Tribute to longtime Rotarian Dr. Jim Boerner

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

November, 2020 photo of Jim Boerner and close friend Ray Lowery

Community leader Dr. Jim Boerner (pronounced bur-ner), age 69, passed away last Friday (4/9/2021) after a battle with COVID-19. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time and will be announced later from Woodfin Funeral Chapel.

Ascension St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital President and CEO Gordon Ferguson said, “As many of you know, Dr. Boerner fought a courageous battle against COVID-19, and was recently transferred from our facility to Select Specialty Hospital in Nashville. …The loss of this servant leader and dedicated physician will leave a void in our hearts forever.” 

Boerner had practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Murfreesboro since 1981, and when Middle Tennessee Medical Center moved from Highland Avenue to the new hospital on Medical Center Parkway, he had the unique honor of delivering the last baby born at the old Ruterford Hospital location. Several hours later, after all patients had been transferred to the new hospital, Dr. Boerner delivered the first newborn at what is now Ascension St Thomas Rutherford Hospital.

Paul Petrilli, CRNA, commented, “I spent 32 yrs. in the anesthesia department at the old Rutherford Hospital / Middle Tennessee Medical Center, and had the pleasure of administering hundreds upon hundreds of hours of anesthesia for Dr. Boerner both for his surgical and obstetrical cases. Jim was high on the list of loved and well respected specialists on the staff during and after my time there. He will be sorely missed by all.”

He was active in training residents at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital, and was honored with the 2017 Professor of the Year award. He chaired the St. Thomas Rutherford board from 2018 through 2020, and continued to serve on the board. Although it had not been made known publicly, Dr. Boerner and his wife Sydney recently learned they were the Foundation’s 2021 recipients of the Dr. Liz Rhea Phillanthropist Award.  

Dr. Maryjane Brown, Emergency Medicine Physician at Ascension St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital, said, “Thank you for your smiles, your examples, your spirit your wisdom which you so willingly shared -I remember meeting with you and Anne Davis( former Rutherford Foundation Director) about how to develop a wellness program and commit to training the next generation of physicians for our nascent UTEM program – YOUR SMILE and LETS DO IT resonate with me still.”

WGNS has received numerous comments from former patients, and this seems to express the mood of each, “Dr. Boerner was truly a blessing to me and my family. His smile and his honesty will truly be missed. Prayers going up for the family.”

Another said, “I’m one of many who loved Dr. Boerner. He delivered my beautiful son seven years ago. He was a wonderful doctor. I’ll never forget his kindness and empathy. He truly loved being a doctor and helping others. Being a coworker of my father, he always shared kind words about my dad. I’m heartbroken to hear of his untimely passing. Godspeed to his family during this difficult time.”

Jim Boerner was a longtime leader in the 100+ year old Rotary Club of Murfreesboro, and was perhaps the only individual who served two terms as president of that civic organization. 

Dr. Boerner graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1977.