In Memory – September 2022

Published: 30 August 2022


AVMA member | AVMA honor roll member | Nonmember


John L. Agle

Dr. Agle (Ohio State ’60), 85, South Vienna, Ohio, died May 6, 2022. A large animal and equine practitioner, he began his career at Springfield Animal Hospital in Springfield, Ohio. Dr. Agle subsequently established his own practice in Plattsburg, Ohio, relocating it later to the family farm near South Vienna. He partially retired in 2001, after which he worked part time at Buckeye Veterinary Service, a practice owned by his son, Dr. J. Larry Agle (Ohio State ’92) in Ohio’s Geauga County. During his career, Dr. John Agle also served as an ambulatory veterinarian in Ohio’s Clark, Champaign, and Madison counties; was veterinarian for the Clark County Fair for more than 30 years; and raised and raced Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, and Standardbreds.

He was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Quarter Horse Association, United States Trotting Association, and Ohio VMA. Active in his community, Dr. Agle served on the Board of Education for the Clark County Educational Service Center for more than 30 years. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn; his son and two daughters; and five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Plattsburg United Church of Christ, P.O. Box 699, South Charleston, OH 45368.

Gordon S. Bachman

Dr. Bachman (Pennsylvania ’57), 91, Bradenton, Florida, died April 26, 2022. He practiced small animal medicine in Mount Chestnut, Pennsylvania, for 40 years. Dr. Bachman was a past member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine. He volunteered with the Connoquenessing Meals on Wheels program. Dr. Bachman is survived by a son and a daughter; five grandchildren; and two brothers and a sister. Memorials may be made to the Trinity Memorial Fund, 120 Sunset Drive, Butler, PA 16001.

Ronald G. DeRhodes

Dr. DeRhodes (Ohio State ’60), 88, Homeworth, Ohio, died July 2, 2022. He owned a small animal practice in Canton, Ohio, for 37 years prior to retirement. Dr. DeRhodes was a member of the board of directors of the Stark County Humane Society for 45 years, serving as president from 1984-88. His two daughters and six grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Stark County Humane Society, P.O. Box 7077, Canton, OH 44705.

Dale L. Drum

Dr. Drum (Iowa State ’59), 88, Remsen, Iowa, died May 30, 2022. He practiced mixed animal medicine in Remsen, retiring in 1996. Dr. Drum was a member of the Iowa and Interstate VMAs. He was a past president of the Remsen Lions Club and Remsen Union School Board. Dr. Drum’s wife, Marilyn; two sons and a daughter; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him.

Wendell M. Kearney

Dr. Kearney (Texas A&M ’64), 88, Killeen, Texas, died Dec. 27, 2021. He was the former owner of Killeen Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Kearney was a past chair of the Killeen Chamber of Commerce and served on the board of directors of the Killeen Independent School District. His wife, Rexanna; a daughter and a son; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild survive him.

Clark Kelly

Dr. Kelly (Colorado State ’59), 88, San Diego, died June 15, 2022. Following graduation, he served as a captain in the Air Force for four years. Dr. Kelly later bought Boulevard Animal Clinic in San Diego, where he worked for 57 years. In 1999, he wrote to the AVMA, suggesting that the wording of the Veterinarian’s Oath be updated to reflect current times and to be more inclusive. Per his suggestion, the AVMA reworded the oath, changing the wording “conservation of livestock resources” to “conservation of all animal resources.”

Dr. Kelly is survived by his wife, Kelly; two daughters; three grandchildren; and a brother. A daughter, Dr. Karen M. Kelly (Iowa State ’95) and his brother, Dr. Monte Kelly (Colorado State ’71), are also veterinarians.

Richard F. Kilburn

Dr. Kilburn (Iowa State ’68), 77, Scottsdale, Arizona, died April 23, 2022. He was the founder of County Line Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Naperville, Illinois. Dr. Kilburn also helped establish an emergency veterinary hospital in Lisle, Illinois, serving on its board of directors for several years. He was a member of the Chicago VMA.

