathy for your loss! In a way, I feel I am the first of Jaimie's "patients". At 17, I had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, a similar cancer to what Jaime experienced. Through mutual "baseball" friends, Jaime connected with me, and acted as a mentor to help get me through my illness. He had just finished his treatments at the time I started, back in '91. He was a wonderful help, and such an inspiration to me. I knew that Jaime had done well, and had used his experience to help others, but I had no idea of the extent, until I read the tributes. What an enormous loss! He most certainly was a tremendous help to so many people. I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing, especially to a disease that he worked so tirelessly to help other's with. RIP, Jaime!

Posted by Trish (Barthel) Pileggi - Niagara Falls, NY - Acquaintance   February 06, 2016

Priya and family,

I am so sorry to learn of the loss of your husband, father, friend and companion. He impacted so many residents with his eagerness to teach and bright smile. He was a talented surgeon and mentor. I remember him being so excited that his first Whipple patient as an attending didn't ask him how old he was. Sending you love from Colorado.

Posted by Susan Hagen - Boulder,, CO   February 06, 2016

Our hearts are heavy today to learn of Jim's passing, he was one of my sons closest childhood friends and will always be remembered as one of the nicest people we have ever meet. Our condolences go out to his entire family, and may God sustain you through this heartbreaking time.

Posted by Monica Swain and Family - Grand Island, NY - Friend   February 06, 2016

My deepest condolences Dr.Mezhir was not only a great physician but also a wonderful human being. I am sure he will be missed by everyone he touched with his kindness and genuine concern for his patients and those around him. God Bless those which he left behind.

Posted by Gary Ricketts - Molibe, IL - Friend   February 06, 2016


My sincere sympathy and condolences to your whole family at this very sad time. Love hugs and prayers.

Posted by Tricia Harpster - Tonawanda, NY - Friend   February 06, 2016

I'll miss you forever Jim. Words do no justice as to how much you meant to me.

Posted by Bruce S Swain - Grand Island, NY - Friend   February 06, 2016

My thoughts and prayers with Dr. Mezhir. I worked with him at university of chicago

Posted by Pamela merriman rn - Chicago, IL - Coworker   February 06, 2016

My deepest condolences go out to Jim's friends and family.
I went to school with Jim. He had a kind and gentle soul. He was always smiling. It's wonderful to see how much good he did and what an impact he had on other people's lives. His family must be very proud.
I'm so sorry for this great loss.

Posted by Megan Hug - Friend   February 06, 2016

I have tears in my eyes as I read through all of the memory book entries. James touched the lives of so many people through performing difficult surgeries, providing comfort, support, and encouragement to patients and their families, through his research and work to battle cancer, through his faith, and his love for his family. My heart is heavy for his family as they will miss him so much. I had the privilege of meeting James and Priya. Cancer brought our lives together. May all of us take the example James set and use it in our own lives to never give up, to do our best, and to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Posted by Lois Bird - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 06, 2016

Our lives crossed in what seems like a blink in time. It, however, has made a lasting impression on our family. James' kindness and optimism will never be forgotten. Our deepest condolences go out to you and the girls.

The Dyers

Posted by Melissa Dyer - Memphis, TN - Friend   February 06, 2016

To the family of Dr. Mezhir: As I sit and read the wonderful tributes to Dr. Mezhir, I find that he must have treated everyone the same as he treated my husband and myself. Funny, thought we were the only ones he was so compassionate and caring to. Of course, we knew better, but while my husband was in his care, he made us feel like we were the only patient he ever had. He would hug me when I cried and was afraid, he hugged my husband when he was scared he would never get better and told him he was strong and would get through the bad times and be stronger than ever. We will never, ever forget him and his kind, caring, compassionate bedside manor and of course that smile that is embedded into our minds forever. Our sincere sympathy to his family, wife and daughters and we are so sorry we never got together for that golf game we always talked about. Rest in Peace, Dr. Mezhir, you will never be forgotten and we will be forever in your debt.

Posted by Bob and Suzi Webb - West Liberty, IA - Acquaintance   February 06, 2016

My deepest sympathy goes out to Jim's family. I grew up with James, and he was extraordinarily nice as a child. I am so proud of him now as I read about how many lives he touched.

