Pediatrician who delivered Colorado's first sextuplets in 1973 dies at 96 .

Children's Hospital Los Angeles

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Dr. James E. Strain, a pediatrician who practiced in Denver for 36 years and who lead a medical team in 1973 delivering the first sextuplets in Colorado, died Feb. 4 after a brief illness. Strain was 96.

On Sept. 16, 1973, Strain oversaw the delivery of the Stanek sextuplets — four boys and two girls — at Colorado General Hospital. During the historic birthing, there were 30 people in the delivery room, including two pediatricians and a pediatric nurse for each infant. The first child was born naturally and the rest by cesarean section.

Edna Stanek, the sextuplets’ mother, had been hospitalized for three weeks before going into labor. Strain, at a news conference two days after the births, praised Stanek, calling her “a real rock. She took it all with great calmness.”

As for the medical team’s performance: “It was a marvelous achievement,” Strain said in a Denver Post story at the time.

Strain Family

Dr. James E. Strain

Born on April 23, 1923, in Lincoln, Neb., Strain’s family moved to Denver when he was a 2-year-old. Strain graduated from Denver South High School, earned a bachelor’s degree from Phillips University of Enid, Okla., and a medical degree from the University of Colorado.

He began practicing in Colorado in 1950, including two years in the Army Department of Pediatrics at Fort Carson. In addition to his pediatric practice, Strain was a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Medical Center. He also served as director of genetic services at Children’s Hospital of Colorado, which in 1983 established a child advocacy award in his name.

Strain credited his late wife, Ruby, with being most influential in his pursuit of a medical career. “I met her (at Phillips University), and she was completely dedicated to nursing. As a matter of fact, I have to say, she probably influenced me more in becoming a doctor than any other one thing in my life,” Strain said in a 2015 oral history project for the Gartner Pediatric History Center. Ruby Strain died in 2006, after the couple had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

On a national scale, Strain served as president of American Academy of Pediatrics in 1982-83 and as the academy’s executive director from 1986 to 1993.

He is survived by three children: Jim Strain, Jan McKinney and Jeff Phillips-Strain; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. March 7 at the South Broadway Christian Church, 23 Lincoln St., Denver.

Memorial contributions may be made to The American Academy of Pediatrics at donate.aap.org; the Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation Gifts; the “James E. and Ruby S. Strain Endowment for Radiology” online at: childrenscoloradofoundation.org; or South Broadway Christian Church, 23 Lincoln St., Denver 80203.