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Robert Valencia stands beside a painting of his late brother, Warren Valencia, in Longmont on Wednesday. Warren was a doctor who practiced in Longmont for 47 years. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
Robert Valencia stands beside a painting of his late brother, Warren Valencia, in Longmont on Wednesday. Warren was a doctor who practiced in Longmont for 47 years. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
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Editor’s note: The article has been updated to reflect the number of active patients that Dr. Warren Valencia had.

Being a physician was Dr. Warren Valencia’s life, not just a job.

In his 47 years of practice in Longmont, Valencia left an impact on those he treated. Patients and staff who knew him said Valencia’s compassion and dedication to preventative care saved lives and improved its quality for others.

Valencia, 73, died of natural causes at his Longmont home on Sept. 1. Valencia, an internal medicine specialist, ran a family practice called Dr. Warren Valencia, PC, located at 2030 Mountain View Ave.

Robert Valencia, 65, of Grapevine, Texas, is Valencia’s younger brother. Robert Valencia said his brother’s greatest legacy throughout his lifetime was his care for his patients.

“Some of his patients were with him for over 40 years,” Valencia said. “He was stubborn. He was proud. He was smart, and he was dedicated. He was a good doctor. Being a physician was his entire life. He never had a strong personal life, no personal family, no children.”

Warren Valencia’s practice partnered with Centura Health. After his death, Centura Health-Longmont United Hospital released a statement.

“Dr. Warren Valencia was a wonderful, dedicated health provider and we were honored to partner with him to care for this community,” the statement read. “He will be greatly missed and we at LUH want to express our deepest condolences to his friends and family.”

Warren Valencia grew up in Huntington, Long Island. Robert Valencia said he and his brother were inseparable as kids. His older brother always looked after him and frequently took him to see the New York Yankees play baseball. Sports, Robert Valencia said, were his brother’s passion outside work. He was a fan of the Broncos and the Denver Nuggets.

Robert Valencia said that as a kid, his brother always dreamed of being a physician. He described his brother as a person who cared more for others than himself.

Warren Valencia graduated from medical school in the 1970s in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Colorado in 1976. An outdoor enthusiast, who loved camping, hiking, cycling and running, his older brother always had a dream to “go west,” and Colorado offered him plenty of avenues to explore his hobbies, Robert Valencia said.

Patients often saw Valencia taking an after-work jog. His route included running through downtown to Airport Road. Robert Valencia joined him on a few of those runs when visiting Colorado.

He said his brother had strong principles when it came to caring for his patients.

“He didn’t believe in over-medicating his patients,” Robert Valencia said. “He tried to get them into healthier lifestyles, which he was quite good at.”

Longtime patient Jack Conway, of Hygiene, was a patient of Warren Valencia’s for 45 years. After being treated for Type 2 diabetes for 30 years, Conway said he is no longer a diabetic. He said it was Valencia’s knowledge and compassion that motivated him to be a patient for so long.

“I just liked the man. He seemed like he was very bright, very smart and a very caring person,” Conway said. “He was very thorough and very objective. He was an opinionated man with a really good soul.”

Conway’s wife, Julie, was also a patient of Valencia’s for 45 years.

“Besides the fact that he really cared for all his patients, he was tenacious in getting to the crux of a problem,” she said. “He wouldn’t quit until he found out what was going on.”

Jean Housepian, a nurse practitioner, had worked for Valencia’s practice for 17 years. Valencia treated thousands of patients in his 47 years, she said.  According to Housepian, he had about 2,200 active patients before his death.

Housepian saw the connection Valencia had with his patients.

“He enjoyed helping people get the most out of their life through managing their medical illnesses,” Housepian said. “Every person was a unique person to him. He was a great listener and really took time to customize what people needed. He was very stubborn on the one hand, but he would work with people to try to get them to understand why he wanted to do what he wanted to do.”

Valencia was “ahead of everyone else” in practices to treat diabetes and hypertension, Housepian said. He had a genuine thirst for knowledge, Housepian said, and was always reading medical journals.

“There were many times someone would walk in with some symptom and he would either know something was wrong — he would laser in on that or he would know some obscure fact in medicine and he would follow through,” Housepian said. “He was a great diagnostician.”

Robert Valencia said he is working to find someone to take over his brother’s practice. A prospective new owner has been in communication with him, but details were still too preliminary to share.

Warren Valencia’s inurnment took place Wednesday at Foothills Gardens of Memory in Longmont, according to one his obituaries.

Valencia had once remarked that he felt most like himself with a stethoscope around his neck — an image that those who knew him will remember him by, alongside his knowledge for the field and compassion for his patients.

The doctor’s absence is one that will be noticed.

“I’m going to miss him quite a bit,” Robert Valencia said.

Julie Conway echoed the sentiment.

“We are going to miss him terribly,” she said. “You will never find a doctor (like him) that will give you the kind of time he did.”

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