Between the ages of 7 and 8 James Quander was told the only thing he was born to do was to die. However, he lived longer than persons who had diabetes were expected to. Mr. Quander was born in 1918 and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before he turned 6 in 1924, shortly after insulin was introduced to the market.
James Quander was a black American whose family had been in the United States since the late 1600s. Mr. Quander graduated from Garnett Patterson Junior High in 1933 and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 1936, Washington’s then segregated schools. He worked his way through Miner Teachers College (now part of the University of the District of Columbia) by selling ice cream and had two newspaper routes during the great depression, where he graduated with a degree in Chemistry. In 1940 Mr. Quander was hired by the U.S. post office, persevered past racial inequalities and worked for many federal agencies as a computer programmer, statistician and economist until his retirement in 1973. In 1971 he was ordained by the Washington Archdiocese as a permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, becoming one of the first 16 men in the restoration of what had been suspended for 800 years.
Mr. James Quander kept his diabetes a secret for over 60 years because of pervasive misunderstandings about the nature of the disease. He was self motivated, setting high goals; a determined, and disciplined individual. Mr. Quander was described as a medical miracle, one of the longest survivors of diabetes in the US.
Mr. James Quander passed away at the age of 86, surviving with diabetes for over 80 years. He left behind four children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grand child. Rohulamin Quander, a retired judge, wrote a book about his father called “Quander Quality:The True Story of a Black Trailblazing Diabetic“.

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