Posted by Donna Wegfehrt    February 06, 2016

My deepest sympathies. Dr. Mezhir performed surgery on my father in 2013. We have never had a surgeon and team so caring as they were. Unfortunately, my Dad lost his battle later that year, but Dr. Mezhir followed his journey until the end - I'm am so grateful though as my dad got to walk me down the aisle that year before he passed. RIP

Posted by Karen LaGrange - Swisher, IA - Acquaintance   February 06, 2016

So sorry for your loss. James was a great guy. I knew him when he lived in Niagara Falls, NY

Posted by Kory Kochan - Niagara Falls, NY - Friend   February 05, 2016

To a man who dedicated so much of his life to his patients and research, who was always pleasant to work with and had a great sense of humor. May his research live on to help others in his name. May his family remember him always with pride as he was always very proud of you. Laurence McFerren

Posted by Laurence McFerren - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   February 05, 2016

Four years ago last month I hugged the Dr., I had to, he had just performed the miracle of removing a 15 pound tumor from my wife. I can still hear his voice when he said "the monster is out". We cannot attend the service on Saturday as we are spending winter in Florida, another gift he gave us, thank you.

Posted by Mike Dulaney - Cedar Rapids, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

Dr Mezhir performed the Whipple 2years ago on my husband and did a superb job. His bedside manner was awesome! My husband was a retired US Marshal and Dr Mezhir and my husband talked about the movie Fugitive at almost every appt. The medical profession has lost one of the best. My sincerest condolences to his wife and daughters. My husband lost his battle with pancreatic cancer and so now the two of them are watching Fugitive together. Thank-you Dr Mezhir.

Posted by Susan Blome - Cedar Rapids, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

My condolences to the Mezhir family. I am lost for words. Jim was a great man and physician. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Posted by Kim Hemm - Washington, IA - Coworker   February 05, 2016

I met James through little league baseball in Niagara Falls. He became one of my best friends and was the most genuine person I have ever met. I will never forget when he called me from the hospital after his first surgery as a teenager. He was so strong and battled so much during his lifetime. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his wife and two young daughters. James will be sadly missed. Rest in piece Mezhir.

Posted by John Rizzo - Rochester, NY - Friend   February 05, 2016

I met James when I was faculty at UIHC.
Very good surgeon, great guy outside the OR. I was inspired by his courage when he continued to work and be productive after his diagnosis. Set a example for all of us. Miss you mate ! RIP

Posted by Avi Kumar - Nashville, TN - Coworker   February 05, 2016

Dr. Mehzir diagnosed my husband with pancreatic cancer almost 2 years ago. He sat in the office with us, took my husband by the shoulders, looked him straight in the eye and said "I will take care of you like you are my family". We felt so scared but so blessed to have this wonderful, compassionate man as our caregiver. Unfortunately, he himself became ill shortly after and we were moved to a different surgeon - but Dr. Mehzir stayed in touch with us, emailing me to check on Ron and also taking the time to call Ron when he was struggling after his Whipple. He spoke to both of us for 45 minutes, offering reassurance and hope - even when he was so ill himself. What a profound impact he has clearly had on so many. God's blessings to his family and we will never forget him.

Posted by Lynne Rothrock - Cedar Rapids, IA   February 05, 2016

Dr. Mezhir was my surgeon in 2013. I have such vivid memories of his taking my hands and telling me that he will take good care of me. His compassion was more than I could have ever expected! I appreciate knowing him and having him indeed take good care of me. My sympathy to everyone who knew him and admired him and especially to his family.

Posted by Joann Chizek - Tipton, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

There are no words to be spoken to express our heartfelt sympathy. We now have an extra angel watching over all of us. Know that we are here for all of you whenever you may need us. Sending all our love and hugs to each one of you.

Posted by Phil, Cheryl, Philip & Kara - Grand Island, NY - Family   February 05, 2016


We are deeply saddened and at a loss for words. Please know that your family is in our prayers and hearts and we stand beside you in sorrow. James held a very special place in our hearts and he will be dearly missed.

