James Clarendon Peele was born in La Grange, North Carolina on August 17, 1911, the son of James Fletcher and Mary Vera (Wooten) Peele. He attended La Grange High School, then the University of North Carolina, where he received the A. B. degree in 1932. On May 21, 1933, Peele and the former Lois Lee Culler of Kernersville, Forsyth County, North Carolina, were married. He studied at UNC’s medical school from 1933 through 1935 and received his medical degree in Otolaryngology in1937 from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Peele next received internships at Temple University Hospital, and later at Baylor University Hospital in Dallas, Texas. During World War II, he served from July 1942 to July 1946, as a Captain in the U. S. Army. Peele became a member of the American Board of Otolaryngology in 1942.
Besides continuing to study Otolaryngology and Broncho-Esophagology at various other academic hospitals during the next few years, Peele also retained a private practice from August 1946 to January 1948 in Goldsboro, North Carolina specializing in diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. He also studied related medical observations from 1948 to 1954 in the Department of Broncho-Esophagology at Temple University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College. In September of 1956, Peele took the Fomon Course in Rhino plastic Surgery at Manhattan General Hospital in New York, and received the Master of Medical Science, a post graduate Medical degree from Medico-Chirurgical College, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, on February 10, 1951.
Peele was also a member of Wayne County Medical Society, President of Lenoir County Medical Society, a member of North Carolina Medical Society, Chairman, Section on Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, and Vice-Counselor of the Second Medical District. Other professional memberships of Peele included the Southern Medical Association, Seaboard Medical Association of Virginia and North Carolina, American College of Surgeons, American Laryngologicical, Rheological, and Ontological Society, and Honorary of the Tidewater Ophthalmological and Otoaryngological Association, and the North Carolina Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat Society, of which he was also Vice President from 1954 to 1955 and President in 1956. Dr. Peele also served on the Board of Directors of Lenoir County Tuberculosis Association and on the Lenoir County Morehead Scholarship Committee and authored at least sixteen medical publications.
Peele was a member of Rotary International and a registered Democrat, though he sometimes voted as an Independent. He was a member and former President of the Baptist Brotherhood in his church, the First Baptist of Kinston, North Carolina, as well as a member of the Board of Deacons. Peele extended his professional skill into his hobby of laryngeal photography. He was also interested in collecting literature on communism and anti-communism. In 1968 Peele gave to East Carolina University’s Joyner Library his collection of monographs, serials, pamphlets, leaflets and ephemeral materials pertaining to pro-communist and anti-communist organizations. This would become The J. Edgar Hoover Collection on International Communism. This collection currently contains more than 5,000 titles, some of which are not available elsewhere.
Partial Source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, William S. Powell (Editor)