Jason Howard Walenta, M.D., Ph.D., 41, of Sparks, NV died September 7th, 2013 at home after a courageous battle against cancer. He was born on November 27th, 1971 in Spokane, WA to his loving parents Richard and Toni. After eight years he was joined by his younger sister Bethany.
Jason graduated with honors from Churchill High School in San Antonio, TX in 1990. Upon graduation Jason entered West Point. After two years he decided to follow his passion for becoming a physician and transferred to the University of Texas Austin. There he met his wife to be Elizabeth. Jason completed his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and was offered a position in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. The prestigious MSTP Fellowship is offered to a handful of trainees each year by the National Institute for Health. As an MSTP Fellow, Dr. Walenta completed medical school at the UT Southwestern Medical School while completing a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development at the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. On March 2, 1996 after 4 years of dating, Jason and Elizabeth were wed in Yorktown, TX.
Dr. Walenta completed his General Psychiatry residency at the University Of Nevada School Of Medicine in Reno, NV. Moving to Nevada allowed Jason to not only receive training in his desired field of specialty but also afforded him the opportunity to expand his passion for the outdoors, competitive triathlons, and skiing. During his residency he recognized the great need within the Northern Nevada community for experts in the field of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He worked with colleagues at the University to develop a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Fellowship program. This program now produces four physicians per year to better serve some of the most vulnerable youth in Northern Nevada. Since this program was not available to Jason for his fellowship training, he pursued this subspecialty fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine in Salt Lake City. In 2007, during the last rotations of his fellowship his daughter, Indigo, was born.
Returning to the Tahoe basin following Fellowship Dr. Walenta has served as the Clinical Director of Willow Springs Outpatient Services then Medical Director of Willow Springs Center and Outpatient Services he has also been an attending physician for inpatient care at both Willow Springs and West Hills, Nevada County Clinic and had a private practice in Tahoe Donner. On Halloween of 2009, Jason's son Kepler was born.
Dr. Walenta was considered by his colleagues to be one of the foremost Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists in this region. He was a mentor and an advocate for residents, fellows, and colleagues alike. He brought to bear sophisticated, state of the art psychiatric care drawing on exceptional experience and the most current evidence-based treatments. Dr. Walenta met his patients in some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives and sought to relieve suffering, restore lost function, remedy developmental problems, and improve performance for the patients he served.
Throughout his life Jason pursued the highest of levels of achievement. He never shied away from a challenge. His physical life was no exception. He successfully completed two Iron Mans, repeatedly competed in Escape from Alcatraz, dozens of half Iron Mans and sprint triathlons. In 1995 Jason took third place in age group in the San Antonio Marathon, qualifying and later that year completing the Boston marathon. During medical school he competed in motorcycle racing and more recently developed a passion for competitive Nordic ski racing.
His wife Elizabeth and the children were Jason's greatest passion in life. They made their home in Sparks, NV but spent much of their free time at the cabin in Tahoe Donner. Jason was a devoted father who loved helping his children explore the wonders of nature and develop great aptitudes for skiing, swimming and hiking. His greatest desire for his children was to know how he had lived and the passion he had for the things he loved.
Jason is survived by his beloved wife of 17 years Elizabeth, daughter Indigo Sky (6 years), son Kepler Coby (3 years), Father and Step Mother Richard and Marsha Walenta of San Antonio, TX, Mother and Step Father, Toni and Terence McGuire of Poulsbo, WA, Grandmother, Joy Alexander of Poulsbo, WA, Sister and Brother-in-Law, Bethany and Stan Sexton and Nephew and Niece Konrad and Merit Sexton of Gig Harbor, WA.
His family, friends and colleagues will celebrate Jason's life well lived at 4:00pm on September 28th, 2013 at the Tahoe Donner Northwoods Clubhouse.
It is requested that and memorials are sent to:
Indigo and Kepler Walenta
2473 Anqua Dr
Sparks, NV 89434
Published in Express-News on Sept. 15, 2013