Posted by George & Kamila Mejias - Coralville, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

Our whole family was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the most amazing doctor we experienced during our journey with my mother-in-law Jan Niebes' pancreatic cancer diagnoses. We all believe that we were so lucky to have her nearly 2 years after her diagnosis. We know our time would have been significantly less without Dr. Mezhir's caring and compassionate surgical care! Every time Jan had an appointment James sat and held Jan's hands and gave her hope. Jan adored him and was proud he was her doctor! James called out to the waiting room nearly every hour during her 6 hour surgery to update us and he even cried during the last phone call telling me he was emotional because he "couldn't get all the cancer". James took the time to send Jan a Christmas card and when we were concerned his immediate email responses showed how much he cared! Our family will forever be greatful for Dr. James Mezhir. We send our deepest sympathy to his family, especially his wife and daughters. Rest in Peace Dr!

Posted by Lindsay Niebes - Blairstown, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

Priya our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Darrel and I will be forever grateful to James for the gift of life he gave Darrel. He was able to see our son get married and the birth of our two grandsons. James was such a wonderful man. We were honored to get to know him. Hold those memories close to your heart. Bless you all.
Darrel and Cynthia Courtney
Coralville, Iowa

Posted by Darrel and Cynthia Courtney - Coralville, IA   February 05, 2016

He was a great Doctor, well liked by all his patients. He genuinely cared for his patients and prayed for them. He will be greatly missed.

Posted by Dr. Samuel K. Wood - Cedar Rapids, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016


I am so sad to hear of the loss of Dr Mezhir. When my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer he was given just a couple months to live. Dr. Mezhir's amazing skill, care, and compassion ended up giving us 2 extra years with my dad and we are forever grateful to him. The world has lost a great doctor and man and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. My sincere condolences to his family.

Posted by Amy Friedel    February 05, 2016

Because of Dr. Mezhir, we were able to have over 2 good years with my dad before he passed away from pancreatic cancer. He got to walk me down the aisle, see my son be born and spend the first year of his life with him. To echo many others, Dr. Mezhir was the only one who was able to really instill hope in my dad, he always felt better after seeing him, and James always made the time to see him, even if there was nothing really for him to do for Dad other than talk. I am so very sorry for his family and daughters. I remember he talked to my dad about raising 2 daughters and sought advice, he hoped so hard to be a good dad to them. What a tremendous loss.

Posted by Carrie Campbell - Palo, IA   February 05, 2016

Dear Virginia,
My deepest sympathy to you, Savino and John with the passing of James. I met him almost 34 years ago as a sweet and kind boy and in a blink of an eye he became a true gentleman and outstanding doctor. May our Lord watch over and bless you during this most difficult time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Lisa Ferenc

Posted by Lisa Ferenc - Grand Island, NY   February 05, 2016

I am sorry to hear of the loss of Dr. Mezhir. I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He performed Whipple surgery on me 3 years ago. I am doing good. I would not be here had it not been for him. He was a wonderful caring man who will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to his family.

Posted by Terri Moenck - Cedar Rapids - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Mezhir's passing. I had the pleasure of working with him as a staff nurse on 4JPW. My deepest sympathies to Mrs. Mezhir and their children.

Posted by Becky Latta - Lone Tree, IA - Coworker   February 05, 2016

James was an amazing person. His energy and enthusiasm for his research was one of a kind. He will be greatly missed.

Posted by Alicia Olivier - Starkville, MS - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

I was so sad to hear of James' passing. I have had the pleasure of working with him at the Journal of Surgical Research for several years now. He was such a great man. His passion for his work was inspiring, he made everyone around him want to work harder. I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time..

Posted by Susan Newcombe - Plymouth, MA - Coworker   February 05, 2016

Dear Priya, Malinee, and Anjali,
My prayers are with you.
Your dear husband and father is now in God's gentle hands. Please know others are praying for you at this difficult time.
Take care. Celeste Vincent

Posted by Celeste Vincent - Iowa City, IA   February 05, 2016


To the family and friends of James:
I am heartbroken to hear this news. Please accept my deepest condolences. James was such a unique and amazing individual. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work with him. I will always remember his intensity (which could be a bit intimidating at times!), passion for research, astounding intellect, and warm personality. But above all, I will remember his 1000-watt smile. Shine on, James.

