James Kilburn Weaver, M.D.
April 9, 1929~Sept. 20, 2017
James Kilburn Weaver, M.D. age 88, died in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Sept. 20, 2017, of a massive stroke. He was with his loving wife and his niece Heather Borch-Christensen.
Jim was born in Fort Collins, Colo., on April 9, 1929 to Jess and Saville Weaver. When Jim was an infant his family moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado where Jim excelled in both academics and sports. After graduating high school in 1947 he went on to graduate Harvard University, where he had been captain of the Harvard Ski Team and excelled at ski jumping.
Following Harvard, he returned to Colorado and earned his Doctorate of Medicine at the University of Colorado. This was followed by an orthopaedical residence at the same institution. He followed with a year fellowship of additional training at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland under the world- renowned Dr. J.I.P. James. He then returned to the University of Colorado as an assistant professor.
Jim served in the United States Air Force from 1962 to 1966.
Jim always excelled in academics and wrote numerous articles and book chapters. He then moved to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where for two years he ran the Carrier Tingley Hospital for Crippled Children. Jim was then named Chief of the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he spent many years training young residents and fellows.
Jim specialized in total joint replacement surgery, children’s orthopaedics and sports medicine. The “Weaver-Dunn Procedure” was developed by Jim and his resident Harold Dunn, M.D., and is still used in shoulder reconstructions today.
Jim was a member of numerous orthopaedical groups including: AOSSM (American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine), AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons), ABJS (Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons), and he was most proud of being President of the Western Orthopaedic Society, which represented orthopaedical surgeons in the entire western third of the United States. He also was instrumental in starting the Western Slope Chapter of Orthopaedists in Colorado, in which annual meetings are still held today. Jim and his dad, Jess Weaver, were charter members of the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. Jim continued as a board member until shortly before his death.
After returning to Colorado from Harvard, Jim married Norma Benedict from Glenwood Springs. They had three children, Sally, Jess and Jill. Jim and Norma divorced after the accidental death of their son Jess.
Jim later married the “love of his life” Kathleen Freeman Weaver in 1976. They spent the next 41 years together “bonded at the hip” and were inseparable. They moved to Aspen, Colo., and started Aspen Orthopaedic Associates with Dr. Bob Oden. Kathie and Jim traveled with the U.S. Girls Ski Team for several years; following this they moved to Glenwood Springs and opened Aspen Orthopaedics of Glenwood Springs and Aspen where Jim worked for the remainder of his orthopaedic career.
After retirement with his exuberant energy, they bought 100 acres of land in Fruita, Colo., where they built a beautiful home, and raised a herd of 100 buffalo, all of which while continuing to work part time as an orthopaedist for the Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Group in Grand Junction, Colo. Jim and Kathie, and their two goldens Frankie and Johnny recently retired to Scottsdale, Ariz.
To know Jim and Kathie was to know their beloved golden retrievers: Original Bill, Teddy, Billy 2, Frankie and Johnny. They loved their goldens and never went anywhere without them. While living in Fruita, a repairman was alarmed when the dogs jumped into the swimming pool. Kathie said, “No worries, that is why we built it!”
Jim was quiet, but had a great, witty, subtle sense of humor. If you didn’t pay attention, you would miss it. Jim and Kathie built their home on No Name Creek with minimal help. Each night, Kathie would ask him to look at how much they had done that day and Jim would always answer, “I will look when we are finished.”
Jim had a zest for life, especially the out-of-doors. He and Kathie spent many hours on horseback going up the Jess Weaver trail to their cabin on the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. Jess Weaver, Jim’s dad, built that cabin in the ’30s and Jim spent many summers there. Jim and Kathie loved to fly fish on No Name Creek close to their home.
In 1978 he and his father were going up to the cabin. The water was high. Jess and his horse were flipped by the water and Jess did not survive. It took Jim 10 years to convince the Forest Service to supply the materials for a bridge at that crossing. Ten years to the day of Jess’ death the National Guard Helicopters airlifted two 700-pound steel bridge abutments to the site. Jim quickly recruited every friend he had to go up the trail to build the bridge. They actually were able to build two bridges plus carve out another trail. Jim knew he had to get it done that summer because “he was running out of friends….” He never left a job unfinished.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 41 years, Kathie, daughter Sally and two grandsons, Jess and James. He is pre-deceased by his parents Jess and Saville, his son Jess Jr., daughter Jill and niece Priscilla Freeman.
He is also survived by his brother-in-law Albert Freeman (Deanna), brother-in-law Edward Freeman (Barbara), sister-in-law Colleen Selby (Richard), nephew Christopher Freeman (Landyn), niece Heather Borch-Christensen (Lars) and grandnieces Elle and Cele Borch Christensen.
Jim left an indelible mark on the orthopaedic community, as well as all who knew him and he will be dearly missed.
A celebration of his life will be held at the Red Barn Guest Ranch, 345 CR 262 (the intersection of Mid Valley Lane and Peach Valley Road) Silt, Colo., at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017 at 2 p.m. Please carpool.
James Kilburn Weaver, M.D.