Winter Park doctor James Kennedy retires after 40 years

Saywer D’Argonne |
Dr. James Kennedy, right, smiles as he stands with his daughter, Dr. Kelley Glancey, left. Kennedy will retire from his Winter Park medical practice at the end of the month, ending his 40-year career in medicine.
Courtesy Photo |

After 40 years of practicing medicine, Dr. James Kennedy will soon trade in his lab coat and stethoscope for hiking pants and a compass.

The local doctor will retire from his 40-year career at the end of this month, having spent the last 13 years at Byers Peak Family Medicine in Winter Park, the medical practice he opened in 2005.

Kennedy grew up in Aurora and attended Colorado State University, graduating from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1976, where he also completed his residency in family medicine.

“I decided to become a doctor about halfway through college, at the time I was studying to be a veterinarian,” Kennedy said. “I got to know a lot of people in pre-med and decided it sounded like a better thing to do. That was a long time ago, and I’ve never looked back. It’s been a great career.”

Kennedy went on to work with Indian Health Service on a Navajo reservation before moving to New Hampshire, where he remained for 14 years.

“My wife is from the east coast, so she wanted to be closer to her folks back home,” he said. “We lived and worked there for 14 years in a small town. And we really enjoyed that, it was a great place to raise the kids.”

Kennedy and his wife have two daughters, one of which, Dr. Kelley Glancey, works with him at his Winter Park practice.

In 1996, Kennedy returned to Colorado after accepting a Department of Family Medicine faculty position at the Colorado University School of Medicine.

During his 10-year stretch with the university, Kennedy served as the associate chair of the department and associate medical director for the university.

It was in 2005 when Kennedy left the university and started Byers Peak Family Medicine, though he meanwhile continued mentoring residents in rural healthcare.

“The more I got up in the administration, the less patient care there was,” said Kennedy. “And living in Winter Park seemed a lot nicer than living in Denver.

Kennedy called Winter Park a small community, which he said was more to his liking compared with being an “anonymous person in a big city.”

“It just seemed like a good personal decision to leave the campus,” he explained.

For the last six years Kennedy has served on the American Board of Family Medicine, the certifying body for all of the 88,000 family doctors across the country. He served his final year as the board’s president before resigning in April.

Kennedy estimates that he’s had 125,000 patient encounters over his illustrious career, and says he plans on spending his retirement traveling and enjoying Grand County’s many mountain sports.

“I have the best job in the world,” he said. “Nothing is perfect, but it’s been very gratifying to be able to be friends and help to a lot of people.”

That, he said, is why he opted to work in a small town — most of the people are friends and acquaintances.

“It really makes you feel good about what you’ve done,” he added.

Kennedy’s daughter, Glancey, is currently running the Byers Peak practice. Dr. Catherine Dunne will join the practice in August. She recently completed her residency at Swedish Medical Center in Denver, and was awarded the Behavioral Science Award for graduating residents.

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