Posted by Lyse Norian - Birmingham, AL - Coworker   February 05, 2016

I am so sad to hear of dr. Mezhir passing. He was a wonderful surgeon and save my life in 2012 removing a mass from my pancreas. He really cared about his patients. My prayers go out to your family.

Posted by Peggy Hangartner - postville - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

Dear Priya and girls,
We are so sorry for your loss. I still remember those wonderful times we shared as friends and neighbors. We remember James as a great person, colleague, husband, and father. Please stay strong. You and your family are in our thoughts.
Take care,
Fang and Songhai

Posted by Fang Lin - Iowa city, IA - Neighbor   February 05, 2016

My most sincere condolences to the Mezhir family.
Doctor Mezhir and his team took care of me with tremendous compassion ,skill and faith during my health crisis (PMP) and saved my life. He meant so much to me and my entire family. We all think of him as one of us, as I'm sure many of his patient's family's do. Because of him, I am able to be here today,enjoying my life with my family. He was our angel, and we will never forget him. Godspeed James.

Posted by Sally Robbins & Family - Lone Tree, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

Dr. Mezhir, a compassionate surgeon who cared for his patients as if they were his family. We lost a caring person who's skills were matched only by his empathy for his patients and their family, RIP .

Posted by Kamath Family - Iowa City, IA   February 05, 2016

So Sorry to hear of Dr. Mezhir passing. He was an amazing person. After finding out my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013. He sat on the bed with my husband I @ Mercy in CR and cried with us. He told us he could help us which in most cases he couldnt. He gave us the amazing gift of one year of life my husband otherwise wouldn't have. He did the Whipple procedure @ U of I hospital. For this I will forever be grateful to him. Just know my thoughts and prayers are with his family in this most difficult time. God bless you all!

Posted by Marlus K. LaKose & Family - Cedar Rapids, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

Dr. Mezhir was a man of rare and remarkable courage, empathy, and faith. I walked away from every personal and professional interaction I ever had with him with a wish that I could know him better. James, I am promising myself to work as hard as I can to be a husband, father, doctor and friend who reflects a bit of God's love nearly as brightly as you did.

Posted by Clifford Cho - Madison, WI - Classmate   February 05, 2016

I had the humbling opportunity to do research with James over the last 5 years. He exemplified a dedication to his patients and cancer research that was unparalleled, and is something every physician and scientist should strive for. He also cared deeply for his students and their success. I will be forever grateful for his mentoring, teaching, encouragement, advice and friendship. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed by all.

Posted by Trenton Place - Iowa City, IA - Student   February 05, 2016

I am so so sorry to hear of Dr. Mezhir's passing. He took care of my mom when she had cancer and always called her "sweetie." Dr. Mezhir was a gem. My mom passed away in 2014 and our only regret was that Dr. Mezhir wasn't there to treat her at the end. I wish you all our condolences. I am truly devastated to hear of this news.

Posted by Anant Kamath - Coralville, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

Jamie was a blessing to the world and his memory and inspiration will live through so many.

Posted by Sue Bland - Niagara Falls, NY - Friend   February 05, 2016

Priya, we have met a few times at odd places such as Enopi, mall, etc. Although we don't know each other very well, I feel compelled to write this note......from one human being to another. So sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in our prayers.

Posted by Archana Laroia - CORALVILLE, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

Dr. Mezhir was an amazing doctor and human being. We were so lucky to have crossed his path. He saved my dad's life 2 years ago, performing the Whipple Surgery. My brother and I referred to him as "Magical Mezhir" because he alone could always reassure my dad when he had any doubts.
We sent Dr. Mezhir a picture of my dad after a round of golf last summer to express our gratitude for being able to still play golf with him. He responded to my e-mail in minutes with kind words and hope.
What a great loss for the medical world and for humankind. My prayers to his family, whom he talked about often in our appointments.

Posted by Chris Day - Cedar Rapids, IA   February 05, 2016

My deepest condolences to his wife, daughters, and his family. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Mezhir for the last 5 year in his research lab. He was very passionate about this part of his job, however, he was much more passionate about his patients. For him the patients truly did come first. You will be missed James.

