James E. Eckenhoff, M.D., 81, professor emeritus of anesthesiology and dean emeritus of the Northwestern University Medical School, died Nov. 25  at LaPorte Hospital in LaPorte, Ind.
Dr. Eckenhoff, an internationally recognized expert in anesthesiology, joined the Medical School in 1965 as the first chair of the department of anesthesia. He served as dean of the Medical School from 1970 to 1983 and as president of the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University from 1980 to 1983.
The author of "Introduction to Anesthesiology," the textbook that continues to serve as the basis for students in the field, Dr. Eckenhoff was the first director of the anesthesia research center at Northwestern University, one of five such centers funded by the National Institutes of Health. He served as chief of anesthesia at Passavant Memorial Hospital and chair of anesthesia at Chicago Wesley Memorial Hospital, which combined to become Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
He also was a consultant in anesthesia to the Veterans Administration Lakeside Medical Center, Children's Memorial Hospital, Great Lakes Naval Hospital and the Surgeon General, U.S. Navy.
Prior to joining Northwestern, Dr. Eckenhoff was a professor of anesthesia at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He joined the faculty there in 1945, specializing in anesthesiology and clinical pharmacology. He was assistant director of the department of anesthesiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
He is survived by his wife, Jane; three sons, Edward, Walter and Roderic; and nine grandchildren.
A memorial service for Dr. Eckenhoff will he held from 4 to 5 p.m. Jan. 15 in Turnbull Auditorium at the Medical School.