James J. Markham, 84, of Glenside, former associate dean of sciences at Villanova

James J. Markham
James J. Markham
Posted: April 11, 2013

James J. Markham, 84, of Glenside, a chemistry professor and former associate dean of sciences at Villanova University, died Thursday, April 4, of a heart ailment at home.

Dr. Markham's long association with Villanova began when he enrolled there in 1946 to study chemistry. He graduated in 1950, and returned to the campus as a lecturer on Sept. 1, 1952.

He was named an assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1957; he rose to become associate professor four years later.

In 1965, Dr. Markham took a sabbatical from Villanova and moved with his family to Leeds, England, where he did research at the University of Leeds.

He returned to Villanova in the fall of 1966 and became a full professor in 1967. On July 1, 1968, he was named associate dean for sciences.

He retired in 1990, and was named professor emeritus of chemistry on May 30, 1991, according to the school's records.

In 2001, he was awarded Villanova's Alumni Medallion, honoring graduates who have excelled in their profession and who have served their community and the university. He was "delighted" at the honor, said his wife, the former Joan Mary Schmitt.

Villanova also created an award in his name, the James J. Markham Medallion, given annually to the graduating senior who excels in comprehensive sciences.

Born at home in Oreland, he was the only child of James and Marie Pierce Markham. He attended St. Luke the Evangelist School in Glenside.

He graduated from St. Joseph Preparatory School in 1946 and went on to Villanova. He studied oceanography at Texas A&M University from 1951 to 1952. He received his doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1958.

During the mid-1980s, Dr. Markham expanded his reach to a different kind of classroom - Graterford Prison. As part of the Villanova University Program at Graterford, he taught college-level science, math, and language courses.

"He loved it, and the guys out there really liked him," his wife said.

In the fall of 2012, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Graterford Alumni Association.

Dr. Markham was dedicated to the life of St. Luke the Evangelist Church. He was a long-time lector, cantor, and Eucharistic minister; served on the Parish Council; and co-authored the 100th anniversary history of the parish.

Surviving in addition to his wife, are sons James J., Joseph P., Christopher, Richard, and Gregory; daughters Joan Markham, Maureen Barnes, and Anne DeGraaf; and 10 grandchildren.

A viewing will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 10, at St. Luke the Evangelist Church, 2316 Fairhill Ave., Glenside, Pa. 19038. An 11 a.m. Funeral Mass will follow at the church. Interment is in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Donations may be made to St. Luke's Church, or the Rev. Edward Jenkins O.S.A. Memorial Fund, c/o Villanova University, 800 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova, Pa. 19085.

Condolences to the family may be offered at www.mayfuneralhome.com.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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