Dr. Rex Kennamer, age 93, died September 28, 2013 in Montgomery, Alabama. He was born July 4, 1920 in Guntersville, Alabama, and was the son of Charles Brents and Birdie Hooper Kennamer. He was pre-deceased by his four siblings: Charles B. Kennamer, Jr., Ralph Kennamer, Mary Virginia Harris and Seaborn A. Kennamer. He moved to Montgomery, Alabama in 1931 when his father was appointed Federal Judge for the Middle District of Alabama. Dr. Kennamer was educated at Lanier High School, the University of Alabama, and Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the Honorary Medical Society. He interned at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida and did Internal Medicine Residency at the Veterans Hospital in McKinney, Texas. He served his Cardiology Research Fellowship under Dr. Myron Prinzmetal at the Institute for Medical Research at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and UCLA. Following this he was certified in Internal Medicine and entered private practice in Beverly Hills, California. Beginning in 1954 and for many decades following until his retirement and return to Alabama in 2008, Dr. Kennamer worked in a private practice in Beverly Hills where he was personal physician to many of the most successful people in the world of entertainment, business, and government.
Dr. Kennamer made outstanding contributions to the field of cardiology by submitting articles and publications to the highest rank of peer reviewed journals as well as presenting invited lectures and programs at numerous universities and professional societies. His more than fifty articles included the initial description of Prinzmetal's angina. He was a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a member of other medical societies including Fellow of American College of Physicians, American College of Cardiology, and American College of Chest Physicians. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, he was Clinical Chief of Cardiology; a member of the Board of Governors, Board of Trustees, and Governance Council; and a Life Trustee. Both the Cedars-Sinai Cardiac Surgical Research Laboratory and the Wasserman Foundation Chair in Electrophysiology were named in his honor. In recognition of him as a role model for young physicians, in 1982 the Albert B. Parvin Foundation established the Kennamer Fellows Program in Internal Medicine for eight yearly trainees at the UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical Centers.
Dr. Kennamer founded the Western Cardiac Foundation in 1962 and served as its President until his death. The Foundation has been a strong supporter of cardiac research at Cedars Sinai Medical Center as well as biomedical teaching and research throughout Los Angeles. Since 2004 Dr. Kennamer and his Foundation have also made contributions to the Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency Program whose mission has been to train residents to become competent and compassionate physicians. The S. Rexford Kennamer, M. D., Endowed Lectureship in Internal Medicine has allowed the program to bring distinguished researchers and teachers to Montgomery to educate residents, fellows, faculty, and private practitioners in the area.
Dr. Kennamer is survived by 5 nieces (Melanie Cerne, Ida Louise Cromwell, Isabelle Dreher, Mary Ann Flinn, and Beth Kennamer) and 5 nephews (Richard Kennamer, Brents Kennamer, Winston Kennamer, Seaborn Kennamer, and Charles R. Kennamer). The family is grateful for the compassionate and attentive service of his long time caregivers (Veronica Arrington, Cheryl Pettiway, and Chantay Scott), as well as others who assisted in his care. A private family burial will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Western Cardiac Foundation, 15060 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403, or your favorite charity .
Published in the Montgomery Advertiser on October 3, 2013