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Celebrating the life of

Dr. James L. Routon

September 12, 1941 - March 29, 2024

Dr. James L. Routon

We mourn the passing of Dr. James Leonard Routon (82 yrs), of Savannah, GA. After determinedly battling acute myeloid leukemia for more than a year, he found peace and final rest with family at his bedside on the morning of March 29, 2024. Affectionately known as ‘Papa’ he was born in Fairburn, GA, on September 12, 1941, to the late Beatrice Baker Routon and Stephen Leonard Routon. 

Jim was a dedicated family man and physician whose Catholic faith was the source of his strength, perseverance, and principles, shaping his career through a path of academic excellence and compassionate care. He was a graduate of Campbell High School and went on to attend Newberry College on an academic and athletic scholarship. Jim then attended the Augusta Medical College of Georgia, graduating in the class of 1967.

His commitment to advancing edification led him to complete a General Surgical Internship at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and an Anesthesia residency in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University. Throughout his career, with his generous warmth and dedication to care, he touched countless lives.

While completing his education, Dr Routon married his loving wife of 56 years and became a father to his two daughters Genevieve and Emmaline. He was then drafted and served as Lieutenant Commander at the Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida. 

Jim would then take his family to Atlanta, close to family roots, where he began his career as an anesthesiologist. His interest in chronic pain management and rehabilitation would lead him to Board Certification in both specialties. He opened two pain management clinics there before moving to Savannah, where he opened a third pain management practice at Candler Hospital. Many years later, Dr. Routon returned to the sole specialty of anesthesia at Memorial Hospital. That was soon followed by a move to help build the anesthesia and pain management departments at East GA Hospital in Statesboro, GA. This would be his last move before retirement. He spent 13 very happy years in that community once again cultivating an atmosphere of fellowship and medical excellence. 

Jim was a voracious reader never without a book in his hand. He enjoyed most sports, especially the volleyball games he attended cheering his granddaughter’s high school team to state championship.  
He had a deep love for his family and dogs, which outside of work, occupied most of his time. He found joy in their company and in the company of friends.

An active member of the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Dr. Routon frequently acted as an adult altar server, eucharistic minister and volunteered often to serve in any way he could. He worked diligently in the diocese as an educator for Natural Family Planning (NFP), embodying his commitment to his faith and community. Daily prayer with his wife was a discipline of his and was the foundation of their rare and special union. 

It was in his simple act of spending unhurried time with his grandchildren that was most emblematic of his inquisitive mind and kind spirit. Their close bond is the legacy he leaves.  

Dr Routon is survived by his wife, Emmaline, his daughters, Genevieve Markowsky (Wayne) and Emmaline Routon-Davis (Greg). His grandchildren, Hannah Routon, Hugh Markowsky, and Noah Davis. His sister, Barbara Nestlehutt (Leon) of Venice, FL. And many nieces and nephews all of whom he loved and in whom he shared genuine interest. He is remembered fondly by his cousin, Fred Brown and his dear friend, Bruce Montgomery, both of whom provided support and unwavering friendship that gave him strength when he was weakest.  Other dear friends: Father Mark Ross, Scott Alexander, Johnny Mulligan, and Wayne Cunningham III. 

Dr. Routon is also preceded in death by his brothers Wesley Routon, Jack Routon (Brenda) and John Routon (Paula), his best friend since childhood, Allen Jennings, and close friend, Ken Gold. 

The family would like to thank Dr. Roel Laygo, Dr. George Negrea, Dr Callie Downing and Dr. Jay Goldstein for their compassionate care.  Also, a big thank you to the team at Anderson Cancer Center, the staff in the ER, 3W Oncology at Memorial Hospital and Hospice of Savannah. The family expresses endless gratitude for the tireless caregivers Rosella Thomas-Simmons, Ashley Green, Pamela Williams, and Nadira Johnson, as well as the valuable advice of family friend Anne Rogers.  Navigating the journey through treatment was only possible with these individuals and others who generously gave of their time and talents.

May Papa’s memory be a source of strength and inspiration to all who knew him. He is dearly missed.

Rosary will be held Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at 5:00 p.m., with Visitation to follow until 7:00 p.m., at Fox and Weeks, Hodgson Chapel. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Thursday, April 4, 2024, at 10:00 a.m., with burial to follow in the Catholic Cemetery. 





Jim found the secret of how to live in this world: to love, to care… He embodied the idea that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and to have been Jim’s friend was indeed a gift. I will miss him greatly.

