Rogue River drowning victim identified as local doctor

SHADY COVE, Ore. – Police publicly identified the man who died in a drowning incident near Shady Cove.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said just before noon on July 22, dispatchers received a call about a possible drowning in Shady Cove.

The caller said his father, later identified as 54-year-old Jon Van Valkenburg of Medford, had gone underwater with his hand caught in a raft’s anchor rope.

When first responders arrived at the location, they found Van Valkenburg unresponsive about a quarter-mile downstream from the Upper Rogue River Park boat ramp.

He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Deputies said Van Valkenburg was wearing a personal floatation device at the time of the accident. However, it wasn’t inflated, thus rendering it useless. JCSO explained even if it had been inflated, the PFD probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome due to how the drowning happened.

Van Valkenburg was a local phsycian who worked with Providence Medical Group.Karen Kronman, M.D., Medical Director at Providence Medical Group-Southern Oregon provided the following statement regarding Van Valkenburg’s death:

“All of us who knew Dr. Jon Van Valkenburg are feeling a sense of deep sadness today. He had a true devotion to his patients. They frequently told us how much his care for them – and, more importantly, about them – meant in their lives. Our hearts go out to his wife, Edie Chezik, who serves on our Providence Southern Oregon Service Area Advisory Council, as well as to their children, family, friends and all his patients.

“We are all thankful for Dr. Van Valkenburg’s two decades of service here in southern Oregon. Our concern, as caregivers, is to build on his commitment to meet the health care needs of his patients. It is an honor to do that, and we dedicate ourselves to continuing his tradition of excellent care.”


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