August 13, 1921 – November 8, 2014
James Holman was born on August 13, 1921, to Wade and Jessie Holman in the rural East Texas town of Jacksonville. As the third child of four, his life was shaped early on by two aspects: The Great Depression and his struggle with Asthma. Both of which added to his quiet perseverance during times of struggle, diligence in the face of hardship, and will to survive.
His parents were told by the local doctors that James was not likely to survive past adulthood due to his severe Asthma and the primitive medical treatment at the time. He described being near death twice in his childhood due to the severity of his asthma attacks. His brother, who also had asthma, was told by the local doctors to move to a relative’s house in West Texas because of the better air quality.
His mother would not accept these answers and sought out medical care in Dallas. She took James to Dr. Harvey Black one of the first allergists in the country. In fact, Dr. Black was the allergist who discovered Mountain Cedar as an allergen in Texas. James started a relatively new and novel allergy treatment, Immunotherapy, and he attributed this treatment as saving his life. He had a dramatic response to the allergy shots and was astounded by his improvement, questioning why other doctors were not as aware of this treatment option.
Coming from a non-medical family, it was assumed that James would join his father in the family lumber business. However, he decided to go into the medical industry to study Asthma and Immunotherapy. His decision was impacted by his concern that doctors were not as informed. James knew he would be able to take better care of himself and his brother after his education. He attended medical school at Southwestern in Dallas, training under Tinsley Harrison, MD, father of Harrison Textbook of Medicine. After completing Internal Medicine Residency, he completed an allergy fellowship in one of the only two fellowship programs in the country, at the University of Virginia. He then joined Dr. Black’s medical practice in 1950 and continued after Dr. Black’s death in the late 1950s. He became board certified in Allergy and Immunology in 1974 shortly after the board was established. He volunteered weekly at Parkland Hospital from 1950 till the late 1970s providing allergy and asthma care to the less fortunate. He also did his own pollen counts during much of his private practice.
James practiced medicine in the old school manner, publishing his home number in the phone book and giving it to his patients to call him personally 24/7. He often made house calls and would see emergencies in his office on weekends and holidays. He had a passionate dedication to his patients, wanting to improve their quality of life with state-of-the-art medical treatment, shaped by what he learned from Dr. Black. He was beloved by his patients and family as well as greatly respected by the medical community.