- Scott and Christine Alexander , Savannah, GA

Dr. Routon will always be remembered as a kind and caring physician. I knew him when I worked at East Georgia Reginal Hospital. He was a favorite of staff and patients. To his wife and daughters, you are in my prayers. May God be with you in the days and weeks to come.

- Mickie Deal, Statesboro, GA

I knew Jim when I worked for the Catholic Diocese. He was a pleasure to work with. May he rest in peace.

- Marie Bryant, Savannah, GA

I have worked at East Georgia Regional for 45 years as the Medical Staff Services Director and work with all of the medical staff. I have to say that Dr. Routon was the nicest, kindest, caring physician I have known. He was loved by many. Although, he has not been working here for years, we stayed in touch and will be greatly missed. Sending prayers and peace.

- Kathy Holmes, Statesboro, GA

Nana, Emmaline, & Genevieve and grandchildren...I'm so sorry Papa (I asked him if i could call him that the day i met him and he said-Yes- to my delight) has left this earth. He will be cherished, loved forever and remembered by me for being the epitome of a Gentleman with a kind word every time he came to the salon-He was good-- no, very good at making me feel as though i was the most important being in the universe when He engaged me in conversation. What a Beautiful, kind and sweet person He was and I am a better person for knowing him!!..Very sorry for his family..He will be missed.

- R. Patrick Davis, Savannah, Georgia

To Genevieve and your family. I’ve read about your Papa. He must have been a loving and kind person and an incredible physician. May your healing begin knowing that he is out of pain.

- Sandy Haeger, Savannah , GA

I grew up with the Routon boys and attended Eastern Elementary and Campbell High School . Jimmy was a friend and we had some great times together with others from Campbell. Too sad that he has passed and I pray for peace for his family ,

- Grady Mullis, MARIETTA, GA

A candle has been lit!

Dr. Routine was grace and compassion. He was kind and was always glad to see you. Wishing peace and comfort to you and yours. His earthly presence will be missed but he is still here in spirit.

- Kelly Hunt, Savannah, GA

A candle has been lit!

Papa was genuinely amazing, encouraging, loving, charming, happy, witty, funny, and inspirational… Our hearts are heavy for you all. He will be missed, but he will never be forgotten, as he has made such an impact in so many lives. We are grateful for the memories~Stacey, Jason, Ellery, & Barrett

- Stacey L. Nelson, Savannah, GA

First off, Papa/Jim/Dr. Routon is NOT a smoker, don’t let the picture fool you (photo by Christine Hall).  Here he is at our wedding on Tybee keeping the gnats away..  We laughed because he held the cigarette like a pro, never puffing on it once, of course.  This picture means so much more than the comedy of it though.  I sat with him my wedding day, just like this, as he spoke to me of the beauty of marriage, of having a life partner …   I cried to him, because my own dad was not there, leaving this earth just a year prior.  He held my hand and told me what I needed to hear that day.  Thank you Nana/Mamaline/Mrs. Routon, Em, Vieve, Hannah, Hugh, and Noah for sharing this man with the world.  He touched so many of us, words do no justice on the impact he had on so many.  We all love you… him..  him in you!  xoxo

- Tobia Makover, Savannah, GA

Papa embodied the qualities that we all chase after in life. He was extremely kind and thoughtful to the core. He was curious about others and the physical and spiritual world around him. When my friends and I were growing up, we always had the utmost respect and love for Papa. He was always fun, hard-working, loving, kind, and generous to us all. His friendship to my father was one of the truest friendships I’ve ever witnessed! They went camping with my brother and his friend during the “storm of the century “ and despite the unbearable weather they all managed to have a blast. He knew how to turn lemons into lemonade! All my love and condolences to his family, as he will be missed by so many!

- Liz Glass, Savannah, GA

Dr. James L. Routon, Jim to me, was a beloved cousin with whom I revered as a brother. We grew up together, along with his brothers Jack and John. It’s the memory of barefoot boys –Jimmy, Jack, and John—running down a red dirt Georgia road that blooms in my mind this moment. Such joy! We were carefree and experienced a special life and time together. Later, my little brother, Julius Brown, was added to our brotherhood. Jim and I are the same age. I even went to school with him and his brothers for a time at Campbell High School in Fairburn. He and I were just a few miles apart in college and saw each other frequently. To say that I admired my cousin, Dr. James L. Routon, does not fully express my love. He was a special person with a kind heart and a wonderful mind. I looked up to him, as we all did. I will miss you forevermore, Jim. You will always be in my heart and mind. I shall never forget our boyhood, our adult lives, and the love we had for each other. Your cousin, Fred Brown

