Former AVMA president Dr. Alton F. Hopkins Jr. of Dallas died Feb. 15, 2017, at age 83. Equality of representation among AVMA members was a theme of his presidency.
The AVMA's 108th president, he led the Association from 1986-87 and, before that, represented members in District VIII on the Executive Board, chairing the Board in 1984.
Born July 7, 1933, in Dallas, he received his DVM degree from Texas A&M University in 1956. He worked in private practice at a Dallas animal clinic from 1957-62, then spent a year inspecting chicken farms for the Department of Agriculture. Texas Veterinarian of the Year in 1988, he spent a half-century as co-owner and practitioner at Highland Park Animal and Lakewood Animal clinics.
Dr. Bill Ard of Tyler, Texas, was his veterinary college classmate and close lifelong friend. "Our lives paralleled. I think I did all the veterinary stuff I did because of Al," he said, including serving in the AVMA House of Delegates. "He was a hard worker, was always a little smarter than the people around him, had a lot of savvy with money, and was competitive. He was president of everything he ever joined, working to run it."
Dr. Hopkins represented Texas as alternate delegate in the AVMA HOD from 1977-79. From 1977-78, he chaired the AVMA Manpower Advisory Committee and served on the ad hoc Committee on Dog and Cat Population Control. He was the only chair of the AVMA's former Public Relations Committee. He also served on the National Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
After leading the Dallas County VMA in 1969, he became Texas VMA president in 1976. He chaired several TVMA committees and was a founding member and board member of the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice.
Dr. John Wood of Lufkin, Texas, was his colleague and friend for some 40 years. They fished, quail hunted, and golfed throughout the state. "He was an extremely competitive person but was always a sportsman," he said. "He was one of the most excellent role models for veterinary medicine in the last 30 years. He personified professional veterinary medicine in everything he did."
In his 1986 presidential address to the HOD, Dr. Hopkins called for creation of an ad hoc redistricting committee to address "extremes" in the numbers of members between Executive Board districts and the numbers of states within districts, which prevented smaller states within a district from having a member of their state elected to the Board.
The Board created the ad hoc redistricting committee to design a more equitable apportionment of the Board districts, but this effort led instead to the HOD in 1988 equalizing Board representation among districts by amending an AVMA bylaw to prevent an AVMA member residing in the same state as a Board member whose term was expiring from being eligible for nomination to the seat.
The 1988 HOD also adopted a bylaw amendment Dr. Hopkins proposed to strengthen the position of food animal and equine practitioners on three important AVMA committees and councils by replacing the large animal categories with specific food animal and equine practice categories.
AVMA sponsorship of the Candidates' Introductory Breakfast that continues today, preceding each AVMA Convention, arose from Dr. Hopkins' recommendations for making campaigns for AVMA officer positions more equitable and curbing campaign spending.
The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine gave him its Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1980, and the TVMA, its President's Award in 1983. He received the American Animal Hospital Association's Service Award in 1981.
Dr. Hopkins is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bobbie Anne, and his children: Jan Hopkins Hankinson, Larry Hopkins, and Susan Hopkins Atchison; seven grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 3001 Knox St., Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75205, or to the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Office of Development, 4461 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, with checks made payable to the Texas A&M Foundation and "Dr. Al Hopkins" on the memo line.
AVMA honor roll member
Shawna L. Chastain
Dr. Chastain (Texas A&M '03), 40, Sachse, Texas, died May 23, 2017. A small and exotic animal veterinarian, she was an associate at CityVet Uptown in Dallas for the past seven years. Dr. Chastain also bred and raised Rhodesian Ridgebacks, owning Vyrtuous Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Earlier, she worked at Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin in Austin, Texas; Sachse Veterinary Clinic; and Stonebridge Veterinary Hospital in Rockwall, Texas.
Dr. Chastain is survived by her husband, Gared; a daughter; her father and stepmother; her stepfather; and her two half-brothers.
Christina M. Chesvick
Dr. Chesvick (Washington State '06), 36, Manhattan, Kansas, died March 14, 2017. She was a resident in the Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Residency program at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine since 2016. Following graduation and after completing an equine internship in Phoenix, Dr. Chesvick practiced small animal medicine in the Puget Sound area of Washington state for several years. In 2011, she moved to Monterey, California, where she served as a relief and emergency veterinarian. During that time, Dr. Chesvick also taught at California State University in Monterey Bay. She moved to Los Angeles in 2015, completing a diagnostic imaging internship at the Animal Specialty and Emergency Center before joining the residency program at KSU.
Dr. Chesvick was a member of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. She is survived by her life partner, Ramsey Meyer; her parents; and a brother. Memorials toward a fund at the KSU CVM in Dr. Chesvick's name may be made to KSU Foundation, 1800 Denison Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan, KS 66505.
Pedro A. Cintrón-Zayas
Dr. Cintrón-Zayas (Ohio State '65), 83, San Juan, Puerto Rico, died June 21, 2017. He practiced small animal medicine in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, for more than 25 years. Dr. Cintrón-Zayas also taught veterinary assistant courses in his clinic, with the backing of the island's Department of Education.
