Published on August 15, 2008
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AVMA Honor Roll Member
AVMA Member
Robert B. Billin
Dr. Billin (ONT ’58), 76, Center Harbor, N.H., died June 14, 2008. Retired since 2000, he founded Laconia Animal Hospital in Laconia, N.H., practicing there for 40 years. Early in his career, Dr. Billin worked for Concord Animal Hospital in Concord, N.H. During retirement, he served as a relief veterinarian in Cudjoe Key, Fla. Dr. Billin’s wife, Dr. Carole A. Billin (ONT ’58), and nine children survive him.

Charles W. Gunn
Dr. Gunn (MSU ’50), 89, Sacramento, Calif., died April 6, 2008. In 1957, he established the Fulton Oaks Animal Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., practicing there until retirement in 1977. Earlier in his career, Dr. Gunn owned Gunn Veterinary Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was a veteran of the Army Air Force Veterinary Corps. Dr. Gunn’s wife, Ruth, and three sons survive him.

Paul A. Keesee
Dr. Keesee (KSU ’46), 95, Holdenville, Okla., died April 17, 2008. He co-owned McGee-Keesee Ranch, an Angus herd operation in Edmond, Okla., for 30 years. Early in his career, Dr. Keesee worked for Essar Ranch in San Antonio and then managed the Kermac Ranch in Poteau, Okla. His wife, Louise; two daughters; and a son survive him. Memorials may be made to the Alpha Gamma Rho Scholarship Fund, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078. 

Robert M. Kenney
Dr. Kenney (OKL ’54), 83, Naples, N.Y., died May 27, 2008. He was professor emeritus and past chief of the Section of Reproductive Studies in the Department of Clinical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. Prior to joining the university as an associate professor in 1969, Dr. Kenney practiced in Springfield, Vt., and served on the veterinary faculty of Cornell University. A diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, he was one of the founding fathers of what is now known as the Society for Theriogenology.

Known for his expertise in basic and applied research in equine reproduction, Dr. Kenney developed semen extenders vital to equine artificial insemination, advanced the concept of uterine biopsy, and developed the phantom mare. The scale relating the histologic changes in the equine endomectrium to the potential for pregnancy is referred to as the Kenney biopsy scale. Dr. Kenney researched, lectured, and published extensively on fertility evaulation in stallions, pharmacologic manipulation of sexual behavior, and semen collection and storage techniques.

He served on the board of directors of the SFT and the International Equine Reproduction Symposia, and was a member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, American Dairy Science Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Association of Equine Practitioners. In 1990, Dr. Kenney was one of the first 12 inductees into the Equine Research Hall of Fame. He received several other honors, including a special diploma and the Professor Ladilai Bielanski Award from the Academy of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland, in 1986; the SFT Bartlett Award in 1991; and the AAEP Distinguished Educator Award in 2004.

Dr. Kenney’s life partner, Shirley A. Fox, and two sons survive him. One son, Dr. Daniel G. Kenney (UP ’89), is a veterinarian in Rockwood, Ontario, Canada. Memorials (with the memo notated toward the Robert M. Kenney Opportunity Scholarship Fund) may be made to the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, c/o Jane Simone, New Bolton Center, University of Pennsylvania, 382 W. Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348; or the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123.

William E. Pace
Dr. Pace (GA ’51), 78, Tallahassee, Fla., died May 2, 2008. Prior to retirement, he worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture for 16 years. During that time, Dr. Pace served as chief of the Bureau of Contagious and Infectious Disease, assistant director of the Division of Agricultural Service, director of the divisions of Inspection and Animal Industry, and finally, as state veterinarian. 

Following graduation, he practiced in Graceville, Fla. Dr. Pace then served more than 25 years in the Air Force; taught at the Air Force Medical Service School; and served a tour on loan to the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he directed aspects of the food irradiation program. He retired from the Air Force as deputy assistant surgeon general in 1980. When the Air Force Veterinary Corps was subsequently abolished, Dr. Pace helped incorporate its veterinary officers into the Biomedical Science Corps as public health officers.

He was a diplomate and past president of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and a member of the National Association of Federal Veterinarians. Dr. Pace is survived by his wife, Gwen; two sons; and a stepson.

John C. Simons
Dr. Simons (COL ’51), 87, Layton, Utah, died June 24, 2008. He was a founding partner of the Goshen County Veterinary Clinic in Torrington, Wyo. Dr. Simons also established and served as director of the veterinary technician program at Eastern Wyoming College. A diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, he helped develop the Torrington Livestock Market and was named president of what is now known as the Society for Theriogenology in 1973. Dr. Simons was a member of the Wyoming VMA and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners.

He served in the Wyoming State Senate in 1965 and the Wyoming House of Representatives in 1970. Dr. Simons was a member of the Goshen County School Board for 16 years and a past president of the Wyoming School Board Association. He served in the Marines during World War II. Dr. Simons is survived by three sons and two daughters. Memorials may be made to the Perpetual Education Fund, LDS Philanthropies, P.O. Box 27188, Provo, UT 84602; or Eastern Wyoming College Scholarship Fund, 3200 W. “C” St., Torrington, WY 82240.

A. Marion Smith
Dr. Smith (TEX ’44), 89, Mesa, Ariz., died June 25, 2008. Prior to retirement in 1988, he owned Dobson Road Animal Clinic in Mesa for 10 years. Following graduation, Dr. Smith served in the Army Veterinary Corps, during World War II. He attained the rank of 1st lieutenant. In 1947, Dr. Smith began practicing in Arizona at Phoenix and Scottsdale. He established the Ingleside Animal Hospital in Phoenix in 1958, practicing there for 20 years. In 1962, Dr. Smith became the first staff veterinarian of the Phoenix Zoo and a member of its board of directors.

He was a life member and past president of the Arizona VMA and served three terms on the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board. Dr. Smith’s wife, Wanda; four sons; and three daughters survive him. Memorials toward the General Missionary Fund or Perpetual Education Fund may be made to the LDS Philanthropies, P.O. Box 27188, Provo, UT 84602.

Russell E. Smith
Dr. Smith (UP ’42), 91, Orleans, Mass., died June 20, 2008. Prior to retirement in 1977, he served as a professor of veterinary and animal sciences and directed the Large Animal Diagnostic Service at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Earlier in his career, Dr. Smith owned a mixed-animal practice in Haverhill, Mass. During World War II, he worked in disease control for the Army Veterinary Corps.

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, Dr. Smith was a member of the Massachusetts VMA, the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, the Conference of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the United States Animal Health Association, and the National Leptospirosis Conference. He was appointed to the committee that established the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and served on its admission committee until 1982.

In 1965, Dr. Smith was invited to join the veterinary contingent traveling to Moscow as part of the People-to-People Goodwill Tour. He was also invited to study and consult at the Royal Veterinary College in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1968. In 1974, UM-Amherst honored Dr. Smith with the Animal Science Alumni Award.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and three sons. Memorials in his name may be made to the FSH Muscular Dystrophy Society Inc., c/o BBRI R353, 64 Grove St., Watertown, MA 02472; or Veterinary and Animal Science Scholarship, c/o Chairman, Paige Laboratory, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.

Mahlon D. Surplus
Dr. Surplus (CAL ’79), 54, Stockton, Calif., died March 8, 2008. Prior to retirement in 2004, he practiced in Stockton. During that time, Dr. Surplus served as a partner at Walker Veterinary Clinic for 12 years.