Biographical Sketch of Dr. James Deane Mashburn

November 15, 1925 – September 14, 2006


James Deane Mashburn was born November 15,  1925, in City Hospital, Fayetteville, Washington County Arkansas to Carl William and Lillie May Watkins Mashburn. Carl William Mashburn was employed as a Postal Clerk in the Fayetteville Post Office.  James attended school at Jefferson Elementary School. He was a graduate of Fayetteville High School.  He served more than two years in the Navy during World War II. After the war ended, he joined the Arkansas National Guard in 1949 and retired at the rank of brigadier general, one of the few medical officers to reach that rank.  He received numerous citations during his military career, the highest being the Legion of Merit.

He finished his pre-med courses at Louisiana Tech University in Rustin, La., then enrolled in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences graduating at the age of 21 in 1947.

He and Mary Ann Boling were married in Little Rock, Pulaski County on June 22, 1946. They became the parents of six children, Mike, Steve, Vicki, Debbie Glenn, Greg and Scott. They divorced in 1983.

When he graduated from medical school, he returned to Fayetteville to set up practice where for the next 38 years he made house calls, sat with expectant mothers in labor and delivered well over 10,000 babies.  He felt all his patients were entitled to the same high-quality level of care, even if they could not pay. James Mashburn says he figured he owed some free medical care to the community, his share of caring for the poor And, he didn’t want to know who paid and didn’t. “I told them I didn’t want to know who was paying and who wasn’t because I was just human enough that I might let that influence me some time taking care of one of my patients in some way,” he says. He strove to make sure his patients got quality medical care, and surrounded himself with people who felt the same. “They weren’t my patients. They were my friends I was assisting with medical care.”

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to go to medical school. That’s what I always wanted to do,” he says.1

“He was awarded numerous honors in his lifetime, beginning with the first in Troop 104 at Jefferson School to earn the coveted Eagle Scout. He was honored with the Eagle Award from the WRMC Foundation in 1996; Distinguished Citizen of the Year award in 2001 by the Washington County Historical Society and was inducted into the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation Hall of Fame in 2003.” 2

“Mashburn had a heart attack in 1981. After his second one in 1987, he worked just another year before he retired. He told his wife Barbara he’d never really been anywhere other than during his military service. So, they spent about five years traveling. When they’d had their fill of new places, they settled back into life in Fayetteville.”Doctor Mashburn died September 14, 2006 (aged 80).


 1      Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, November 6, 2005, p. 4

2       Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, September 17, 2006

John T. Mitchell, BBA

September 18, 2021