Cover photo for James Robert Regan's Obituary
James Robert Regan Profile Photo
1956 James 2024

James Robert Regan

May 31, 1956 — June 9, 2024

 James Robert Regan returned to God on June 9th, 2024, in his treasured backyard in Denver, Colorado. He had just celebrated his 68th birthday. He lived for his family and the relationships he maintained with his beloved patients over his forty-two years as a practicing physician in Internal Medicine. Dr. Regan illuminated both flyfishing and the practice of medicine as artforms. Generous, empathetic, charming and witty as can be, he will be remembered widely. 

 Born to Betty and Ramon on May 31, 1956, “Jimmy” Regan grew up in Detroit, Michigan. The youngest of four, he had a unique bond with each of his siblings. During the summers, they vacationed at the “river house” on the Truckee River, perhaps igniting his lifelong appreciation for the mountains of the western United States. In Detroit winters, he and his brother John would transform their backyard into an ice rink and play hockey for hours. He attended MacFarland Elementary school and graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1974.

 Jim studied pre-med at Colorado College in Colorado Springs where he also played hockey as a walk-on and was captain for the junior varsity team. He graduated in 1978 Magna cum Laude and attended Wayne State University back home in Detroit for medical school. During these years he lived at home on Oakman Blvd. and cherished the conversations he had with his mom over long games of ping pong in their basement. He earned his Doctorate of Medicine in 1982 and completed both his internship and residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver. In 1988 with his first wife, he became a father to Page who he lovingly adorned with the moniker “Bug” from birth. 

 After divorce and losing his dear mother Betty to a battle with cancer, at a Colorado College reunion of 1993, Jim’s life was changed upon meeting his bride, Nita. On his last day on Earth, they both still remembered the feeling of their first kiss. Nita is his partner, best friend and confidante. They celebrated the births of two sons during their marriage, Stephen in 1997 and Brett in 2000. She walked with him as he grieved the loss of his brother John in 2002, his sister Colleen in 2006 and his father Ray in 2015. He certainly loved dancing with his Nita, turning everyone’s head, always. They will have been married twenty-nine years on August 12th.

 Dr. Regan embodied an ethic of service and mastering his craft. From his first private practice on Gilpin St. in Denver, he was also always involved in volunteer work in service of healthcare providers and foremost, patients. This included a service trip to Nicaragua, appointments on multiple committees, and providing heartfelt, consistent care to his developmentally disabled patients as the Medical Director of Good Shepherd, then Bethesda and until his death with AbleLight. In 2011 he wrote, “Approximately 80 of these individuals have been my patients for nearly 20 years…and my hair is growing grey with theirs.”

 In 2000, he was proudly appointed as the President of the Denver Medical Society after having served in various positions, following which he served as Chairman of the Board. He was a member of the Colorado Medical Society beginning in 1983, serving as Chair of several Task Forces, on the Board of Directors in 2003, and as Treasurer from 2006-2009. He was involved with the American College of Physicians since 1997 when he was awarded a Preceptorship. He was recognized as a Fellow of ACP in 2005, something he considered a great honor. Fellowship in the American College of Physicians is a peer-reviewed and peer-supported credential that is a public reflection of excellence within the internal medicine profession. 

 His practice shifted over the years. After practicing on Gilpin St. at the Gilpin Medical Clinic, he joined a physician group downtown for several years, then later transferred to the University of Denver where he made lasting relationships with colleagues and provided care for college students. After leaving DU, he was pleased to return to private practice in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Over the last eight years his practice took the form of a ‘boutique style’ under the MDVIP model, where he still had autonomy but could give patients highly individualized medical care, along with an enhanced level of customer service and attention no longer possible in most primary care offices. He cherished being able to continue practicing medicine the way he was trained, spending the amount of time each patient needed, developing a deep bond with them and directly consulting and coordinating with specialists to manage their total care. Over the years, Nita became his business manager and together they were looking forward to their eventual retirement from the current office in Littleton, Colorado. 

 Not limited to the pride he hosted for his nephew James, a United States naval chief, Dr. Regan demonstrated a reverence for the United States military. He was dedicated to Veteran patients through Veterans Evaluation Services and spent many hours per week for the past 17 years in their service as a provider of disability evaluations in Golden, Colorado. Over the course of these weekly Tuesday afternoons and full Saturdays, he saw 3,000 Veterans. He valued being in these people's lives and bearing witness to their stories as one of his greatest privileges. 

 Jim was also an excellent saxophone player. We have video footage of him playing the sax in his family home at his 9th birthday celebration. He played in high school where he made All-State, but he was first required to be in the marching band to achieve that level. His stories and re-enactment of the unique and difficult marching posture they had to perfect in parades in Detroit always made us laugh. He was in a jazz band in college, and then joined an 8-piece orchestra to serenade his bride at their wedding reception in 1995 at the Brown Palace with “My One and Only Love” by John Coltrane. His family was so excited to see him return to the stage once again as he recently became Dr. Jim on Sax, playing alongside his son Brett and partner Megan in their band Meg Walker and the Better Band. The story goes that while in med school, while his brother John was out West, Jim sold all John’s classic rock albums and replaced them with jazz. He liked classic rock too, of course, and the depth of Prince compositions would bring him to tears often, as would many classical pieces, but no genre stirred his soul as sweetly as jazz. 

