‘The profession has lost a giant’
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Dr. Donald F. Smith, noted researcher and academician, expert in veterinary history and public policy, and champion for women leaders in the profession, died Oct. 29, 2016. He was 66 years old.

Dr. Donald F. Smith
Dr. Donald F. Smith, an AVMA member, was inducted as a member of the National Academies of Practice in 1992 and received the AVMA President’s Award in 2013. He died this past October at 66 years of age.

At the height of his career, Dr. Smith served as the ninth dean of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, from 1997-2007. In that time, Dr. Smith worked to accomplish many construction projects, adding 40,000 square feet of clinical instruction and research space. He also oversaw a reorganization of the college, consolidating academic departments to reflect contemporary science and medicine, and advised on the development of a comparative cancer research program, according to a Nov. 2 university press release.

Dr. Steve Ettinger (Cornell ’64), in the release, described Dr. Smith as “a very warm and engaging individual. He had a tremendous number of interests,” including the practice and history of veterinary medicine and helping students advance in their studies and later in their careers. “He loved the college and the work he did there,” Dr. Ettinger said.

Dr. Smith grew up in Canada and earned his DVM degree with distinction from the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College in 1974. He completed an internship and a residency in large animal surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, he was considered an authority on bovine surgery. His research on metabolic alkalosis in ruminants was instrumental in advancing the field of metabolic diseases of cattle.

He first came to the Cornell veterinary college in 1977 as an assistant professor of surgery. He left for an associate professorship in large animal surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, returning to Cornell in 1987 to chair the Department of Clinical Sciences. Dr. Smith also served as associate dean for veterinary education and associate dean for academic programs prior to becoming the veterinary college dean.

Stepping down as dean didn’t appear to slow Dr. Smith’s work. He stayed on faculty and divided his time among teaching veterinary students, researching the history of veterinary medicine through first-person interviews with veterinarians or direct family descendants, and maintaining two blogs, and

His comprehensive collection of interviews with veterinarians included their time during the Great Depression and World War II, available at

More recently, he was involved in the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges’ 50th anniversary celebration. He helped author “Pathways to Progress,” a history of American veterinary colleges and schools (see JAVMA, May 15, 2016), and co-wrote the article “Changing the Face of Veterinary Medicine: Research and Clinical Developments at AAVMC Institutions” (JVME 2015;42:441-458).

Dr. Smith was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative, created in July 2013 and formalized as a 501(c)3 in January 2014. He developed a seminar on women’s leadership with Julie Kumble, a close colleague and fellow WVLDI founding member, and co-authored a forthcoming book with her, “Leaders of the Pack, Women and the Future of Veterinary Medicine.”

The WVLDI board issued a statement Nov. 6 following Dr. Smith’s death, saying “the profession has lost a giant.”

“It was his dedication to the advancement of women in the profession for which WVLDI is most grateful and will profoundly miss. Don was an ardent champion of women in leadership, and researched, taught, and spoke forcefully about leadership paths for women,” the statement said. “Friends and board members of WVLDI are heartbroken by the loss of Dr. Don Smith yet take comfort in knowing that his dedication to women in leadership and his legacy will continue through its mission.”

Dr. Smith is survived by his wife, Doris; two sons and a daughter; and two grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, P.O. Box 39, Ithaca, NY 14853; Cayuga Medical Center Stroke Center, 101 Dates Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850; or Christ Chapel, 160 Graham Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.

AVMA member

AVMA honor roll member


Larry A. Nagode

Dr. Nagode (Colorado State ’63), 77, Columbus, Ohio, died May 19, 2016. He was professor emeritus at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine since 2009.

Following graduation and after earning a master’s and a doctorate in pathology from Ohio State, Dr. Nagode served as a fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 1970, he joined the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Nagode taught and conducted research on the mechanisms of action of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D, the mechanisms of calcium transport in intestine and bone, and the role of calcitriol therapy in enhancing and extending the lives of canine and feline patients with chronic kidney disease. In 1973, he took a sabbatical at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Dr. Nagode served as a consultant for the Veterinary Information Network.

He was a veteran of the Army and Army Reserve. Dr. Nagode is survived by his wife, Carole; a daughter and a son; and three grandchildren. Memorials may be made to The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210.

Earl H. Rippie Jr.

Dr. Rippie (Tuskegee ’67), 74, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, died June 24, 2016. A small animal veterinarian, he owned and served as director of Pennsauken Animal Hospital in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Dr. Rippie was a past president of the North American Veterinary Community Conference and the New Jersey and Southern New Jersey VMAs, and served on the board of the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference. In 1996, the Tuskegee Veterinary Medical Alumni Association honored him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dr. Rippie’s three children and five grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to Pennsauken Animal Hospital, 6717 Crescent Blvd., Penn­sauken, NJ 08110.

John P. Seacat

Dr. Seacat (Kansas State ’61), 86, Ashland, Kansas, died July 8, 2016. A bovine veterinarian, he established Dr. John’s Starter Yard and Clinic in Ashland in the early 1980s, focusing on lightweight stocker cattle. Dr. Seacat retired in the mid-1990s. Earlier, he was a partner in a small animal practice in Salina, Kansas, and co-owned Seacat Brothers Feed Yard in Ashland.

Dr. Seacat was an Army veteran of the Korean War. His three sons, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren survive him.

William D. Tryon

Dr. Tryon (Kansas State ’83), 61, Phoenix, died Aug. 8, 2016. He was president of Equestrian Veterinary Services in Phoenix.

Dr. Tryon is survived by his wife, Mary; five sons and two daughters; and 21 grandchildren.

Edward A. Zullo

Dr. Zullo (Brandeis Middlesex ’44), 94, Natick, Massachusetts, died Sept. 12, 2016. A mixed animal veterinarian, he owned Natick Animal Clinic for 45 years, retiring in 1994. Dr. Zullo also served more than 30 years as veterinarian for the Massachusetts State Police Canine Unit and animal inspector for both Natick and the Massachusetts Division of Livestock Disease Control. In addition, he was veterinarian for the New England Aquarium.

A past president of the Massa­chusetts Board of Registration in Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Zullo served on the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and the AVMA Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities. A member of the Massachusetts VMA, he received its 1994 Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Zullo was an Army veteran of World War II and a member of the American Legion, Massachusetts State Guard Active Reserve, and Air Force Association. He served as aide-de-camp to the governor of Massachusetts and was a colonel with the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. In 1994, Dr. Zullo was named Man of the Year by both the Air Force Association and the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. A member of Rotary International and Natick Elks, he was a past recipient of the Italian-American Civic League of Massachusetts’ Award for Distinguished Humane Services.

Dr. Zullo is survived by three daughters and a son, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Obituary notifications

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For an obituary to be published, JAVMA must be notified within six months of the date of death.