Dr. Cintrón-Zayas is survived by a son and four daughters, four grandchildren, and a brother and sister.
W. Luke Fry II
Dr. Fry (Kansas State '77), 64, Merriam, Kansas, died April 30, 2017. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Quivira Road Animal Hospital in Shawnee, Kansas, for 35 years.
Dr. Fry is survived by his wife, Sharon; a daughter and a son; four grandchildren; and his mother, father, and three sisters. Memorials may be made to Christian Veterinary Mission, 19303 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98133, gifts.cvmusa.org, or toward the Dr. Luke Fry Memorial Scholarship, c/o Kansas State University Foundation, 1800 Kimball Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan, KS 66502, with "Dr. Luke Fry" notated on the memo line of the check.
Robert L. Gochnauer
Dr. Gochnauer (Ohio State '75), 68, Hamptonville, North Carolina, died May 10, 2017. A large animal veterinarian, he owned Mobile Large Animal Veterinary Service in Troutman, North Carolina, for the past 21 years. Earlier, Dr. Gochnauer co-owned North Mecklenburg Animal Hospital, a mixed animal practice in Cornelius, North Carolina, with his wife, Dr. Karen Karaffa (Ohio State '74), for 20 years. He was a lifetime member of the North Carolina VMA, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and American Association of Bovine Practitioners.
Dr. Gochnauer is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, and a sister and brother. His daughter, Dr. Mary K. Gochnauer (Ohio State '06), practices at Mobile Large Animal Veterinary Service. Memorials may be made to Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607, or Heifer International, P.O Box 8058, Little Rock, AR 72203.
Eldon O. Harrison
Dr. Harrison (Texas A&M '56), 84, Lafayette, Indiana, died June 20, 2017. A veterinary neurosurgeon, he owned a referral practice in Richardson, Texas, for several years after graduation. Dr. Harrison also raised Polled Hereford cattle while in Texas. A member of the Texas VMA, Dr. Harrison received its Veterinary Medical Specialty Award in 2002. He was a veteran of the Navy.
Dr. Harrison is survived by his wife, Peggy; three sons and three daughters; 16 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a sister. His cousin, Dr. Richard Smithwick (Texas A&M '61), is a veterinarian in Howe, Texas.
Bruce L. Leuschen
Dr. Leuschen (Iowa State '83), 59, Story City, Iowa, died April 14, 2017. A bovine veterinarian, he most recently worked at Braum's Dairy in Tuttle, Oklahoma. Dr. Leuschen began his career practicing in Iowa at Cascade and LaMotte. From 1992-2006, he worked for Postville Veterinary Clinic in Postville, Iowa. He subsequently served as a staff member at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine before joining Braum's Dairy. Dr. Leuschen was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He is survived by his wife, Kelly; a daughter and two sons; and five brothers and six sisters.
Albert S. Pugh IV
Dr. Pugh (Texas A&M '74), 65, Bridge City, Texas, died May 16, 2017. A small animal veterinarian, he owned Bridge City Animal Hospital since 1977. Earlier, Dr. Pugh served as a captain in the Army, stationed in Virginia. He was a member of the Texas and Southeast Texas VMAs. Active in his community, Dr. Pugh served as president of the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce and Bridge City Rotary Club. He was a past recipient of the chamber's Citizen of the Year Award and was named to the Rotary District Wall of Fame.
Dr. Pugh is survived by his fiancee, Cheryl Joyner; a daughter and a son; three grandchildren; and three sisters. Memorials may be made to Bridge City Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 846, Bridge City, TX 77611.
Derek D. Skaife
Dr. Skaife (California-Davis '71), 75, Los Altos, California, died June 30, 2017. He practiced small animal medicine in the Los Altos area for 34 years prior to retirement in 2005. Dr. Skaife is survived by his wife, Linda; two sons; two grandchildren; and a sister and brother.
Philip R. Woods
Dr. Woods (Wisconsin '87), 64, Vass, North Carolina, died June 5, 2017. A large animal veterinarian, he owned Dogwood Equine Veterinary Clinic in Vass for 15 years. Following graduation and after completing a residency in large animal medicine at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Woods served as an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine for four years. He later practiced equine medicine in Arizona, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas, North Carolina, and the United Kingdom before moving to Vass.
Dr. Woods was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is survived by his wife, Vivienne; a son and a daughter; his father; and a sister. Memorials may be made to Pinecrest Women's Lacrosse, 250 Voit Gilmore Lane, Southern Pines, NC 28387.
Leslie W. Yarbrough
Dr. Yarbrough (Texas A&M '71), 76, Helotes, Texas, died May 11, 2017. A diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, he was director of the vivarium of the School of Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston prior to retirement. Earlier, Dr. Yarbrough served as a captain in the Army Veterinary Corps. He was a member of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science and the Texas branch of the AALAS.
Dr. Yarbrough's wife, Suzanne; a son and a daughter; five grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and a brother survive him. His cousin, Dr. Steven H. Yarbrough (Texas A&M '81), practices mixed animal medicine in Devine, Texas.
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