James Charles McAllister III, known as “Jim” by his family and friends, passed away at his home in Pittsboro, NC on December 20th at the age of 73. By all accounts, including his, it was a life well lived in service to others. God undoubtedly broke the mold after Jim was born to the late James C. McAllister Jr. and Mary Alice (Hall) on September 10th, 1948 in Columbus, Ohio, as there has never been another quite like him. The eldest of six children in an Irish Catholic family, Jim spent his formative years picking on his younger siblings, his late brother Michael being his primary target. That is, until his youngest brother Kevin came along. Being a gentleman, and the offspring of a mother who wielded a sturdy yard stick, Jim generally spared his sisters Anne, Beth and Laura from his antics and shenanigans.
At the age of six, the family relocated to Charlotte, NC. Jim would spend the next 10 years swimming at the local public pool, earning boy scout merit badges, ‘commandeering’ milk & doughnuts from his neighbors’ front porches with his friends, and yes, continuing to target his younger brothers. While he never outgrew his relatively innocent tomfoolery, Jim would eventually leave his youthful indiscretions behind to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966 where he initially majored in chemistry.
When Jim wasn’t attending protests on campus or playing club football thanks to a 9-inch growth spurt his freshman year, he could be found hitchhiking with his Phi Lambda Pi fraternity brothers up and down the east coast. On one fateful trip, a local pharmacist gave Jim and his friends a lift, during which the kind Samaritan encouraged Jim to consider majoring in pharmacy instead of chemistry. After giving it minimal thought, Jim decided to follow the stranger’s advice, graduating with his BS in Pharmacy from UNC Chapel Hill in 1971. In his last year of pharmacy school, Jim would get his first taste of pharmacy leadership when he served as president of the student chapter of the American Pharmacists Association. Jim would go on to dedicate the remaining 50 years of his life to the profession of pharmacy. Blessed with an uncanny ability to function with minimal sleep and possessing an incredible work ethic instilled in him by his parents, Jim would become one of hospital pharmacy’s most prolific leaders.
After graduating from UNC, he was among the first pharmacists to complete Duke University Medical Center’s newly established pharmacy residency program in 1973. He subsequently earned his Master of Science degree in Hospital Pharmacy from UNC Chapel Hill in 1976. He would spend 28 years at Duke, initially as the Chief of Inpatient Pharmacy Services, then as the Director of Pharmacy in 1987 and finally, in 1996, as the Associate Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure, Jim would make significant contributions to the profession of pharmacy, including revolutionizing standardized methods of intravenous medication administration in US Hospitals, implementing pharmacy information systems and automation, establishing international partnerships with health systems abroad, advancing the roles and responsibilities of the pharmacist as a member of the direct patient care team, and developing pharmacy training programs, teaching over 100 pharmacy residents and hundreds more pharmacy students during his time at Duke.
In 1999, Jim decided he preferred a lighter shade of blue and went back to his alma mater to serve as the Director of Pharmacy for UNC Hospitals and the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the UNC School of Pharmacy. During his time at UNC, Jim would reengineer the department to attain financial viability and transform it into a nationally recognized clinical powerhouse, establishing over 10 new specialty pharmacy residency programs, training nearly 100 pharmacy residents, and developing what is quickly becoming the standard for advanced clinical training programs for pharmacy students. He would also reestablish the UNC Master’s Program in Hospital Pharmacy Administration; a program that has already graduated dozens of highly-talented hospital pharmacy leaders. In 2008, Jim decided to leave UNC and begin his own healthcare consulting company where he continued to work until his final years fostering relationships between hospital pharmacies and the pharmaceutical industry in developing safe, cost-effective drug therapy and developing future leaders and practitioners within the profession of pharmacy.
Because he apparently needed more to do, Jim was active in numerous state and national professional associations throughout his career, including the American Society of Hospital Pharmacy (ASHP), American Foundation for Pharmacy Education (AFPE), North Carolina Society of Hospital Pharmacists (NCSHP), North Carolina Pharmaceutical Association (NCAP), and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (TJC). His activities and appointments are too numerous to count, but include President of NCSHP from 1980-1981 and President of ASHP from 1990-1991. His professional accolades include NCSHP’s Pharmacist of the Year in 1985, Fellow of ASHP in 1993, UNC School of Pharmacy Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, Harvey A K Whitney Lecture Award in 2003, and the Milton W. Skolaut Leadership Award in 2015. Anyone that knew Jim understood that he had a lot to say and teach, so it’s no surprise that he wrote over 100 professional publications and had over 250 invited speaking engagements all across the world on various topics in hospital pharmacy and leadership.
Now this work would be enough to fill several lifetimes, but believe it or not, Jim had an equally full personal life. He leaves behind his beautiful wife, fiercest advocate and staunchest ally of 15 years, Dr. Anita Groves McAllister of Pittsboro, NC. When Anita could tear Jim away from work, they enjoyed traveling together to far-away places, tearing up the streets of Fort Myers on their Trek bicycles, and spending time with their friends and family. Jim also leaves behind his daughter, Jennifer Alysse McAllister of Durham, NC whom he shared with his former spouse, Annette Shalles; his son, James C. McAllister IV (Lisa Harp McAllister) of Winston-Salem, NC, and his youngest daughter Meagan Lindley Carothers (Jason Camden Carothers) of Raleigh, NC, whom he shared with his former spouse, Dr. Celeste Lindley, sister Anne Fitzgerald of Wilmington, NC, sister Beth Ferron (Bill) of Richardson, TX, brother Kevin McAllister of Wylie, TX, and sister Laura O’Shea (Danny) of Davie, FL, and numerous nephews and nieces. Of all the titles Jim had, he relished one above all others; being the beloved “Pops” to his grandchildren, James C. “Chase” McAllister V, Katherine Claire McAllister, Cameron Jay Carothers and Sophia Lindley McAllister. These four young people could melt that Irish heart in seconds.
Join his family in celebrating his legacy on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, from 5pm to 7:30pm at Donaldson Funeral Home & Crematory Griffin Chapel in Pittsboro NC.
In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be made to James C. McAllister III Scholarship at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy or the Joseph A. Oddis Endowment Fund of the ASHP Foundation.
The family would like to express their appreciation and gratitude to Jim’s medical team and to a special caregiver, Travis Hunnicutt.
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James C. McAllister III Scholarship
Joseph A. Oddis Endowment Fund of the ASHP Foundation
4500 East-West Highway, Suite 900, Bethesda MD 20814