A past president of the Naperville Evening Kiwanis. Dr. Kilburn helped found the Kiwanis Club of Warrenville. He attained the title of lieutenant governor with the Kiwanis, received the Legion of Honor Award for 37 years of membership, and was named a Hixson Fellow. Dr. Kilburn’s wife, Mary; a son; five grandchildren; and two sisters survive him.

Cleon V. Kimberling

Dr. Kimberling (Colorado State ’59), 91, Fort Collins, Colorado, died June 21, 2022. Following graduation, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Minnesota, also earning his master’s in public health in 1963 from the University of Minnesota. From 1965-2005, Dr. Kimberling was a member of the veterinary faculty at Colorado State University. During his tenure, he served as a professor and as CSU extension veterinarian, focusing on herd health management for dairy cattle, range beef cattle, and range sheep.

Dr. Kimberling developed a brucellosis ring test, allowing for the monitoring and surveillance of infection in large dairy herds using bulk sampling of milk tanks. He also helped develop and standardize the antigen used for the brucellosis card test. Working with sheep, Dr. Kimberling advocated for feed and nutrition standards for flocks and developed a liver biopsy instrument and techniques to collect samples to measure concentrations of micronutrients. He traveled to several developing countries, including Kenya, to assist livestock producers with increasing food and fiber production. Dr. Kimberling retired as a professor emeritus.

In his early 80s, he began working for Optimal Livestock Services, a company in Fort Collins that focused on sheep health, reproduction, and management. He also volunteered with the Christian Veterinary Mission in Mongolia. From 1999-2005, Dr. Kimberling served on the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee, representing the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners. He authored the third edition of “Jensen and Swift’s Diseases of Sheep” and co-authored “Raising Healthy Sheep.”

In 1989, the American Sheep Industry Association honored Dr. Kimberling with a Silver Ram Award. In 2000, he received the AASRP George McConnell Award. In 2011, Colorado State University Department of Animal Sciences named Dr. Kimberling as Livestock Leader for his contributions to the livestock industry. He received what was known as the AVMA XIIth International Veterinary Congress Prize in 2012 for outstanding service and contributions to the international understanding of veterinary medicine. In 2014, Dr. Kimberling was inducted into the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.

A veteran of the Army, he served during the Korean War. Dr. Kimberling is survived by his daughter, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to McBackpack Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides children with food on the weekends and during school breaks, and sent to P.O. Box 2082, Fort Collins, CO 80522; First Presbyterian Church, 531 S. College Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80524; Colorado State University Office of Engagement and Extension, 202 Administration Building, 1050 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523; or Food Bank for Larimer County, 5706 Wright Drive, Loveland, CO 80538.

Donald C. Lang

Dr. Lang (Illinois ’86), 66, Reno, Nevada, died June 26, 2022. He owned a small animal practice in Palatine, Illinois, for 14 years prior to retirement. Following graduation, Dr. Lang worked in Oahu, Hawaii. He then moved to Illinois, practicing in the lakeshore area and on the Northwest side of Chicago and in Lincolnshire. Dr. Lang’s wife, Maria; two sons; two grandchildren; and a brother survive him.

Steven A. Levy

Dr. Levy (Pennsylvania ’77), 73, Evans, Georgia, died May 27, 2022. Following graduation, he worked at Guilford Veterinary Hospital in Guilford, Connecticut. Dr. Levy subsequently bought Durham Veterinary Hospital, a small animal practice in Durham, Connecticut, focusing on tick-borne diseases in dogs. In 1986, he diagnosed the first case of canine Lyme carditis, which was published two years later in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Levy also served as the veterinarian for the Connecticut State Police’s canine unit. He retired from active practice in 2008.

Dr. Levy later worked for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City and the Connecticut Humane Society. From 2013-16, he served as an assistant professor and program coordinator for veterinary technology at Middlesex Community College. Dr. Levy was a past president of the Connecticut VMA. In 1993, he received the American Animal Hospital Association’s Outstanding Practitioner Award for the Northeast Region. In 1994, the AVMA honored him with the Practitioner Research Award.

