Local physician wins Summit County coroner appointment | SummitDaily.com

Local physician wins Summit County coroner appointment

Caddie Nath
summit daily news

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

BRECKENRIDGE – Summit County commissioners voted unanimously to appoint local physician Tim Keeling to the role of coroner at a special meeting Tuesday.

Keeling takes over the elected office vacated by Joanne Richardson, who resigned in the middle of her third and final term of office to move to Basalt with her husband.

“I’m honored to be the next coroner of Summit County,” Keeling said following the appointment Tuesday. “(Richardson) brought professionalism, compassion and respect to the coroner’s office, and I plan to continue that. I’m looking forward to serving Summit County.”

Keeling, a Republican, will hold office for two years. Summit County voters will select a coroner for a four-year term in the 2014 general election.

The commissioners appointed Keeling from a pool of four hopefuls, which included the current chief deputy coroner Regan Wood and former Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales.

“It’s great to have the community experience, the medical background and the thoughtful character we have in Tim Keeling,” Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. “We’re very blessed here in Summit County to have the caliber of people that we have stepping up to this position.”

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Keeling received his undergraduate degree in microbiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1975, and went on to earn a doctorate of osteopathic medicine from the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City, Mo., in 1986.

He is certified by the American Board of Family Physicians.

Having spent the early part of his career practicing medicine in Illinois, Keeling took a job as a physician with the Summit Medical Center in 1990.

He retired last year, but intends to stay in Summit County, he told commissioners during his interview for the coroner position last week.

The coroner’s office won’t see any big adjustments under its new leadership, at least initially.

“I don’t look to make any changes at all initially,” Keeling said. “The first order of business will be to meet my staff and the deputy coroners and to get up to speed on the office.”

Keeling was sworn in as coroner at the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Richardson announced plans to resign her post at the end of August, timing the announcement to avoid an election for her replacement.

She had been the coroner for 10 years.

The coroner is responsible for investigating fatalities and determining the cause and manner of each death, but is not required by law to have any medical or law-enforcement training to run for office.