The Northeastern Pennsylvania “Old Time Vets” and some not so old met at the Wyalusing Hotel for a get together luncheon and storytelling afternoon. The “old timers” recalled their years of services rendered to small family subsistence. VMD’s in attendance included T.W. Shoemaker V’50, Carl Reynolds V’60, Amos Hollister V’53, William Corbett V’79, Mike Sheruda V’11, Megan Tiffany V’12, Bryan Lee V’60, Walter North V’63, Skip Nelson V’68.
John W. Lee, Jr. DVM and his staff of VMD’s including Steven Berkowitz V’83, Patricia Blakeslee V’88, Mark Donaldson V’93, Jill Acland V’09, Emily Schaefer V’11, Ricardo Loinaz V’08 have opened a new state-of-the-art equine clinic and surgical facility in Oxford, PA.
P. Mark Lopez V '03 and Elizabeth (Ballard) Lopez V '03 own and operate Wholesome Dairy Farms in Berks County, PA. (www.wholesomedairyfarms.com). It is a grass fed dairy farm producing milk, yogurt, greek yogurt, kefir and cheeses. The website has a listing of stores in the region that carry their products.
Kevin Wellejus V’04 moved with his wife Jill and two daughters Claire, 16 and Casey, 4 to eastern Wisconsin where he works as a dairy manager for Holsum Dairies. He milks approximately 7,000 cows at two locations.
Meghann (Brumsted) Pierdon V’05 was named the 2013 recipient of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians Foundation Hogg Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually to an AASV member who has been accepted into a qualified graduate program to further his or her education after years as a swine practitioner. Dr. Pierdon is currently pursuing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. She plans to use the scholarship to support her pursuit of board certification in the newly formed American College of Animal Welfare.
Fred Baff V’63, and his son, Wesley Baff V’06, run Plumtrees Animal Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut. Wes was one of 12 people who participated in a 190.2-mile overnight running relay race to raise money for the Jessica Rekos Memorial Fund. Jessica, the daughter of his fellow Newtown High School classmates Rich and Krista Rekos, was one of the 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School students slain on December 14. Last summer, when Jessica’s family vacationed on the Cape, she took an interest in whales. The group is running to raise funds for an internship at the Whale and Dolphin Society’s education outreach program.
Nadine Salomon V’06 serves on the board of the Equitarian Initiative, a group of equine veterinarians and caregivers looking to provide education, leadership and assistance to the working equid and by extension their families. Dr. Salomon’s interest in equitarian work started after participating in a RAVS trip on a Nevada Indian reservation during vet school. She is currently an equine practitioner at Allegheny Equine, a private practice outside of Pittsburgh.
Marc Valitutto V’06 recently appeared on The Today Show for a feature story on the sloth. He is the General Curator, Veterinarian for the Staten Island Zoological Society.
Leslie Kuczynski V'06, DACVIM, recently joined the Internal Medicine Department at Metropolitan Veterinary Associates in Norristown PA. MVA is a small animal specialty and emergency hospital that originated in 1986. They currently have 25 specialists in 11 different disciplines. www.metro-vet.com
Quack’s Corner, Cumberland County’s only all-volunteer animal rescue and sanctuary, has honored Dr. Ryan Gorman V’07 with its Golden Egg award. Dr. Gorman is an associate veterinarian and partner at the Millville Animal Clinic. The Golden Egg award is given to those who show extraordinary acts of compassion toward animals. Recently Quack's Corner rescued Emmy Lou, a paralyzed beagle found in the woods by a hunter.
Simeon Taft V ’10 and his wife, Heidi (GrNu '09), welcomed a son, George, on March 22, 2013. The family resides in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Ashleigh (Walker) Newman V'10 started her three-year residency in Clinical Pathology in July 2012 at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
A fellow in large animal ultrasound and cardiology at New Bolton Center, Laura Faulkner, V’11, has expertise in matters of the equine heart. She presented "What's the Buzz? Heart Murmurs in Horses" at the Pennsylvania Horse World Expo held in February.
Penn Vet Alum Gia Croce V’92 along with her husband Tim Bulman, are part of the inaugural group of foster families who have taken on the role of providing socialization and care for a Penn Vet Working Dog Center puppy throughout their training. Gia and Tim are foster parents to Kai. Gia has also stepped up and is serving as the instructor for the Working Dog Center Husbandry Team. This group is responsible for ensuring all the puppies are conditioned to veterinary exam, basic grooming and handling.