 Through and through a family man, Jim savored all three of his kids’ childhoods and sharing stories about them as now-adults brought him immense joy. He helped foster his eldest Page’s call to scholarship and nature; his son Stephen’s compassion for people and animals; and his youngest son Brett’s ear for music and strategic mind. Jim was the boys’ Cubmaster for many years planning countless learning adventures for meetings focused on historical activities and science exploration. He joyously looked forward to the Pinewood Derby each year and helping the boys create and race their cars. One year he arranged for the event to be televised live with Chris Parenti and it was quite exciting, even though it meant a very early morning for all versus your typical evening Derby celebration. He stayed intimately involved in scouting when Stephen continued on in Boy Scouts, sleeping in tents with him during below freezing Klondike campouts and always being present on every camping and hiking adventure. He basically earned an honorary Eagle Scout alongside Stephen when he finally achieved that honor in his senior year of high school. He and Nita became baseball scorekeepers and team parents during Brett’s saga as a pitcher and during both boys’ high school years on the Overland Tennis Team. In honor of an early commitment he made to his father, Jim provided each of his kids with a college education. After Stephen completes his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado, Denver, all three of Jim’s kids will have fulfilled their side of the deal. He loved long talks and spontaneous hikes in the Clark, Colorado wilderness with his sister Kathy. Somehow, he suspended time on each of these adventures; pausing to memorialize little insects or new blossoms through his camera lens. He worked hard and long hours in order to provide his family with their beautiful mountain home there. 

 With the exception of salmon caught during annual fishing pilgrimages on the Pere Marquette River in Michigan, Jim was a catch and release kind of guy. His first email address was also his last, catchnrel, still at aol.com, to his kids’ chagrin. Because of his adherence to this ethic, he and Page liked to joke about how they’ve been catching the same trout on the Elk River for over thirty years. He was a voracious reader and enjoyed collecting rare titles as he revisited or read them for the first time. He especially liked collecting books from his former patient Eric’s shop Bluebird Books, in Littleton. In fact, if you know Dr. Regan and have a business of your own, it’s likely that along with his awareness of your venture immediately came his patronage of it. Although the politics and economics of it frustrated him, he knew his sports, both college and pro. A craver of knowledge and hard questions, he also knew complex histories of about every era and swath of Earth or sky. Anyone could probably also tell you his favorite hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings. 

 In addition to the thousands of lives Dr. Regan touched as a physician, his colleagues, friends, and students, he is remembered by his wife Nita; his children Page (36), Stephen (26), and Brett (24); his sister Kathy; his nephew and godson James Regan, wife Danelle and kids Carson, Mia, and John. He’ll be remembered by his god daughter and niece Cate Muzaffar, her husband Isfi and kids Maziar and Fearon; his nieces Meg and Courtney Regan and sister in-law Jerri. He’ll be remembered, too, by his father in-law Robert “Grandpa Bob” Orsi, his sister in-law Nanette Makrauer and brother in-law Scott Makrauer. Lastly, he’ll be missed by his sister in-law Valerie Woodstra, brother in-law Todd and their kids Lance and Lauren. He was preceded in death by his mother Betty, his brother John, his sister Colleen and his father Ramon.

 He was prayerful over his family daily, and thankful to the Lord for the many blessings he had been given.

 A hole remains in myriad hearts with the loss of our jokester Jimmy, “Uncle Jim”, Dr. Regan, “pops”, “daddy”. On the wall at his Clark home hangs the 1960’s poem Desiderata he enjoyed reciting. Part of this cherished life advice reads, “With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” For James, a truly cheerful man, and the interconnectedness of all life, which he held sacred, it’s the least we can do. 

 A Celebration of Life in his honor will be held at the church where he and Nita were married almost 29 years ago. You are encouraged to wear bright colors to remember his bright personality:

Saturday, July 27, 2024

11:00 am with a reception to follow

Central Christian Church

3690 Cherry Creek South Drive 

Denver, CO 80209


Condolences and contributions to a memorial fund including Dr. Regan's favorite charities can be sent to: 

Nita Regan

In the care of Horan & McConaty

11150 E Dartmouth Ave 

Aurora, CO 80014

 

Additionally, a memorial fund link will be arranged. Please check back at this website link later for details.

https://www.horancares.com/obituaries/james-regan

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 27, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Mountain (no DST) time)

A Celebration of Life in his honor will be held at the church where he and Nita were married almost 29 years ago. You are encouraged to wear bright colors to remember his bright personality.

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