Geri Ann Warnke graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine with a degree in physical therapy in 1971. She was recruited by Mercy Hospital to join the staff of the burn unit. In 1973, she joined the orthopedic department at the La Jolla VA Hospital.
In 1976, Warnke established her private practice in the Hillcrest area near Mercy, and eventually opened her clinic in the Mercy medical building. In 2001, she elected to see patients privately in their homes, choosing to not deal with insurance issues. Since then she has devoted her practice to seeing post-operative and injured patients daily in the La Jolla and Point Loma areas.
Geri has been president of the boards of the La Jolla Playhouse, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and, most recently, the Rotary Club of San Diego. She is married to Dr. Joseph F. Kennedy and has a 22-year-old son, Scott, who just graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in environmental studies.
Q: What brought you to La Jolla?Wanting to live in a beautiful and geographically desirable area brought me to La Jolla. I initially lived in Del Mar, but wanted to be closer to work and the city.
Q: What makes La Jolla special to you?I value my longtime friendships, my parents that moved from Denver to be nearby, and I feel fortunate to be part of a community so diverse in interests and intellect. Many people in La Jolla have strong commitments to volunteerism.
Q: If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?I would like to see repair of our roads, improvement in the lighting throughout the community, cleaner byways and moderation of the traffic. And having a cinema in the midst of the village once again would be wonderful.
Q: If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Ellen and Roger Revelle, Gregory Peck, Bill Gates (I am interested in his foundation’s international medical focus on malaria) and Albert Einstein. He would sit with my husband who is currently trying to comprehend the theory of relativity (I will sit at the far end of the table!). This will be a fascinating combination of conversations in politics, business, science, film and international good will. Now, what to serve for dinner?
Q: What are you currently reading?My bedside table is piled high with The New Yorker magazines. I hope to get through the 2008 issues before 2009.
Q: Who or what inspires you?I will always value the mentoring and guidance that I received from Roger Revelle when he sat on the La Jolla Playhouse board with me in the late 1980s. He was so keenly intelligent and passionate about the arts as well as the educational environment. It was a joy to have Ellen Revelle join us on the board 10 years ago. She eventually was the honorary co-chair (with Gregory Peck) of the capital campaign to complete the theater district. Both she and Gregory were responsible for so much of the energy that made it happen. I feel blessed to have had all of them in my life.
Q: What is your most prized possession?I treasure my home the most. It is full of happy memories. It holds the colorful ceramics that our family has collected all over the world as well as my photo albums that show details of so many peoples’ lives that I love. I am constantly reminded of those still living as well as those that have left us.
Q: What do you do for fun?Joe and I love to challenge Soledad Mountain, hiking up and down it at least four to five times a week. It gives us time to put some mileage on our pedometers, talk and do the calendar in our heads. I love to cook, plan dinner parties and, one day, I would love to find the time to pilot a plane again. Bike trips with best friends in Europe are always full of laughter and adventures.
Q: Please describe your greatest accomplishment.Professionally, I have been privileged to treat and care for people in my 37 years of clinical practice. I feel thankful that I have been allowed to share in their recoveries after often traumatic and devastating illnesses and injuries. But, personally, I feel that my happy marriage to a loving and sensitive husband is top of the list.
Q: What is your motto or philosophy of life?Each day brings surprises, some good and some quite nasty. Accept both. Change what you can and move on. But always allow for moments of joy in each day - no matter what is happening.