Dr. James R. Neff died on July 12, 2005. Dr. Neff was an internationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon and Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. He was also a former chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. He died at the age of sixty-five after an extended battle with cancer.
Dr. Neff received his undergraduate degree from KSU in 1962. He then went to KU Medical School and graduated in 1966. He entered the military in 1968 and served as medical officer aboard the nuclear submarine USS George C. Marshall. Following his military service he completed a residency in orthopaedic surgery at the University of Michigan and was a Fellow in Musculosketal Oncology at the University of Florida.
In 1975 he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. During his time at KU Dr. Neff developed a surgical implant which included a titanium intraneduallary nail. The initial use of this device was to reconstruct segmental defects in the lower extremity of cancer patients. Today, this device is know as the “Neff Nail” and is in wide-spread use for many conditions beyond its initial use.
In 1991 Dr, Neff became chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. . He was known as an effective and caring teacher as well as an innovator in orthopaedic surgery.
In 1995 Dr. Neff established the James R. Neff Lectureship in Physics. This lectureship “shall perpetuate and honor Everett and Florine Neff, parents of James R. Neff, and Janice K. Neff Standish (sister). It is further intended to represent Dr. Neff’s gratitude for the opportunities and education that he received at Kansas State University and to verbally acknowledge Florine and Everett Neff as benefactors of the institution of higher learning.” This lectureship is now funded by an endowment established with a bequest from Dr. Neff.
Dr. Neff was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on October 5, 2005.
More information about James Neff’s contribution to research and education in medicine can be found at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Web site. See
Information for this article was taken from that web site and from a biography provided to us several years ago by Dr. Neff.