Monday, August 15, 2011

The sad end to the life of a distinguished gentleman on Madison Street

The Washington Post ran a sad profile of Theodoric James, who lived in the house pictured above at 1208 Madison Street NW. James worked in the White House's Office of Records Management for over 40 years and served 10 presidents, but late in his life he was stricken with an undiagnosed mental illness (undiagnosed because James refused the assistance of city service agents who were called in by family members and close friends). James died in this house, of heat exposure, during the intense heatwave that hit the District earlier this month.

The central question in the Post article is this:

Now family, friends, former colleagues at the White House and D.C. officials are left to wonder: Could James’s death have been prevented?

I'm not schooled on DC's involuntary commitment laws, but I think the likely answer to the Post's question is "no". Sad.

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