American Veteran 04

George Edward Kennedy III

March 29, 1946 ~ September 13, 2020 (age 74)


Kennedy, George Edward III

Born March 29, 1946 in Gallup, NM, passed away peacefully at his home on September 13, 2020.

The third of eight children, he was named for his grandfather, George E. Kennedy I, who was among the first Indian traders to the Navajo reservation, and then his uncle George Kennedy II.

George was preceded in death by his brother Robert, 1978 and his parents John William Kennedy, 2014 and Georgiana Monaco Kennedy, 2018.

He is survived by his son, Ben (Silver City), wife, Rebecca (Albuquerque), stepdaughter, Linda Bowen (Tennessee) and stepson, Thomas Dickerson (Albuquerque), brothers, John (Sheila) Albuquerque, Stephen (Jovanna) Gallup, sisters, Lynn Schmatlz - Red Lodge, MT, Judith Lavender (Harold) Albuquerque, Chris Bubany (George) Tucson, AZ, Georgiana Simpson (Steve) Bluff, Utah, eight nieces and nine nephews.

After three years of college, he volunteered for the Army where he finished first in his battalion at Ft. Ord and was given his choice of assignments. He chose Special Forces at Ft. Benning and received training as a Medic. The day he received his Green Beret, he called the Pentagon and volunteered for Vietnam. After Vietnam he vowed to live a life that honored those who didn’t return. Having survived Vietnam, he believed every day since was a gift and he planned to use them wisely. Following his return from Vietnam, he bought a house near UNM and continued his college aspirations. Upon receiving a degree in Pharmacy he was accepted into the second class at the UNM School of Medicine.

After medical school, he returned to the military as a Navy Lieutenant and became a Flight Surgeon. He then returned to New Mexico and practiced medicine in Gallup, Roswell, and Albuquerque. While in Gallup he served as the Chief of Staff at Rehoboth Medical Center Hospital, receiving Physician of the Year, 1992-1993.

On September 12, 2001, following the 9/11 attack, and at the age of 55, he began his efforts to re-enlist in the Army in anticipation of lending his experience and expertise in battlefield medicine. After five years of continuous efforts to re-enlist, he joined the NM National Guard as a Major and volunteered for four Middle East tours (two of which were back to back), spending them in Iraq and Afghanistan. His final tour brought him home on Thanksgiving Day 2011. He was awarded the New Mexico Distinguished Service Medal for Outstanding Service from 16 September 2006 to 31 March 2012 from the State of New Mexico.

Despite never seeking a military career, he served for 10 years in 3 branches of military service (over a 32 year period) entering as a Private and leaving as a Lt. Colonel. The majority of his medical service was spent in Albuquerque, serving in Emergency Medicine at both Presbyterian Hospital Center and UNM Hospital. Additionally, he served as NM State Surgeon General from 2009 - 2010.

He was also active with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department SWAT operation from 1999-2012 and was the Medical Director for the UNM Lifeguard flight team for 10 years.

Following his retirement from Emergency Medicine in 2014, he actively served as a mentor with the UNM School of Medicine Learning Communities and touched the lives of many aspiring doctors.

He was an avid hunter and led an active life. His major project late in life was building a mountain retreat with a custom traditional Russian oven.

He was totally devoted to his wife, son, stepchildren and his many nieces and nephews.

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