In Memoriam: Jewell Bukantz

It is with immense sadness that I inform you that Jewell Bukantz, former member and longt-time friend of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of has passed away. Jewell was a remarkable lady who touched the lives of everyone she met. She is survived by her husband and our dear friend, Samuel C. Bukantz, MD, Emeritus Professor and Director, Division of Allergy and Immunology, and Distinguished Professor at USF. Dr. Bukantz founded the USF Department of Internal Medicine Division of Allergy and Immunology in 1972. Jewell will always have a special place in our hearts and will be truly missed. If you would like to send Dr. Bukantz a note, his address is: University Village, 12250 N. 22nd Street, #170, Tampa, Florida 33612.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that a contribution be made to the World Wildlife Fund (1250 Twenty-Fourth Street, N.W.; P.O. Box 97180; Washington, D.C. 20090-7189). Contributions can also be made online at

— Dr. Richard Lockey, director of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Jewell Williams Bukantz was born on a farm in Greensboro, Georgia, on Jan. 28, 1915. Her father died when she was only six years old, and her mother raised Jewell and her older sister and brothers. When she graduated from high school she worked in a doctor’s office and there saw a pamphlet about Mount Sinai Nursing School. Jewell daringly took the train to New York City to become a registered nurse. At Mount Sinai she met a young resident, Samuel Bukantz. They dated for several years and married April 5, 1941.

Jewell was a dedicated nurse, a devoted wife and mother, a faithful friend and good neighbor. She always created and cared for a beautiful home and splendid gardens. She raised two daughters, Jessica and Dorothy, and maintained loving friendships and relationships with family members throughout her life. Jewell and Sam moved to Tampa 38 years ago, ostensibly to retire, but since neither was the retiring type they built a whole new life instead. Jewell worked in the clinic in the newly developed USF Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Immunology, which Sam headed. She often talked about how she taught the young fellows how to do skin tests. She started growing orchids and became active in the Orchid Society, always eager to learn more, and to share her knowledge. She was honored in the newspaper and television news as “the orchid lady.”

She loved all kinds of animals. Every morning she was greeted by egrets and great blue herons who came to her back door for their daily treat. Jewell Bukantz was a remarkable woman, with enormous energy and resilience. Twice, after fracturing vertebrae, she pushed herself to walk again. She lived 93 long, full years.

Tribute by Dr. Richard Lockey/Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology