Growing up a farm boy in Kansas led Dr. Jim Kenyon to the field of veterinary medicine. He began his successful career with graduation from Kansas State in 1975. He joined the U.S. Army, where he served two years as a captain in the Veterinary Corps and then continued in the Army Reserves until 1990. During his time in the army Dr. Kenyon was awarded the Meritorious Service Award. Once honorably discharged, he joined a veterinary practice in Macomb, Illinois, until 1978 — when he came to the Cedar Valley to join Brookside Veterinary Center as a large-animal vet.
In 1981, he set out on his own and opened the Cedar Valley Veterinary Center. He operated out of his garage at first and later found a livestock-feed retail building, complete with dirt floor, in Cedar Falls that became his first clinic. Over the next 33 years, Dr. Kenyon created a large practice with clinics in Cedar Falls and Waterloo, four veterinarians and a staff of 14.
In addition to positively impacting his human and animal clientele, Dr. Kenyon has had an extensive impact within the veterinary industry. Throughout his long career he has served as a mentor to many and has served on multiple boards and committees in his field, including the International Veterinary Dog Sledding Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Iowa Veterinary Medicine Association, past president and representative to legislature, and Iowa Board of Veterinary Examiners. In 2009, Jim was named the Iowa Veterinarian of the Year.
“Jim goes the extra mile,” said friends Joel and Linda Haack. “He is the embodiment of ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person.’ While managing a successful and thriving veterinary practice, he participated in and accepted leadership positions in various community organizations.”
Dr. Kenyon has been an extraordinary citizen of the Cedar Valley, with a long history of service. He has been a member of First United Methodist Church for 38 years and has served on the church’s council, trustees board and fund drives committees. He is a 34-year member, past president, and Paul Harris fellow of the Cedar Falls Rotary. He is also a longtime member and past chairman of the First National Bank board and is currently chair of the audit and loan committees.
Other roles within the Cedar Valley include the Cedar Falls Historical Society since 2006, serving as president and chair of the $1.825 million campaign, member of the Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce for 20 years and served as its board chair and president, member of the UNI Museum Board for six years and served as its board chair, member of the Cedar Falls Library Board of Trustees, member of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Board, and member of the Board of Education of Cedar Falls Community Schools for 24 years, serving multiple terms as chair.
“Jim has served on other boards and organizational groups and always commits to be more than simply an attendee. He joins to make a contribution,” reads the nomination of Dr. Kenyon. “His recognition has been established by his service and leadership, not just of one organization, but of all that he has served.”
A published author, Dr. Kenyon’s first three books — “A Cow for College”, “The Art of Listening to the Heart” and “Golden Rule Days” — can be found on Amazon. “A Cow for College” and “Golden Rule Days” have received the Kansas History Book of the Year in 2018 and 2019. Now in his retirement, he continues to volunteer his time, is working on book four with three in mind, and spends time with family. Dr. Kenyon is married to his college sweetheart, Cynthia, and has three children and five grandchildren.