Dr. James Wallace Peak
September 12, 1926 — September 11, 2020
A reckless and fearless soul that loved life’s adventures died peacefully Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.
Born in Dallas, Texas, Sept. 12, 1926, to Adelaide Kennedy and James Beale Peak, of Irish-English parentage. Spending his childhood in Highland Park, he left home at age 15. He attended university until he enlisted in the Navy to join the Allied efforts of WWII. After achieving his Bachelor of Science in biology, he then attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and continued his education at the University of Texas — Austin, receiving a master’s degree in physiology. In 1949 he married his first wife, Ruby “Babs” Pfluger.
He then attended the University of Idaho forestry department in Moscow, before working for the State of Nevada Fish and Game Department, sometimes flying Piper Cub airplanes in the vast skies over Nevada and Yellowstone National Park as a big-game biologist.
Next, he worked as a pharmaceutical representative for Parke Davis & Co. bringing him to Kansas City, Missouri. Here, he was accepted into medical school at The Kansas City College of Osteopathy and Surgery.
His first years as a doctor were spent as an intern at Mesa Memorial Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, drawn there by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. He was the first doctor of osteopathy in the state of Colorado. He opened a private medical practice in Montrose, Colorado, providing healthcare to the region from 1960 through 1994.
He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Montrose. He ventured to Latin America on several occasions providing humanitarian and medical help to populations in need. He was employed by the Behavioral Medical Corp. as a director of the psychological care unit. He spent time as the Chief of Medicine at MMH, acted on the executive committee, chaired various groups, including Rotary Club, Academic Booster Club; received countless awards for his community service, and was United States Civil Surgeon. He gave of his time as a clinical instructor, teaching others in the medical profession, also teaching biology at Colorado Western College in the early 70s. He retired in 1995 before sailing around the world with family aboard the 35-foot sailing vessel Blue Pearl, venturing, and crossing, the Atlantic Ocean for his second time.
James lived with intention. He was an adventurer and believed strongly in education for all. His impact will be felt on the past, present and future of Montrose. He was passionate about his country, family and friends. He was a man who cared immensely for humanity.
He is survived by his wife, Christine of almost 50 years. He was father to seven children, Phyllis Thompson (deceased); Helen Kaupang; Jay Peak; Libby Larrabee; Mark Peak; Kara Peak and Jefferson Peak, along with 14 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.
On Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, he passed peacefully from this earth.
At his request his body was donated to The University of Kansas Anatomy Department to further medical science. A celebration of Jim’s life has already taken place. Because he believed so strongly in education, a scholarship through REIJ School District has been set up to honor him. Donations can be sent “In Memory of James W. Peak” to Alpine Bank, 2770 Alpine Drive, Montrose, CO 81401.