Dr. James T.E. Chengelis
passed away peacefully with his brother at his side
on Wednesday, October 2nd in Youngstown at the age of 58.
He was born in Youngstown, on April 24th, 1955 and he dedicated his life to the care of others through teaching and medicine. Dr. Chengelis attended the Boardman Schools, from Stadium Drive Elementary through Boardman High, before graduating cum laude from Youngstown State University in 1979 with a B.S. and B.A., double major in biology and chemistry. He obtained an M.S. in Education and Public Health from the University of Toledo in 1982, followed by an M.D. from The Medical College of Ohio at Toledo in 1987.
Dr. Chengelis shared his love for the schools and the value of a quality education with many as a true philanthropist, measured by his unwavering generosity throughout the years through his time and contributions to all of the institutions that he attended. He had a passion for nature as well and enjoyed donating trees to Stadium Drive, the Boardman schools, Boardman Park, and Youngstown State. He was constantly seeking knowledge beyond the classroom through reading multiple books simultaneously, or taking a quantum physics class in the evening as recently as last year.
His passion for medicine led him to Boston, MA in 1987 and his accolades and achievements over the next 26 years were numerous, including Educator of the Year for clinical sciences at Boston University School of Medicine in 2008, the Swartz Award for teacher of the year at BU in 2009, and the distinguished alumni award from Boardman High School in 2011. Dr. Chengelis spent the majority of his medical career as a Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University, and his teachings changed the lives of many. He completed his residency in psychiatry at The Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA; a fellowship in addiction medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; and he was a former chief resident of Crisis Intervention Services in Boston.
For those that were fortunate enough to know him personally or professionally, Dr. Chengelis would challenge the status quo and always speak up in the best interest of his patients and colleagues. He was the consummate advocate for patient care and humanitarianism, often instructing medical students to listen first, and then help the patient eat a meal or drink, before discussing any specific details of the case. He truly believed that every patient was a person first, and never just a number in the system.
He realized his dream of returning home to Youngstown in July to continue his work as the Director of Psychiatry at St. Elizabeth Hospital, where Dr. Chengelis made an immediate impact on the staff and patients. He is survived by his brother, Nicholas H. Chengelis of Boardman, whom he shared his home with. A fund has been established and contributions and condolences can made to Nicholas Chengelis P.O. Box 6077 Youngstown, OH 44501-6077. Nicholas would like to sincerely thank the staff at St. Elizabeth Hospital for their support and the compassionate care they provided his brother.
Dr. Chengelis was preceded in death by his beloved parents Theodore P. and Evelyn Haritos, brother Perry L. Chengelis, and sister Patricia F. Chengelis.
A private service was conducted by the Reverend Father Thomas Constantine at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in Boardman, OH on Saturday, October 5th.