Ann E. Bastian V’93 attended the 2012 Paso Fino Horse Association Grand National Championship with her 4 year old Paso Fino colt Rigoleto de Las Camelias, aka Rio. Rio placed in all four of his classes, which is a great showing for their first Nationals.
Christine Kreuder Johnson V’94 received the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine 2012 Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award at a reception on October 2nd.
James F. Dougherty V'80 has joined the Board of Trustees of Rutgers University.
Fern Tablin V’80, GR’84 received the 2012 Pfizer Distinguished Teacher Award in recognition of her exceptional, sustained, and significant accomplishments in teaching DVM students. This award honors faculty whose ability, dedication, character, and leadership contribute significantly to instruction in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s professional curricula.
Stephen Peoples V ’84 has been appointed to a three year term on the Orthopaedic Institute of Medicine (OIOM) Council. Steve retired from Johnson & Johnson in 2009 and established Peoples & Associates, a consulting group providing services to the orthopaedic profession and industry.
David Welch, V’72, MBA, leader of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Veterinary Practice Sustainability Committee, and Russ Daly, DVM, South Dakota State University spoke at the National Food Animal Veterinary Institute meeting on strengthening the rural veterinary infrastructure.
George F. Henning, MD, V’76 has been promoted to Full Professor in Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Penn State College of Medicine and Director of Family Medicine Obstetrics. Dr. Henning recently received College of Medicine outreach award for work with the Lion Care free clinic in Harrisburg PA.
RESIDENT & INTERN ALUMNI
Florien Jenner has taken up the reins as the head of equine surgery at Vetmeduni Vienna, the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. She studied veterinary medicine in Munich before working for many years in the United States and most recently worked in Ireland. She completed an internship and a residency at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2006 she took up a position as lecturer for equine surgery at the University College Dublin’s School of Veterinary Medicine and obtained her Diploma of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons. Most recently, she completed her PhD on joint development and its implication for tissue engineering of articular cartilage.
Sheldon Farber V’44 passed away on January 26, 2013.
Peter H. Langer V’46 passed away at Royal University Hospital. He obtained a Ph.D. in veterinary virology at Cornell University in 1960 and worked for several years in the development of veterinary vaccines before moving to Ottawa, Canada, to become the Director of Veterinary Biologics, Canada.
John C. Shook, V’48, of Mechanicsburg passed away at The Fairways in State College. He served in Germany during WWII with the 138th US Army Evacuation Hospital. After completion of his VMD, he opened his own large animal practice in Spring Mills. He then moved into regulatory service, where his life's work focused on the control and/or eradication of such animal diseases as hog cholera, brucellosis, tuberculosis, avian influenza, etc. He served as the State Veterinarian of Pennsylvania, and later the State Veterinarian of Maryland as well. He was a former President and long time Treasurer for the US Animal Health Association.
Dr. Calvin Benjamin Umble V’51 died in Chambersburg Hospital. He and his family moved to Chambersburg in 1967 when he became partner in the Chambersburg Animal Hospital. Prior to joining the Chambersburg practice, Dr. Umble practiced independently in Honey Brook (Chester County), Pennsylvania from 1951 to 1964; from 1964 to 1967, he performed research pathology for Rutgers State University in their Vineland, New Jersey facilities. A veteran of World War II, having served with the 406th Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division, Dr. Umble was awarded the Purple Heart for action in Germany.
James F. Thompson, Jr V’53 died Thursday morning, May 9, 2013 in the Phoenixville Hospital. A veteran, he served for the U. S. Navy during World War II. He owned his own veterinarian practice for many years in the Chester County area. He also volunteered for many years as a fireman for the Ridge Fire Company.
William R. Nehoda V’54 of Forks Township, PA, passed away in Gracedale. Dr. Nehoda was a retired veterinarian and founder of the Easton Animal Hospital in Forks Township. He served as a captain in the Air Force during the Korean War. Kelly Craig V'96 who worked for Dr. Nehoda commented, Bill “Doc” Nehoda was a man who dedicated his life to his practice, his family and his community. He served his country, and then practiced mixed animal medicine before founding a small animal practice that is still thriving today under his son’s ownership. His insight and wisdom, honed from decades of practice where history taking, physical exam skills, and instinct were the only diagnostic tools, proved to be a delightful treasure-trove of anecdotes of how things were done “back in the day”. He was like a favorite grandfather and James Herriot rolled into one.
