Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Bergere Kenney


Honored February, 1988

Bergere Kenney

Santa Fe native Bergere Kenney, whose family traces its roots in New Mexico to the time of the Spanish land grants, lived all his life in the town where he was born and raised. His contributions, both professional and cultural, changed the city forever, and helped to make it the Mecca it is today.

Born in a little house on Don Gaspar Street in 1921 -- "not a log cabin though, nothing so quaint as that" -- Bergere graduated from Santa Fe High School, received his bachelor's degree from Harvard, and went on to get a medical degree from Northwestern University. After a stint in the army, he returned to Santa Fe in 1948, to practice internal medicine and cardiology.

The cardiac care unit Bergere set up in 1967 at St. Vincent Hospital is named in his honor. During the difficult time of transition for the hospital, when its supervision was transferred from the Catholic Sisters of Charity to the present non-sectarian administration, Bergere served as the hospital's chief of staff. "If I were to look back with nostalgia on anything in my career, it would be that time," he said.

When the hospital outgrew its quarters on Palace Avenue, Bergere, along with hospital director Sister Mary Joaquin and Dr. Will Friedman, envisioned and brought into being the new hospital on St. Michael's Drive.    Bergere and his wife Dolores, a bacteriologist, raised five remarkable children. Science, medicine, music and community activism run in the family. Son David is a chemical engineer. Daughter Ellen is a nurse who worked closely with her father at St Vincent Hospital. Daughter Nancy is a musician, daughter Katie a Board member at the College of Santa Fe. Son Chris holds a PhD in anatomy and practices ophthalmology in California. At last count, there were ten Kenney grandchildren.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.