James P. Argires, MD, FACS, FAANS, 87, of Lancaster, PA - prominent neurosurgeon, philanthropist, and U.S. Marine - passed away on Tuesday August 13th, 2019, surrounded by his family. He was the devoted husband of Anastasia "Tasia" (Koutroulakis) Argires, with whom he enjoyed 65 years of marriage.
Born in Lancaster to first-generation Greek immigrants Peter Z. Argires and Kacoula N. (Patmniou) Argires, Jimmy enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from J.P. McCaskey High School. He survived three major engagements of the Korean War - including the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the landing at Incheon, and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir - earning a field promotion to Staff Sergeant as well as numerous combat medals.
Following his honorable discharge, Jimmy's road to neurosurgery began with a BS in Physical Education and English from West Chester University, where an errant dodgeball pointed him toward higher callings. He simultaneously attended Birmingham Southern College and night school at the University of Alabama Birmingham, completed physical therapy training at the University of Pennsylvania, and ultimately earned a Medical Doctorate from the University of Alabama Medical School. He completed residencies at the University of Tennessee (neurology) and the University of Alabama (neurosurgery), the latter as Chief Resident under the late Dr. J. Garber Galbraith, once stitching Dr. Martin Luther King for a head injury sustained while preaching.
While licensed in both Alabama and Pennsylvania, Jimmy spent the bulk of his 60-year career serving the people of Lancaster. He began on Pearl St. in 1968 as an Associate in Practice with the late John L. Polcyn, MD. The pair went on to develop Lancaster NeuroScience & Spine Associates, where Jimmy flourished for almost 40 years as a physician and businessman. In 2008 he joined Brain Orthopedic Spine Specialists, and in his later years continued his practice with independent medical examinations.
Jimmy was a fixture at Lancaster General Hospital, where he served on the Board of Directors for 26 years, as chairman of the surgical department, and on 17 committees between 1979 and his death. He was instrumental in the campus' growth, bringing the first radiosurgical gamma knife to Lancaster and helping to bring the first open MRI. He was also active at Lancaster Regional Medical Center, Ephrata Community Hospital, Community Hospital of Lancaster, HealthSouth Surgery Center, and Penn State Geisinger/Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Jimmy held numerous academic posts at Lancaster General Hospital, Temple University, and Penn State University. He belonged to many national, state, and local medical societies, including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the North American Spine Society, the Mid-Atlantic Neurological Society (President Treasurer, 1985), the Pennsylvania Neurological Society (President, 1978-1979), the Pennsylvania Medical Society (Trauma Interspecialty Committee), and the Lancaster City and County Medical Society. He published on pituitary apoplexy in the Southern Medical Journal (1966) and served as Editor of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons' newsletter (1979).
His many honors include the Outstanding Service Award from the American Trauma Society, the Distinguished Honor Award from Rotary International, induction into the Hall of Fame at West Chester University's Sturzebecker Foundation, the Henry S. Wentz Award from Lancaster General Hospital, Distinguished Alumnus awards from both McCaskey High School and West Chester University, the naming of the Argires Science Complex at Millersville University, and his recent admission to the board of the National Korean War Veterans Association.
In the Lancaster community, Jimmy served on the directorial boards of Fulton Bank, Pennsylvania School of Art & Design, American Cancer Society-Lancaster, Cleft Palate Clinic, Lancaster Health Alliance, and Schreiber Pediatric Rehab. He served on the Millersville University Foundation Board, Franklin & Marshall University's Advisory Board, and the Lancaster City Crime Commission Committee. He was also a lifetime member of the Boys & Girls Club, whose beneficiaries reminded him of his own childhood on the loading docks of Lancaster Newspapers, where he inserted sections of the paper for 25 cents per hour, or in the cheap seats of the Fulton Theater, where he spent many of his father's work days.
A dedicated member of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Jimmy will be remembered as an exemplar of the Greek community. He was recognized as an Archon - the highest honor given to a lay person - by the Eastern Orthodox Church, and served 29 years on the Board of Trustees at Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He recalled using his Greek language skills to pass medical exams, excelled at Greek dancing, and even met his wife through the Greek youth group GOYA.
In what personal time his life allowed, Jimmy was an avid tennis player, fisherman, hunter, and, later in life, bronze sculptor. He played with the Court Jesters tennis group at Lancaster Country Club for over 40 years, creating countless memories. He was also a lifelong, dedicated fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, following the program's every recruitment choice and watching, quite literally, every game.
He is survived by his wife Tasia; his children, Eugenia Argires, Kathleen Argires Pianka, wife of Robert, Perry Argires MD; and six grandchildren.
Funeral Services honoring the life of Dr. James P. Argires will be held on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 10:30AM at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church 64 Hershey Avenue Lancaster, PA 17603 with the Rev. Hector Firoglanis, Rev. Alexander Veronis, and Rev. Alexander Goussetis officiating. Viewings will be on Friday from 4PM-8PM at the church with the Trisagion Service at 7PM and a second viewing will be on Saturday from 9AM-10:30AM prior to the service. Full military honors will accompany the interment at Conestoga Memorial Park. Memorial Contributions may be made in Jimmy's memory to the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church or The Boys & Girls Club of Lancaster PO BOX 104 Lancaster, PA 17608
Roll Tide and Semper Fi.
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