Dr. Ellsworth James Cundiff Jr, age 89, of University Park, passed away on Monday, March 13, 2023. James was born February 7, 1934, in Canyon, Texas, to parents Dr. E.J. Cundiff and Mamie Dunaway Cundiff. James grew up in Canyon and graduated from Canyon High School.
James received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Austin, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a dentist. James earned his dental degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry in 1960.
After graduating from dental school, James opened a private dental practice in Dallas. After suffering a severe injury to his hand in a water-skiing accident, James entered specialty training in Oral Pathology at Indiana University School of Dentistry. Dr. D Lamar Byrd was instrumental in the admittance of James into what was considered the finest graduate training program for Oral Pathology.
James returned to Baylor College of Dentistry as their first oral pathologist. He lectured and presented continuing courses throughout the country. James was certified by the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. He was an exceedingly kind and respectful faculty member and was loved by the students.
James married Janet Barnes of Electra in 1972. James and Janet lived their entire married life in University Park. Janet was the love of his life, and they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
James was a member of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church, where he was a longtime greeter and usher. James was also a member of Calyx and the Dallas Ski Club. He was an avid snow and water skier and loved photography. James continued his love for water skiing well into his seventies. James and Janet, along with their dog LakeE, often hosted students, friends, and church members on the lake.
James is preceded in death by his parents, Dr. E. J. and Mamie Cundiff, his sister Elaine Phillips, nephew David Phillips and great nephew Jay Patrick Phillips. James is survived by his wife of fifty years, Janet Cundiff, nephew Robert Phillips and nieces Julie Esgar and Marcia Lewis, as well as many great and great great nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, March 22, at 11:00 in the Wynne Chapel of Highland Park Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Highland Park Presbyterian Church or charity of your choice.