Samuel E. Strahm
posted February 18, 2010
Dr. Samuel E. Strahm, 73, of Pawhuska, Okla., a former AVMA president and sitting member of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation board of directors, died Dec. 17, 2009, following a fall.
"Dr. Sam Strahm is a legend in veterinary medicine," said Dr. Bruce W. Little, a current AVMF director and immediate past CEO of the AVMA. "Sam has been a huge part of veterinary medicine, and his legacy will remain forever."
Dr. Strahm was the AVMA's 111th president, holding office from 1989-1990. One of his goals was to initiate a workable strategic planning program for the Association, an initiative he helped advance. His presidential focus was on advancing the AVMA's pressing, existing programs and projects involving areas such as food safety and residue avoidance, medical waste disposal, extralabel drug use, marketing, animal welfare, manpower, and veterinary education.
The longtime AVMF board member was chair of the board of directors in 1998 when he signed a statement of understanding with the American Red Cross and Elizabeth Dole designating the AVMA and AVMF as the leaders in coordinating animal disaster relief efforts.
Dr. Strahm received his DVM degree from Kansas State University in 1959. His involvement with organized veterinary medicine began as a student at K-State, where he was an AVMA student chapter delegate.
After graduating, Dr. Strahm joined Osage Animal Clinics, a mixed animal practice in Hominy and Pawhuska, and, later, he became a partner. In his 48 years with the practice, Dr. Strahm worked mainly with horses and cattle but also with bison and elk. When he sold the practice in 2007, he was the sole owner. He was honored as 1990 Veterinarian of the Year by the Oklahoma VMA and 2002 Bovine Practitioner of the Year by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
His contributions to the advancement of veterinary medical organizations won Dr. Strahm the AVMA Award in 1985. He chaired the former Continuing Education Advisory Committee and the Council on Governmental Affairs. He was a member of the Council on Education from 2002-2006.
The Oklahoma VMA elected him to every position, including president in 1980, and he was OVMA executive secretary from 1981-1983. Dr. Strahm represented Oklahoma in the AVMA House of Delegates from 1967-1988. Twice he was elected to the House Advisory Committee. He also led the Tulsa County VMA.
In 1991 Dr. Strahm was appointed to a veterinary panel by the Pew Health Professions Commission. He served on the American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians board of directors in 2000.
Dr. Strahm served terms as president of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards and the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. He was a member of the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners from 1972-1989, chairing it twice. In 2000 he received the NBVME Award.
At Oklahoma State University, he was serving on the dean of agriculture's advisory committee. He had held seats on the Oklahoma State Centennial Commission and accreditation committees for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Murray State College animal technician program.
Dr. Strahm served 28 years on the Pawhuska School Board, as president of the Oklahoma State School Board Association, and as regional representative on the National School Board Association. He won the 1993 Oklahoma All-State School Board Award. In Pawhuska he had been president of the Jaycees, a member of the Planning Commission, and director of the First National Bank.
Dr. Tony Thomas of Midwest City, Okla., said, "One of the interesting parts of Sam's practice was working with the buffalo in the tallgrass prairie by Pawhuska. Sam also had a heck of a green thumb in his vegetable garden. He loved to eat and knew the best places from coast to coast, from steakhouses to hamburger joints."
Dr. Strahm met his wife, Barbara, while they were students at Kansas State. A devoted Wildcat fan, he played football at K-State for two years and, as an alumnus, watched the games from his seat on the 50-yard line. In 1994 the Kansas State Veterinary Alumni Association presented Dr. Strahm with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.
"Sam Strahm was a gentle giant within the veterinary profession," said Dean Ralph C. Richardson, Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. "He served his rural community through exemplary practice, he brought common-sense problem solving to state and national organized veterinary medicine, and he made our profession better because of his insights and passion. His positive impact will last for generations."
Mrs. Strahm, who was president of the AVMA Auxiliary in 1980-1981, survives him, along with their three children—Gregory Strahm, Bryan Strahm, and Andrea Enloe—and six grandchildren. Dr. Strahm's mother, Martha, also survives.
Memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church; Pawhuska Public School Foundation; KSU Foundation, designated for the College of Veterinary Medicine Foundation; or the AVMF. Donations should be sent c/o Johnson Funeral Home, 223 E. 6th, Pawhuska, OK 74056.