Posted by Brianne O'Leary - IA - Coworker   February 05, 2016


All of us at Galera Therapeutics are deeply saddened by James' passing, and join his family, friends and colleagues in mourning the loss of a great man. Several have commented on his incredible skill and compassion as a physician, but he was also a brilliant research scientist and that is how we will remember him. And as a collaborator he was always eager, insightful and a pleasure to work with. I personally would like his daughters to know that his work in this area, while deprived of his leadership far too early, will not stop, and that his ideas and discoveries continue to advance in the war on cancer. In fact, his research will grow into treatments that save the lives of not just one patient at a time, but of thousands of patients.

Posted by Al Beardsley - St. Louis, MO - Coworker   February 05, 2016

I met James at the Jason Eckrich Memorial golf outing I was sponsoring to raise money for Iowa Make-a-Wish and UofI Dance Marathon. This was an outing in memory of my son that had passed away from leukemia. It was a very busy day for me, but James made sure he took time to greet and speak with me. I'm so sorry for your loss. Although I only met him one time I heard others speak of his kindness and I enjoyed our short visit.

Posted by Jacki Eckrich - North Liberty, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

What a loss to Mr. Mezhir's family, church, community, UIHC and future patients that could have benefited from his knowledge. Dr. Mezhir preformed a whipple procedure on me three years ago. I don't think I ever bonded with anyone like I did with Dr. Mezhir. What a great man. Caring, thoughtful and always upbeat. We will always be grateful for his help.
Jim & Lorna Rump

Posted by Jim & Lorna Rump - Cedar Rapids, IA   February 05, 2016

Peace to you Jim, many fond memories today of our youth after hearing of your passing. May the promise of God's peace & goodness comfort your family during this difficult time.

Posted by Mark K - Orlando, FL - Friend   February 05, 2016

James you worked so tirelessly in the pursuit of oncology and helped so many others lead fuller and healthier lives because of your knowledge and passion for the field.You and my father really had a special relationship and I know you are with him today in the hands of God. I'll never forget our times we spent together at Jeanie's some years ago, it seems like yesterday.

Posted by Tim Clabeaux - Tampa, FL   February 05, 2016


You will be missed Dr. James.

Posted by Kathy Murray - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   February 05, 2016


Jim, Sometimes people live a long life because they have lots to learn about being a caring, compassionate person. Your son, Jamie, learned all these things in his short life. I lit a candle for his passing and for your continued strength during this difficulty time.

Posted by Luba Chliwniak - Niagara Falls, NY - Friend   February 05, 2016


To Dr. Mezhir's family and loved ones - I am so deeply sorry for your loss. It has been an absolute blessing to work with Dr. Mezhir as a member of his research team for the past 2-1/2 years. The example he set will remain with me for the rest of my life: inspiring me to do the best I can do not only professionally but also - and especially - as a person. I thank God for James' life and send you prayers for comfort and peace and strength at this time.

Posted by Michael Brumm - Iowa City, IA   February 05, 2016


Dr. James Mezhir, taken too soon, will be missed by so many. He performed Whipple Surgery almost five years ago I am still here today because of him. My family will never forget him and his cheerful smile. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Deepest Sympathy. Joseph & Randa Jones

Posted by Joseph & Randa Jones - Taaylor Ridge, IL - Friend   February 05, 2016

What a tragic loss for all of us. I morn Jim's loss and the loss to his wife and daughters as I know he was a great husband and father. I also morn the loss to all of the suffering cancer patients that will no longer benefit from his gifts and skills.

Jim became our friend in December 2012 when he did surgery on my wife for Mesothelioma and just over 3 years later she still shows no evidence of a return of her cancer. I have never known a more compassionate person. He was never too busy to help us with any concerns.

I will always have a debt of grattitude for his healing hands. I am a better person for having known him these past 3+ years.

I pray for healing for his family and I also rest knowing he is at God's right hand with peace and happiness for an eternity. Please know that we are here for the family and ANYTHING we can do I feel is just a small payment on my debt of grattitude to Jim.

With all of my love and prayers
Chuck Freeman

Posted by Chuck Freeman - Kalona, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

My deepest sympathies in this time. Dr. Mezhir performed surgery on my father 2 years ago April. I remember hearing stories of how he was reviewing my dads files for hours of trying to find a way to keep my dad alive, he was the one and only chance we had. We have never had a surgeon so caring as he was. Those memories will stay with us forever, and remember how he saved my Dads life, while fighting to keep living him self. Dr. Mezhir is the only reason my Dad is still alive.