He was a founding member of the Durham Animal Response Team and served as deputy director of emergency management for Durham. Dr. Levy was also a member of the Durham Fire Department for 28 years, serving as chief for 10 years. His wife, Diane; a daughter; two grandchildren; and a brother survive him. Memorials toward the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research may be sent to Donation Processing, Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

Allan G. Manus

Dr. Manus (Ohio State ’62), 85, Kalamazoo, Michigan, died June 14, 2022. He retired from MPI Research in Mattawan, Michigan, where he served as director of clinical medicine and attending veterinarian. Dr. Manus was a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. His wife, Helen; a son and a daughter; a grandchild; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to the American Legion, Donation Processing, P.O. Box 1954, Indianapolis, IN 46206.

Nathaniel T. Messer IV

Dr. Messer (Colorado State ’71), 77, Columbia, Missouri, died June 7, 2022.  Following graduation, he joined the veterinary faculty at Colorado State University as an associate professor of equine medicine and surgery. Dr. Messer later served as director of internal medicine at what is now known as Littleton Equine Medical Center in Littleton, Colorado. He then moved to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine as an associate professor of equine medicine and surgery, retiring in 2014 as a professor emeritus of veterinary medicine and surgery.

Dr. Messer was a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. From 2006-12, he served on the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee, representing the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Dr. Messer was also the liaison from the AVMA to the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition, served on several AAEP committees, and was a past president of the Colorado VMA. In 2001, he received the AAEP’s Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, Dr. Messer was named an AAEP Distinguished Life Member for his commitment to leadership, education, and welfare advocacy during his 38 years of volunteer service to the association. He was a life member of the American Quarter Horse Association and served on the AQHA Equine Research Committee.

Dr. Messer is survived by his wife, Penny; a son, a stepson, and a stepdaughter; and five grandchildren and four stepgrandchildren. Memorials may be made to The Foundation for the Horse, 4033 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511.

Gabriel G. Meza

Dr. Meza, 90, McGaheysville, Virginia, died May 23, 2022. A 1962 veterinary graduate of the University of Chile, he worked for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services prior to retirement. Earlier, Dr. Meza worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Known for his expertise in poultry virology and diagnostics, he was a member of the American Association of Avian Pathologists. Dr. Meza’s wife, Marta; two daughters and three sons; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the McGaheysville Rescue Squad, 80 Stover Drive, McGaheysville, VA 22840.

Frank A. Serra

Dr. Serra (Oklahoma State ’60), 87, Overland Park, Kansas, died Dec. 18, 2021. Following graduation and after completing an internship at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, he began his 44-year career in Overland Park, focusing on small and exotic animals. Dr. Serra retired in 2005.

He bred and showed dogs and fancy pigeons and raised and showed Arabian horses. Dr. Serra is survived by his wife, Loretta Sue; a son and two daughters; seven grandchildren; and a sister. Memorials may be made to The Nature Conservancy, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203.

Timothy D. Thies

Dr. Thies (Texas A&M ’77), 67, San Jose, California, died April 20, 2022. Following graduation, he worked in California at Campbell and Los Gatos before establishing a house call practice. In 2002, Dr. Thies bought Oak Grove Veterinary Hospital in San Jose, where he practiced small animal medicine prior to retirement. He is survived by his wife, Tammy, and his family.

George D. Vernimb

Dr. Vernimb (Pennsylvania ’56), 91, Dagsboro, Delaware, died April 19, 2022. Following graduation, he worked at a primarily large animal practice in Randolph, Vermont, eventually serving as a partner for six years. In 1964, Dr. Vernimb joined the Animal Health Division of what was known as Norwich Pharmaceutical Co. in Norwich, New York. While there, he conducted research, was involved in the development and launch of new therapeutics and preventative medicines, and led the restructuring of the NPC Animal Care Unit. From 1972 until retirement in 1996, Dr. Vernimb worked in the Animal Health Division of Schering-Plough in Kenilworth, New Jersey, transitioning from clinical research and technical services to global business development.

His wife, Ruth; two sons and a daughter; and two grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Veterinary Student Scholarship Fund, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, or the Vermont Scholarship Fund, University of Vermont Foundation, 411 Main St., Burlington, VT 05401.