Distinguished Professor Jim Oldfield passes away at 94


James E. Oldfield

James Edmund Oldfield, a former Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University, died April 3, 2016. He was 94.

Jim was born Aug. 30, 1921 and raised near Victoria, British Columbia, the third son of Clarence and Doris Oldfield.  He attended grade schools and high school in Saanich municipality, and went on to the Victoria College and the University of British Columbia.  During World War II, he served in the Westminster Regiment, Fifth Canadian Armoured Division, in Italy and Northwest Europe.

On return to Canada he resumed graduate studies at U.B.C., proceeding to Oregon State University, where he earned a doctoral degree and joined the faculty of the Department of Animal Sciences, which he headed from 1967 to 1983.  He became one of the world’s leading authorities on selenium research including his work in animal nutrition which led to the cure of white muscle disease in cattle.  He was named a Distinguished Professor at OSU in 1969 and received the prestigious Klaus Swartz award for Trace Mineral work in 1998.  Jim thoroughly enjoyed his life’s work, and after retirement continued his association with the department, colleagues and staff.

Jim married the love of his life, Mildred Atkinson in 1942.  She passed away in 2007.  He is survived by their five children, Nancy (Brian), Kathy (Steve), David (Merilee), Jane (Pat) and Richard (Karen), 10 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 22 at the James E. Oldfield Animal Teaching Facility, 3521 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis.  Anyone wishing to make a donation in his memory may direct it to either the Old Mill Center for Children and Families, 1650 SW 45th St., Corvallis, OR  97333 oldmillcenter.org  or the Animal Sciences Facilities Fund  c/o OSU Foundation, 850 SW 35th St.  Corvallis, OR  97333 osufevents@oregonstate.edu .


One Response to “Distinguished Professor Jim Oldfield passes away at 94”

  1. Ronald Rose says:

    I want to express my sympathies to Jim Oldfield’s family, and share a lasting memory.

    During 1954-1958 I was enrolled at Oregon State in general agriculture, and took his animal nutrition course (including a lab where we induced and demonstrated nutritional deficiencies in rats). His good teaching helped guide me toward a career involving nutrition (initially poultry and eventually lab animals). I have not forgotten that experience, and many years later I enjoyed seeing him at FASEB/Experimental Biology meetings.

    Ron Rose