Ramsay S. Buchanan V’54 passed away at his home at Mercer Hill Farm. His work with monkeys for polio vaccine research at Merck Sharpe and Dohme took him on safari to Ethiopia during the '58 coup d’état and to the Philippines. He became a partner in the King of Prussia Veterinary Hospital with Dr. John Church in 1961 where he practiced small animal medicine until his retirement in 1988. A lifelong horseman and fox hunter, he took great pleasure in working with hounds with Mrs. John B. Hannum, MFH and was privileged to be an honorary whipper-in for five years and then served as field master for hound exercising for four summers.
John W. Higgins V’55 passed away on January 29, 2013. He founded the Yorkville Animal Hospital in 1962 and served as the Director and Chief Surgeon until his death. He loved all creatures great and small.
Richard A. Vaclavik V’56 practiced his craft up until just three weeks prior to his passing. Dr. Vaclavik opened the Upper Dauphin Animal Hospital in Millersburg in 1960, where he practiced for the past 53 years. He also served as a veterinarian for the state Department of Agriculture.
Edwin Ramsey Gearhart V’56 died at Sentara Norfolk (VA) General Hospital after a brief illness. After practicing for a year in Hagerstown, MD, he returned to Williamsport and owned Gearhart Veterinary Clinic from 1957 through 1974. He then joined practices in Chicago and suburban Pittsburgh before moving to Virginia Beach where he owned Independence Veterinary Clinic for almost 20 years before retiring to Florida.
Max J. Herman V’59, 81, of Collegeville, passed away at Shannondell in Audubon. He was the founder of Trooper Hospital in 1963 and went on to become Board certified in Animal Dentistry (1998) and established Animal Dental Clinic the same year. Max graduated from Veterinary School and began his career as a Captain in the Air Force in Niagara, New York. In 2005 the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Associaton presented him with the Keystone Award, recognized his hard work in co-founding the American Museum of Veterinary Medicine.
Francis Warwick Daniel Jr. V’61, 75, passed away suddenly in the early hours of April 21, 2013, with his loving family at his side. Francis established a veterinary practice in Troy, Pa., in the early 1960s. This is where he discovered his love of dairy cattle; and the Greystone dream began. In 1977, Francis and family moved back to Shenandoah Junction where the Daniel family farm was rejuvenated. He formed a partnership with Dr. Ernest Benner and became a welcome sight every morning on the backstretch of the Charles Town Races. Francis helped establish a thriving veterinary practice that helped launch and nurture the careers of his two oldest children, Libby and Chip. The family dairy farm became a prosperous and close partnership between Francis and his youngest son, Scott. Many wonderful memories of the entire family touring the state showing dairy cattle will remain. Francis retired from his veterinary practice in December 2005. He devoted his days to the dairy farm and his partnership with Scott. He loved to till, plant and make hay in the sunshine.
John E. Tartaglione V’64, 75, of Blakeslee, passed away at Coventry Manor, Pottstown. He was the former owner of East Stroudsburg Veterinary Hospital for 35 years. He had a love for animals, especially horses, and enjoyed spending time in any country setting.
William Stanley Rokus, V’65 passed away at Heritage Hall Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Leesburg, Virginia. He was a graduate of Duke University where he was a member of the football team. Upon graduation from the Penn, he opened his practice, Rokus Veterinary Hospital, in Leesburg from 1965 to 2003 devoted to caring for both large and small animals. He served his country during the Korean War in the United States Army.
Alan R. Belson V’69, age 67, of Teaneck, died on Saturday, May 5, 2013 after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Belson completed two residency programs in Veterinary Pathology at The Animal Medical Center, New York, NY, and Angel Memorial Animal Hospital, Boston, MA. Dr. Belson worked as a Veterinary Pathologist for the NJ State Department of Agriculture, the Bronx Zoo and various research organizations. He enjoyed hiking, stamp collecting, the opera, ballet and volunteering for Holy Name Hospital and Recording for the Blind. Dr. Belson was known for his dry sense of humor and his warm generous spirit.
Benjamin Wolf, retired Professor of Microbiology, at the School of Veterinary Medicine, passed away at the beginning of April, 2013 in his beloved Honolulu, Hawaii residence. He is survived by his wife, Sarah and two sons, Michael and Howard.
