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March 01, 2020


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Updated February 13, 2020

AVMA member

AVMA honor roll member


Gerald A. Bezner

Dr. Bezner (Cornell ’57), 86, Boxford, Massachusetts, died July 12, 2019. During his 58-year career, he owned small animal practices in Syracuse, New York, and Tequesta, Florida. Dr. Bezner’s four daughters, a son, seven grandchildren, a great-grandchild, and a sister survive him.

Gregory D. Bossart

Dr. Bossart (Pennsylvania ’78), 68, Milton, Georgia, died Nov. 19, 2019. He was senior vice president and chief veterinary officer at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, overseeing animal care, research, and conservation programs. Dr. Bossart also served as an adjunct professor in the departments of pathology at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and University of Miami School of Medicine, and he was a member of the graduate faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina. Earlier, he served as an affiliate professor at Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and was a research professor and director and head of pathology for the institute’s Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program.

Dr. Bossart led the Health and Environmental Risk Assessment Project for bottlenose dolphins, and with research partners, he identified resurgent and emerging diseases in dolphins, manatees, birds, and whales. He helped characterize the first viral diseases in manatees and developed the first immunohistochemical technique for diagnosing brevetoxicosis in both marine mammals and birds. Dr. Bossart had collaborative research projects with the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Ocean Service, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and Office of Naval Research. He was a member of the board of directors of the One Health Commission and, along with a research team, studied the role of aquatic species as sentinels for the effects of environmental change on animals, the ecosystem, and human health.

Dr. Bossart had a doctorate in immunopathology from Florida International University and was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and European College of Zoological Medicine. He received several honors, including an Alumni Award of Merit from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993 and William Medway Award for Excellence in Teaching from the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine in 2019.

Dr. Bossart is survived by his wife, Jennifer; two daughters and a son; and a brother. Memorials may be made to the Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30313; Christian Veterinary Mission, 19303 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98133; or Medical Missions Ministries Guatemala, 11625 Rainwater Drive Suite 500, Alpharetta, GA 30009.

William W. Buisch

Dr. Buisch (Kansas State ’70), 75, Cary, North Carolina, died Aug. 17, 2019. He worked for the Department of Agriculture prior to retirement. Dr. Buisch authored the book “The Ark’s Cargo: For the Love of Animals.” He is survived by four children, eight grandchildren, and three sisters. Memorials may be made to Trinity Park Church, 14001 Weston Parkway Suite, 122 Cary, NC 27513.

Gwendolyn R. Jankowski

Dr. Jankowski (Oklahoma State ’08), 39, Denver, died Aug. 9, 2019. She was an associate veterinarian at the Denver Zoo. Dr. Jankowski participated in several research expeditions to Peru to study environmental impacts on seals and penguins. She was a diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine and a member of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

Dr. Jankowski is survived by her husband, Ben; three children; her parents; and a sister.

Gary D. Osweiler

Dr. Osweiler (Iowa State ’66), 76, Ames, Iowa, died Aug. 13, 2019. A past president of the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology, he was a professor emeritus of veterinary toxicology at Iowa State University and a past director of the university’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Following graduation, Dr. Osweiler served as a clinician at the ISU VDL and ISU Veterinary Field Services unit. After obtaining his master’s in pathology in 1968 and earning a doctorate in toxicology in 1973, both from Iowa State, he joined the veterinary faculty of the University of Missouri, where he taught, conducted research, and provided clinical and diagnostic toxicology services until 1982.

In 1983, Dr. Osweiler returned to ISU as a professor of veterinary toxicology and section leader of toxicology. He chaired the interdepartmental toxicology graduate program for several years and was named director of the VDL in 1994, serving in this capacity until 2004. Dr. Osweiler retired in 2010.

Known for his research on mycotoxins, he co-authored the textbook “Clinical and Diagnostic Veterinary Toxicology.” Dr. Osweiler was a past president of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and American Academy of Veterinary and Comparative Toxicology, was a past chair of the Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee, and served on the National Organics Standards Board.