Posted by Rachel Sagan - Cedar Rapids, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016


With love and sympathy to a wonderful family, Priya, the girls, James's parents and family and Priya's parents and family. So fortunate to know all of you.

Lynn and Stu Weinstein

Posted by Lynn and Stuart Weinstein - IOWA CITY, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

Dr. Mezhir performed Whipple surgery on my wife almost five years ago. She was suffering from pancreatic cancer. She's recovered nicely due to Dr. Mezhir';s expertise. She remarked this morning that "I'd never have thought that, five years later, I'd be alive and he would not!" We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Mezhir and I'm sure that there are many others who do, as well.

Posted by Darrell Hennessey - Marion, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

I am sad to hear one of the great doctors in cancer research, surgery, teaching and care is gone. What a great man. I couldn't wait to see his infectious smile when he would walk into my room. His voice gave me strength and if I needed more I would go to the U of I Doctor page and listen to him talk about his goals and hopes for cancer research. I can still hear him say, I got the cancer all out, your going to be fine. There was a large billboard on Hwy6 in Coralville that had that big smiling face on it and said "Doctor of the Year". I always smiled when I would drive by.
What a great Doctor gone too soon.

Posted by Sue Dolan - iowa city   February 05, 2016

We send our most sincere condolences to the family of Jamie Mezhir. He did much good and will be remembered for making a difference in many lives.

Posted by Michael and Trish Pikus - NY - Friend   February 05, 2016

A life that was a inspiration for me and all who knew what a special guy he was.

Posted by Alex and Randee Greenberg - West Falls, NY - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

I knew James through a men's group at Parkview Church. I will always remember how he handled his battle with cancer and used it as an opportunity to share Jesus Christ with those he knew. I am heartened in this sad time to think of James in the arms of Jesus.

Posted by Mike Farley - Iowa City, IA   February 05, 2016

Our hearts are broken for the Mezhir and Nanula families. James was a wonderful husband, father, brother and son. We have a lost a great doctor, who was destined to save many lives. James has been a family friend since he was born. He was a happy go lucky child with a smile on his face for all. He was a beautiful curly haired little guy. He became a magnificent adult that we are proud to know. Our deepest sympathy to the family. Jon and Jean Roth

Posted by Jon and Jean Rith - Grand Island, NY - Friend   February 05, 2016

Sending you all much love through this most difficult time. May James rest in peace, he will be missed by so many.

Posted by Rachel Headings - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 05, 2016

The Lord has been presented with a very special gift in Dr. James Mezhir. With deepest sympathy for the family of Dr. James - wife - daughters - mother (Virginia) - father (James) - Jamie will be forever in our prayers.

Carl and Judy Panzarella

Posted by Carl and Judy Panzarella - Buffalo, NY - Family   February 05, 2016

James was an amazing scientist, mentor, and friend. We worked together when he started at Iowa researching pancreatic cancer. His passion was infectious among everyone he worked with. As I start my career as an independent scientist, if I even have a fraction of the drive James had for science and medicine, I know I will make an impact. He will be forever missed.

Posted by Adam J. Case - Omaha, NE - Student   February 05, 2016


He was a wonderful person and Doctor I will never forget the hope gave to my family when my sister in law had to have cancer surgery he was and will always be a special person to me and my family.

Posted by Lynda Jandl - Cedar Rapids, IA - Acquaintance   February 05, 2016

This man whom reached out to me in a moment in time in my life when i was a very sick man gave me hope , encouragement , and the strength to get thru the cancer treatment needed to survive one more day . In this life no greater love can one have but to serve his fellow man in suffering . I honor you James Mezhir with all do respect to your family and friends whom now are in mourning for your passing with a prayer to our God whom loves us so much that he too even gave his own Son and his life for all . One day we will meet my friend and celebrate a new beginning.

In Truth and Spirit

Tim Prosser

Posted by Timothy Prosser - Old Hickory - Friend   February 05, 2016

I am so very sorry to see this. I worked with James at University of Chicago. He was a fun, sweet, caring guy. My deepest condolences to his family.