Dr. Wolf, earned his master’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Michigan in 1949, and his Ph.D. degree (microbiology) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. From 1959 until 1962 Dr. Wolf was a Pennsylvania Plan Scholar and an instructor on the faculty in the School of Veterinary Medicine. He became an Assistant Professor in 1962, Associate Professor in 1968 and Professor of Microbiology in 1973. From 1962 until 1972 he was the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. He was involved with the Graduate Groups in Immunology, Parasitology, and Microbiology and taught on core and elective courses on immunology to veterinary students His graduate students praised his creative mind and unassuming, creative and hands on pursuit of scientific endeavors and unselfish encouragement as he groomed them to become scientists on their own. Anyone who observed how much Ben enjoyed his work would feel inspired to pursue a career in science. It was clear that he relished his interactions with students at all levels and was a source of encouragement . Ben moved to New Bolton Center as a Professor emeritus in 1994 but curtailed his science activities to devote more time to his family.
Dr. Wolf was one of the few immunologists on the veterinary faculty and his presence nucleated what continues to be an active research group within the school. Ben was regarded an incredibly enthusiastic scientist and it was obvious that he loved what he was doing. His own research centered initially on the isolation and characterization of soluble antigens of Brucella abortus but he developed an interest in the events that controlled antibody responses to pathogens and in autoimmunity. Consequently, in 1970 he spent nine months at Cambridge University, working on the expression of immunoglobulin allelic markers on the surface of lymphocytes and in 1980, Dr. Wolf was awarded a Fogarty International Fellowship, and spent six months at the University of Birmingham, (England) where he continued his immunological studies.
Ben is remembered as a reasonable, close friend and colleague able to offer advice and pertinent information on a wide variety of topics. He enjoyed his adventures in experimental immunology and pursued his immunologic research with fervor and tenacity. He shall be missed as an encouraging mentor, an interested teacher and dedicated scientist. The School has lost a good friend and supporter.
Dr. Leon Paul Weiss, 87, of Merion, former chairman of the department of animal biology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Weiss was a medical doctor who spent his career in research, teaching, and writing, focusing his work on cells and tissues of the immune system and the hematopoietic organs, which produce blood.
I was one of those kids who always wanted to be a vet. I know most of you reading this know what I am talking about. Then when I was 18, my dad decided to make a career move from Johns Hopkins Medical School to the faculty of the veterinary and medical schools of the University of Pennsylvania. To me, this move was better than a pot of endless money. It meant that I got to work in the Veterinary school as a college student and it meant as a potential ‘faculty brat’ I had a better chance of getting into Vet school.
I was one of six kids and there was always chaos and confusion and not a whole lot of individual time with my Dad, but his career move to the Vet school always seemed like a special gift to me. Something that I could deep-down hold in my heart and make myself believe that I was really special to my father. I never ever believed I was his favorite but maybe I made it into the top three.
And then I did get into Vet school. My sense of self was improved, I felt like I was with ‘my people.’ People that don’t mind discussing feces or people that don’t get grossed out picking a flea from in between fur or people that have very messy cars. I felt like my Dad engineered my career happiness.
I am still unsure of the consequences of his death to me. The mourning process is very confusing. I have no idea what stage I am in or if it is important to throw myself into the proper mourning stages; and even if there are ‘proper’ stages. My Dad would absolutely tell me to cut out all that crap and go on with my life. Ritual and religion was not his thing. Dad died in October and it’s still so fresh. I know this is odd but I keep thinking of his life as a huge raindrop…well one as big as a huge blob of water falling from the skies and then landing on the ground. I visualize the thousands of smaller drops of water from that water blob. Each drop of water represents a story or memory from me or from my family or from Dad’s colleagues and students. Right now, his life seems to have evolved into just fragments of stories, pieces of one large life. Each time I hear another story or memory, I think to myself, is that my Dad? Did I know that about him? Did he do that? And when I try to remember conversations, I have trouble. I remember him giggling over the crass jokes my kids threw at him. The crasser, the louder the laugh. I remember his proud smirk when he hugged my children. I remember him gossiping or telling me that the person I thought was a superficial idiot was a superficial idiot. That conversation and these memories each have their own water drop floating around in my mind. And the feeling of togetherness over the shared concurrence of the superficial idiot also has its own tear drop. We were bonded by the sense that we thought the same way. I miss that shared sensibility most of all.
When I strain my mind I can picture his face. It’s not the face that all of you in the veterinary world remember. It’s an older Leon Weiss. More gray hair and more bushy eyebrows. I can remember his angry face when I showed up late or when he really wanted to leave a party for home and none of us would leave. I can see his expression now. It’s stuck in time….floating in a big water drop. I also can visualize his face when he is laughing and his smile is so wide it looks like a pumpkin carved smile. I really don’t think there is another person out there with such a big old funny looking grin. I think you all in his teaching world saw that one.
