Peter, James B., M.D., Ph.D. (1933-2009)
Specialty Family Foundation was founded by the late Dr. Jim Peter and his wife, Joan. An extraordinary man, Dr. Peter’s exemplary life, generous spirit, and commitment to excellence embody the values that Specialty Family Foundation is committed to upholding.
A renowned contributor to science and medicine, Omaha native Dr. Jim Peter earned his B.S. degree at Creighton University in 1954, his M.D. degree at St. Louis University in 1958, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1963. The latter took place under the guidance of Professor Paul D. Boyer (Nobel Laureate, 1997), who Jim and his wife, Joan followed to UCLA that same year. Jim subsequently joined the faculty at UCLA and over many years served as Professor, Clinical Professor, and College of Letters and Sciences Advisory Board Member. A world-renowned medical scientist, Dr. Peter authored more than 450 publications in journals of science and medicine and edited 27 books.
Recognizing the challenge of bringing modern biochemistry and immunology to the clinical laboratory marketplace, Dr. Peter founded Specialty Laboratories in 1975. His training and extensive hands-on bench experience, coupled with cutting edge research and development and state of the art technologies led to the development of tests with unprecedented clinical value to practitioners.
Early on the mission of Specialty Laboratories was very clearly defined: to “Help Doctors Help Patients”. When Specialty was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2000, it’s 800 employees offered 3800 tests to 8000 clients in 16 countries. Often minimizing his leadership, Dr. Peter has said, “My exposure to the works of many leading scientists has been key to the achievements of Specialty.” Referring to his former Specialty Laboratories’ colleagues recently, he called them “beloved” and quoted Sir Isaac Newton saying, “I stood on the shoulders of giants.”
Depending on the season, you could find Jim hunting, fly-fishing or more recently golfing with sons, sons-in-law, or grandsons and granddaughters. On any given summer weekend, he could be found in Lake Arrowhead “kicking back” with anywhere from 5 to 20 family members. Jim is predeceased by one son, and is survived by his wife and six children, 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.