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Benefactors’ Ball Honors Three with Cephas Bard Awards


Dr. Cephas L. Bard moved to rural San Buenaventura in 1868 after serving as a surgeon in the Civil War. In 1901 he and his brother built the first private hospital in Ventura County — Elizabeth Bard Memorial Hospital, which is now known as Community Memorial Hospital.

At this year’s Benefactors’ Ball, Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation debuted what is to become an annual recognition of an outstanding community leader and two medical professionals associated with Community Memorial Hospital.


Awardees at the inaugural ceremony were:

WILLIAM J. KEARNEY – Community Leader of the Year
“CMH is worthy of the community’s support as we move into the 21st century with facilities to match the outstanding medical care that has been practiced here for more than a century.”

Twenty-nine years ago, a series of career opportunities brought Bill and Elise Kearney to Ventura, where Elise had been born and raised. A successful businessman, Bill soon became associated with CMH, bringing a dedication and active involvement with every activity in which he participated. Bill has served as a member of the Community Memorial Healthcare Foundation board since its inception; president of that board for three years; co-chair and fundraiser extraordinaire for the CMHS Capital Campaign; and a CMHS trustee. He personally values the strength of the health system and has worked diligently to ensure its success.

Bill sees CMH as an incredible focal point for Ventura because it belongs to everyone in the community. He believes that our health system embodies the care and caring in this region, as it reaches out to everyone, including underserved populations. It’s integral to both the vitality and the future of our community—an anchor point for the health of all its members.

J.N. WARWAR, M.D. – Physician of the Year
“This new facility and advanced medical technology will attract good doctors to Ventura, especially specialists.”

Following medical school at Tulane and an internship at Cedars-Sinai, the offer of a two-year residency in family practice at the Ventura County Medical Center brought Dr. J. N. Warwar and his wife, Florence, to Ventura. They loved the area so much that they decided to make it their permanent home. Starting out, Dr. Warwar opened a one-person practice on Loma Vista across from the hospital. When the practice outgrew that space, he opened a larger office on Brent Street and enlarged that office when his son, Dr. Robert Warwar, joined the practice. In July 2015, Dr. Warwar will have practiced for 50 years in Ventura.

Dr. Warwar has always been affiliated with CMH and sees this hospital as an extension of his own practice. He is a staunch CMH advocate who has worked ceaselessly to help the hospital flourish. Working for the betterment of the hospital, physicians, and patients, Dr. Warwar started the Family Practice department at the hospital. He is proud that patients rarely need to leave the area to get the care they need, when CMH can provide advanced medical technology and outstanding physicians right here in our community.

JAMES MCKINZIE, M.D. – Retired Physician of the Year
“CMH has always been a leader in the area of healthcare and advanced medical technology. A new era in medicine is coming and this is an ideal time to build a new hospital with the latest in medical technology. Great things in medicine are coming in the next 50 years.”

Raised in the Midwest, Dr. James McKinzie completed his early medical training in the Chicago area, attending the University of Illinois in Chicago, interning at Cook County General Hospital and working in general surgery for two years at Chicago’s VA Hospital. After serving in the Air Force, he did a three year residency at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. The day after completing his residency, he was asked to become an attending physician at the Institute and he served there as a physician and teacher for 34 years. He never forgot the many physicians who had helped him in his professional life and he took pride in being able to give back to upcoming generations of physicians by teaching both courses and continually evolving eye surgery techniques.

Dr. McKinzie’s long association with CMH began in 1964. As new technologies were developed and taught at the Stein Eye Institute, he quickly introduced those cutting edge techniques at CMH to the benefit of thousands of patients. One of the greatest technological advances in the practice of ophthalmology was the Phacoemulsification machine for cataract surgery, introduced in 1967. By the early 1970’s, Benefactors’ Ball proceeds were used to purchase this new technology at Dr. McKinzie’s recommendation. Dr. McKinzie has also been a chair of the Benefactors’ Ball Committee. Dr. McKinzie has been an avid and valued supporter of CMH since he joined us more than 50 years ago.

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