I have heard from so many of you in letters and emails. About how he mentored you and helped in your careers. He never saw road blocks to inspirations. I swear if I wanted to be President of the country, he would have offered up some slogans for the billboards. He supported all of his kid’s dreams and clearly from many of your emails he supported others in their career goals. There are many memory drops floating around my brain filled with stories where he guided people to their professional aspirations.
I think he was a great teacher. Many of you reminded me about what he called the cilia wiggling in the gut, or of how he described ribosomes as a beaded necklace. I saw him create Aquavet so he could work on the Cape in the summers. Marine mammal medicine and even more so, fish medicine was crazy-talk back then. His thoughts of using animals as caregivers for people were also odd. But he helped make it happen. I remember him after he used colored chalk on the board, and he would turn around to face the class all purple, yellow, and blue from his chalkboard pictures. I got to see his enthusiasm over the spleen, the lymph, and the red blood cells. He made the pieces of the hematopoietic system into visual characters each with their own story. I feel very lucky to have memories of him as a teacher as well as my Dad.
I feel very privileged to have had him as a father because of his guidance, which was not necessarily conventional. When I fell in love with Rob, a poet whose parents had nine marriages between them, Dad encouraged the two of us to marry when I was still an undergraduate. When my middle son was three years old and refused to hold his hand, my Dad asked if he could hold his ear. And the two of them walked through the city; ear and hand together.
Honestly, some of the stories that have come in after he died haven’t been all marvelous. He could deny his foibles. He really enjoyed life and thought of himself as the most sociable and the most amiable agreeable guy. Many of the stories run contrary to his assessment of himself. But I guess life is complicated and I am learning that death is also complicated. The memories carried around now as separate pieces or drops of water will never coalesce again into one visual form or into one final picture of him. That’s okay. It’s not that he lives on in those he guided; no---my dad would call that statement sentimental schlock. But I think it’s okay to really believe that he was a great teacher of not just science but also of optimism and endless potential. And I think it’s okay to say that I miss him.
Alice Weiss V’84 and #3 child of Leon Weiss
Dr. Loren Evans practiced veterinary medicine as a professor of equine surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Having graduated with honors from Washington State University, he attended veterinary school at the same university.
Subsequent to his graduation, he was awarded an internship at the University of Pennsylvania, where over the next 33 years he was promoted to full professor and earned multiple honors. In addition to his clinical accomplishments, he conducted research into chronic equine lameness and pioneered the first successful abdominal colon surgery, paving the way for saving once-doomed horses. Dr. Evans also designed many of the surgical instruments used today for cervical and rectal repairs. Students enjoyed their rotations in his clinical service and most, which were headed into equine practice, elected to repeat this chance to learn from his practical approach to clinical examination and treatment. Field trips to large breeding operations in the tri-state area, operated by Dr. Evans’ clients, were an unusual opportunity coveted by all students. Famous for his unconventional therapeutic efforts, his former students credit him with bringing enthusiasm and passion to the study of equine medicine and remaining a mentor throughout their careers.
During his tenure at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Evans’ patients included many famous race horses: Bold Ruler (sire of Secretariat), Northern Dancer, Romeo Hanover and countless others. He was called upon to lecture and perform surgery all over the world. In 1972, he was invited to the Veterinary School of Pretoria in Onderstepoort, South Africa, receiving an honorary citizenship and the high esteem of both faculty and the student body. Awards and laurels followed Dr. Evans even after his retirement from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Educator Award from the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the association to which the vast majority of equine veterinarians worldwide belong.
After his retirement, Dr. Evans returned with his wife, Phyllis Evans, to his ancestral home, the Flathead Valley of Montana. Here he traded his surgical scrubs for jeans and his new vocation, cattle rancher. Although theoretically retired, he worked with the same dedication he’d given to veterinary medicine – building up a sizeable herd of cattle, sowing his own hay and doing all the things any cowboy would be expected to do.
Dr. Evans was preceded in death by his wife of 43 years, Phyllis J. Evans, and four siblings. He is survived by his daughter Rebekkah Evans and her daughter Stephanie J. Seymour; his son Barry R. Evans and his children Lauren Evans and Ryan Evans; in addition to many nieces and nephews.
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Calling all VMD’s and former Penn Vet interns and residents! Do you have a new job? Have you received a promotion, gotten married, had a baby, received an award, had a research finding, or opened a new business? Please share your good news with us! Email to the alumni office at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at Alumni Relations, Penn Veterinary Alumni Office, 3800 Spruce Street, Suite 172E, Philadelphia, PA 19104.