STOCKTON - Dr. James R. Popplewell, a physician with a variety of intense interests who spent the bulk of his career as medical director of Valley Mountain Regional Center serving the needs of thousands of developmentally disabled children and adults in a five-county area, died peacefully surrounded by his family Dec. 24.
Described by a longtime colleague as a very caring individual who worked exceptionally well with children with developmental disabilities, Popplewell
was well-known statewide for his
contributions to the field over the past three decades.
"For the number of accomplishments he had, he was a very humble man," said Billodeau, who also sought out Popplewell
as his personal physician.
Born in Oakland on May 3, 1946, Popplewell graduated high school at 15.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Army and enrolled at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, where he studied Japanese.
retired at the beginning of summer.
had a penchant for languages.
In addition to Japanese, he
spoke French and could handle Latin.