Posted by Tracy Blair - Chicago, IL - Friend   February 05, 2016


It seems that only the good die young and Dr. Mezhir was truly one of the good. As my husband Tim's surgeon he was the best and I feel proud to have known him. I will be praying for his family. James, say hi to Tim when you get to heaven, he thought so highly of you as did my entire family. The world is a much sadder place without your smiling face.

Posted by Cindy Ketchmark - Davenport, IA   February 05, 2016

Jamie was an extraordinary man, compassionate and dedicated to helping people. May God wrap his arms around him and hold him forever. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family - May he rest in peace
Jim and Kathy Abbondanza

Posted by Kathy and Jim Abbondanza - Lewiston, NY - Friend   February 04, 2016

Thank you Dr. Mezhir. You preformed life saving surgery on both of my uncles. They always spoke so highly of you. My deepest condolences to your family, friends and the many patients lives you selflessly saved.

Posted by T. Jones - TX   February 04, 2016

Thank you Dr. Mezhir. You preformed live saving surgery on both of my uncles. They always spoke so highly of you. My deepest condolences to your family, friends and the many patients lives you selflessly saved.

Posted by T. Jones - TX   February 04, 2016

We will miss James dearly here at the Department of Trauma Surgery at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He was a stellar mentee and a rare and compassionate human being.

Posted by Faran Bokhari-Chairman Trauma - Chicago, IL - Teacher   February 04, 2016

Priya and girls,
We are sharing your sorrow tonight at the death of Dr. James. What would we have done without him as we cared for Dave Miller. He meant so much to Dave and to us. May you find comfort in the everlasting arms of Jesus.
With love and prayers,
Stan and Deb.

Posted by Stan and Deb McCreedy - Ainsworth, IA - Friend   February 04, 2016

James was an inspiration to our entire family -- spiritually, relationally, and professionally. His faith was not only compelling but infectious. I am indebted to the interest he put in our son Jon to inspire him to become the best doctor possible. Working with James on a research project was life-changing, but James' tender and loving concern for each patient individually was nothing short of inspirational. Our fondest affections and love extend to Priya and the girls. You all will be in our continual prayers.

Posted by Jeff Gilmore - Iowa City, IA - Friend   February 04, 2016

James was amazing and his family is remarkable. Priya, we are so sorry. We are praying for you and the girls. With all of our love, Greg and Maria Hanson

Posted by Maria Hanson - North Liberty, IA   February 04, 2016

I started working with James in the cancer clinic 4 years ago as his clinic nurse. James made ever day exciting. His dedication, and empathy with his patients was truly amazing. He was so proud of his girls. He would talk about how beautiful his girls were. He loved to share pictures of them on their first day of school. His was so well liked, and he will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. With thoughts of peace, and courage for his family.

Posted by Maggie Stoner - Iowa City, IA - Coworker   February 04, 2016

James was an amazing surgeon and an even better person and patient advocate. He was a friend and mentor and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Priya and the girls as well as the rest of his family. James touched the lives of many and was beloved. Rest in Peace!

Posted by Mike Anderson - North Liberty, IA - Friend   February 04, 2016


Dr. James Mezhir, best cancer surgeon in my world, who saved my life 3yrs ago, passed away yesterday. I am totally lost today. He was my hero and always will be forever. He was also a great friend. I love you James forever and will see you soon. You can rest now James you are an amazing hero that made so much difference while you were here. God bless you and family. Forever Doug

Posted by Doug Wolff - Coralville, IA - Friend   February 04, 2016


My deepest sympathy and condolences! Dr. Mezhir inspired many to be better and definitely helped me become a better surgeon. God's peace.

Posted by Christine Waller - LA CROSSE, WI   February 04, 2016

Family Album

Life Stories

I didn't know him long...He and his family began attending our church less than a year ago..I believe he was already ill then, but, as a Christian, I have never seen a more dedicated expression of active faith than James Mezhir exhibited through every trial that he faced in the short time that we knew him...and, no matter how sick he was, he would attend services...even if he had to lay on the seats because of weakness and fatigue, he Loved his Lord and Savior...and, he loved his family. God Bless You, James, for being a wonderful example to us all.
See You Later...(= Sincerely.