Born: April 9, 1894

Died: September 17, 1954

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 18, 1954


James V. Luttrell, oldest active employee of the Trudeau-Saranac Institute, died suddenly last night at his home, Turtle Pond rd.

His body will repose at the Keough Memorial Chapel. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Mr. Luttrell had been employed at the Saranac Laboratory as technician since January, 1919.

He was custodian of the John Black Room as well as keeper of the archives of the Osler Club, a medical historical society. Mr. Luttrell assisted the late Leroy U. Gardner in designing and building the first dust-exposure apparatus for use in experimental work with laboratory animals. For a number of years he served as purchasing agent of the Trudeau Foundation.

Mr. Luttrell was born on April 9, 1894, in Chester, Pa. He is survived by a sister, Miss Nellie Luttrell, also of Turtle Pond rd.

John Black II, nephew of the John Baxter Black, wrote of Jim Luttrell in a letter dated June 4, 2008: "Jim Luttrell ...was easy going and jolly, completely unpretentious. He had some sort of job in the laboratory and used to show us the guinea pigs which were being experimented on. He had recovered from what I gather was a pretty severe case of tuberculosis and seemed fine. He used to take us out to island camp sites in his motor boat and cook us big Adirondack dinners over an open fire. But he died of a heart attack in his fifties. He lived (in his last decades) with his older sister, Nell, in Turtle Pond and was good all his life at welcoming ill people who arrived in Saranac."

The following quotes are from "They Rebuild Men" by Eleanor Dayton. Partial transcription from a partial photocopy, page 10, source unknown, apparently 1941.

"They're the staff of the Saranac Laboratory. Desiring to take their place in the world despite the handicap of tuberculosis, they have become research workers, whose honest and often spectacular attainments are internationally known.

"They are quietly at work on the research problem of tuberculosis and of silicosis and other dust diseases. They are quietly proving, also, though they're unaware of it, that Saranac Lake is an A-No. 1 spot for rehabilitation of the patient.

"They've all had tuberculosis. They're united in their interest in its care and cure. Not doctors of medicine, they all see in laboratory work a way of further defeating a disease which each day, through their efforts, grows less formidable.

"They're largely self-taught, though as one learns his profession, he gives his help to the next. . . .

"There's James Luttrell, who joined the lab staff in 1920, and is an ace laboratory technician. He also does a lot of buying for the lab, and rumor has it that he can feed a rabbit on fewer carrots a week than any other technician in captivity."

"Dr. Gardner pointed out that it was one of the pet theories of Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, founder of the laboratory, that a place should be provided for medical and research men to work while getting back on their feet after a bout with tuberculosis.

"The laboratory is that place, and in helping to direct the lives of many, it has added a great deal to the scientific knowledge of tuberculosis and other subjects." #