- Fred W Brown, KNOXVILLE, Tennessee

It is with great sadness I learned of Uncle Jimmy‘s passing. I got to meet Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Emmaline and their beautiful daughters Genevieve and Emmaline many years ago during a Thanksgiving celebration when my dad, Fred Brown, took us to a big family reunion hosted by the entire Routon Family. We Browns were so struck by their warmheartedness and love of laughter. Jim and Emmaline (along with his brother John and wife Paula) kindly came to my wedding in Tennessee many years later. And over the years, whenever my dad enjoyed one of his regular chats with “cousin-Jimmy”, I was sure to hear all about it -the books they discussed, the writing exercises they were practicing, the jokes they shared. Through my dad, I felt like I too was able to stay in touch with Jimmy and by extension the Routon Family over the years, even from far away Colorado where I now live. If I had known my wedding day would be the last time I would lay eyes on them, I would most assuredly have hugged them a little tighter. Although I didn’t get to see them as much as I would’ve liked over the years, every member of the Routon family is still very dear to my heart. We Browns wish the Routons all love, healing, and peace. Please know your sweet “Papa” is rightfully mourned all across this country, and will be forever missed, along with his brothers, Johnny and Jack.

- Amanda Brown Dean, Boulder , Colorado

Wonderful man and spirit. He will be missed but he is in his happy place now. RIP Papa

- Brad Goodman, Savannah, Georgia

Wonderful man and spirit. He will be missed but he is in his happy place now. RIP Papa

- Brad Goodman, Savannah, Georgia

One my fondest memories was I was 8 years old we had not moved to Cook Rd yet. I was going to spend the night at Grandparents after dark the crickets and darkness made me want to get back to the city. Granddaddy Routon let Jimmy drive his new 1960 Ford Falcon to take me home. And when Jimmy would come home from college he would play quarterback for Clay and myself and me the oldest ones in check. Jimmy was always someone that looked up to and admired . Prayers and love to all .

- Lynn Routon, Fayetteville , Ga

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jim and his family for over 20 years. He was a mentor and friend. The entire East Georgia Medical Center staff mourns his loss and will remember him fondly. He was a wise and kind gentleman whose legacy will live on forever.

- Tony James, Statesboro, GA

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jim and his family for over 20 years. He was a mentor and friend. The entire East Georgia Medical Center staff mourns his loss and will remember him fondly. He was a wise and kind gentleman whose legacy will live on forever.

- Tony James, Statesboro, GA

It is such a privilege to have known Papa - and Emmaline, Emmaline and Genevieve I am sending you all the warmest hugs and condolences from Panama. He showed my how to love big and have fun - what a wonderful father he was to all of us friends of Emmaline's. What a wonderful man.

- Beth, Gamboa, Panama

I am so sorry for your for your loss. He was always kind and genuine. He will be someone who will be truly missed.

- Ashley Pinckney, Savannah, GA

Emmaline - my sincere condolences. I fondly remember you and Jim from my days at the Candler Professional Building branch of the old Wachovia Bank. And, it was a real treat to run into you at J Thomas!! Sending many prayers for you and all of your family ❤️

- Gaye Reese, Savannah, GA

I was Jimmy's roommate and football teammate at Newberry College. My whole family knew and loved him. We were like brothers during that period of our lives. Jimmy was not Catholic when we were in college, but he often attended Mass with me. Once, after Mass, we shook hands with the Priest and Jimmy mentioned that he was not Catholic. The Priest said to him, "You know, son, it's a funny thing but everyone I've ever shaken hands with has converted to Catholicism." Prophetic, no? His passing is felt deeply.

- Phil Orsini , Spotsylvania, VA

So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. He played football with my brother, Phil Orsini, at Newberry and came often to Aiken for my Mom’s spaghetti dinners. The whole family loved having him, so enjoying his wit and warmth. God called one of the good guys home this time…

- Carmela Orsini Harmon/Sanders, Savannah, GA.-31406

I was so fortunate to have been a patient of his. After multiple doctors could not diagnose my problem, I was referred to his practice at Candler. Within a few minutes he knew exactly what the problem was and treated me for several years…. for that I will be forever grateful. He was such a very kind and compassionate physician. I was also a neighbor when I lived in Ardsley Park and enjoyed talking with him when he would walk his chocolate lab. I am so very sorry for this great loss.

- Lenna Drmbski, Savannah , Georgia

Thinking of you!

- DeWalt, Savannah, GA

Services under the direction of:

Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel