J.F. LeDerer, MD, F.A.C.S.
James Frederick LeDerer, age 87, died Friday, October 28, at Paris Regional Medical Center. He was born April 14, 1935, in Wellington, Texas, to Frederick C. and Zena Ferrell LeDerer. His childhood was filled with two things that fueled the passions of his life: music and medicine. His mother was a music teacher. He began playing the cornet in the school band and discovered the joy of singing in a barbershop quartet. His mother was also quite ill most of his childhood,and he spent countless hours with his parents seeing various doctors for her, and decided as a child that medicine would be his future. In addition, growing up in the aisles of LeDerer Hardware & Furniture Company fed his mechanical mind, and James Frederick could build or fix a wide range of things.
He was the valedictorian of the Wellington High School class of 1953, attended the University of Texas at Austin for three years and then was admitted to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas where he was a member of Phi Chi Medical Fraternity. He received a
BA in 1957 and an MD in 1960.
While in medical school, he met Catherine Ann McNeill, a student nurse at Parkland Hospital. The story goes that Miss McNeill was playing the piano in the student resident lounge in 1958 when medical student Fred LeDerer saw her. He said, “Can you play “I Cover the Waterfront?” and she replied, “what key would you like it in?” That gentle challenge sparked a 62-year love affair. They married October 15, 1960 and were together until her death in September, 2021.
Upon graduation from medical school in 1960 he began a residency program at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center. This was briefly interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He spent two years as a Flight Medical Officer at Amarillo Air Force Base, was recommended for Career Reserve Status in the U.S. Air Force, and returned to Oklahoma to finish his residency program. After completing an internal medicine and a urology residency, he was stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California, where he became Head of the Urology Department, Senior Flight Surgeon, and Chief Flight Surgeon for the Fifteenth Air Force. He received the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. He loved flying and being a Flight Surgeon, and parlayed his extensive flight hours into trips to Japan where he began to purchase and build hi-fi stereo equipment that is still going strong today. He remained on active duty until his discharge as a Lieutenant Colonel. In June 1971, at the urging of college and medical school classmate Dr. Don Black, the LeDerer family moved to Paris,Texas.
He started Paris Urology Associates and began 26 years of private practice centered around superlative patient care and unyielding adherence to exemplary surgical technique. In a nod towards retirement, he closed his practice in 1997 and accepted a position to practice urology at the VA Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He retired from that position in 2003, but had no interest in leaving medicine. Happiest when he was seeing patients, he immediately began accepting locum tenens urology positions all over the country until his retirement in 2017 at age 82. His beloved Catherine would say “have skillet, will travel”, and they enjoyed those assignments in different parts of the country. He loved practicing medicine almost as much as he loved his wife and children, and that passion made him an unwavering advocate for his patients. Dr. LeDerer was a member of the medical staff of St Joseph’s Hospital and McCuistion Regional Medical Center, a member and president of the Lamar-Delta County Medical Society, a member of the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, Texas Urological Society, The American Urological Association, and was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, as well as certified and boarded by the American Board of Urology.
He was a member of Central Presbyterian Church where he served as both deacon and elder of the session, and sang in the choir. He was a member of Rotary Club International. James Frederick was roundly appreciated as one of Paris’ few oenophiles, known for his vast knowledge of classic automobiles, and for his prowess in building and enjoying hi-fidelity stereo equipment, a pastime he shared with dear friends Dr. Tom Bryant and Dr. David Miesch.
Dr. LeDerer is survived by his son Bruce LeDerer of Paris, daughters Elizabeth LeDerer Mills of Davidson, NC, and Margaret LeDerer of Plano, and two grandchildren, Andrew Lane Mills and Julia McNeill Mills of Davidson, NC. He was predeceased by his wife, his parents, and his son-in-law, Stephen Mills.
His body was donated to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. The family is planning a memorial service for some future date.
Memorial contributions are welcome to the Central Presbyterian Church Music Fund. 309 S. Church St., Paris, Texas 75460, or any public library.
Online condolences may be shared at www.fry-gibbs.com.