His wife, Sue; two sons and two daughters; five grandchildren; and two brothers and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202.

Kenneth R. Padgett

Dr. Padgett (Georgia ’63), 82, Jacksonville, North Carolina, died July 14, 2019. He practiced small animal medicine at Jacksonville Veterinary Hospital, College View Veterinary Clinic, and Coastal Veterinary Emergency Clinic, all in Jacksonville. Dr. Padgett was a past president of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board and North Carolina VMA, and he was a past North Carolina delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates. In 1994, he was honored as NCVMA Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year. In 2004, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the University of Georgia.

Dr. Padgett served on the Onslow County Board of Health from 2007-12. His wife, Chase, and a daughter survive him. Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 400 N. Bayshore Blvd., Jacksonville, NC 28540.

Daniel H. Rice III

Dr. Rice (Pennsylvania ’63), 86, Hubbardston, Massachusetts, died Aug. 23, 2019. From 1969 until retirement in 2008, he owned a small animal practice in Holden, Massachusetts. Earlier, Dr. Rice worked at Shrewsbury Animal Hospital in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. In retirement, he volunteered with NEADS, formerly National Education for Assistance Dog Services, in Princeton, Massachusetts.

Dr. Rice was a veteran of the Navy. His wife, Carol, and a sister survive him. Dr. Rice’s nephew, Dr. Steven Atwood (Pennsylvania ’80), is a veterinarian in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. Memorials may be made to NEADS, P.O. Box 1100, Princeton, MA 01541.

David H. Spearman

Dr. Spearman (Georgia ’56), 86, Easley, South Carolina, died Aug. 15, 2019. In 1957, he established a practice in Easley, where he initially practiced mixed animal medicine, focusing later on small animals. Before that, Dr. Spearman worked at Cleveland Park Animal Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. He retired after 48 years in practice.

Dr. Spearman served on the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners from 1981-88, chairing the board in 1987. He was a past president of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and was named Veterinarian of the Year in 1985. Dr. Spearman served as the alternate delegate from South Carolina to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1991-95 and was delegate from 1996-2000. He was also a past president of the Blue Ridge VMA, served on the advisory board of the veterinary technology program at Tri-County Technical College, and was a member of the admissions committee for the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and of the advisory committee for preveterinary students at Clemson University.

Active in his community, Dr. Spearman was a member of the Easley Chamber of Commerce, a past chair of the Easley Zoning Board, a past president of the Easley Lions Club, and a member of the Pendleton Farmers Society and Pickens County Historical Society. He was also a charter member and a past state director of Trout Unlimited and a life member of the World Wildlife Federation.

Dr. Spearman is survived by a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Christian Veterinary Mission, 19393 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98133; Pickens County Historical Society/Hagood Mill Preservation, P.O. Box 775, Pickens, SC 29671; or Greenville Area Parkinson Society, 40 John McCarroll Way, Greenville, SC 29607.

Jamal O. Toler

Dr. Toler (Tuskegee ’98), 47, Lithonia, Georgia, died July 3, 2019. A small animal veterinarian, he and his wife, Dr. Whitney R. Rose-Toler (Tuskegee ’97), owned Deshon Animal Hospital in Lithonia since 2003. Dr. Toler had a special interest in orthopedic surgery. Earlier, he worked in Michigan and Ohio.

Dr. Toler was a member of the Rod Benders Fishing Club. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, his parents, and a brother.

Please report the death of a veterinarian promptly to the JAVMA News staff via a toll-free phone call at 800-248-2862, ext. 6754; email at newsatavma [dot] org (news[at]avma[dot]org); or fax at 847-925-9329. For an obituary to be published, JAVMA must be notified within six months of the date of death.

An obituary for Dr. William W. Buisch previously did not list his relatives. Also, the obituary for Dr. Jamal O. Toler misspelled an organization to which he belonged.