JAVMA News logo

October 01, 2020

Obituaries

Published on
information-circle This article is more than 3 years old

AVMA member

AVMA honor roll member

Nonmember

Donald R. Biles

Dr. Biles (Oklahoma State ’68), 86, Purcell, Oklahoma, died April 12, 2020. Following graduation, he established Westwood Veterinary Hospital in Norman, Oklahoma. Dr. Biles also ranched and raised Beefmaster cattle. He was a past president of Beefmaster Breeders United and the Central States Beefmaster Breeders Association. In 1992, the Norman Chamber of Commerce named Dr. Biles the Business Man of the Year. He was inducted into the BBU Hall of Fame in 2010.

Dr. Biles was a veteran of the Air Force. His wife, Carol; a son and a daughter; and five grandchildren survive him. Dr. Biles’ son, Dr. David J. Biles (Oklahoma State ’97), practices at Westwood Veterinary Hospital. Memorials may be made to Purcell Future Farmers of America, 2020 W. Green Ave., Purcell, OK 73080.

Paul H. Bissonette

Dr. Bissonette (Washington State ’61), 88, Pendleton, Oregon, died June 20, 2020. He coestablished Clark Fork Veterinary Clinic in Deer Lodge, Montana, where he practiced mixed animal medicine prior to retirement. Dr. Bissonette was a Navy veteran of the Korean War. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; two sons and two stepchildren; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Gregory L. Boggs

Dr. Boggs (Michigan State ’68), 75, Flint, Michigan, died June 5, 2020. A small animal veterinarian, he began his career in Appleton, Wisconsin. Dr. Boggs subsequently moved to Michigan, where he founded Heritage Veterinary Hospital in Flint. He was a member of the Michigan and Saginaw Valley VMAs.

Dr. Boggs is survived by four sons, 10 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Two sons, Drs. Nathan L. Boggs (Michigan State ’97 ) and Chad L. Boggs (Michigan State ’00), practice at Heritage Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Boggs’ late twin brother, Dr. George L. Boggs (Michigan State ’68), was also a veterinarian in Michigan. Memorials may be made to Tanner Cemetery, c/o Heritage Veterinary Hospital, 5084 N. Genesee Road, Flint, MI 48506.

G. Francis Burgess

Dr. Burgess (California-Davis ’61), 90, Hanford, California, died Feb. 9, 2020. From 1965 until retirement in 1995, he owned Hanford Veterinary Hospital. Earlier, Dr. Burgess worked in California at Merced, Lancaster, and Bakersfield. His daughter, two sons, 10 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and a sister and a brother survive him.

Connie A. Cummings

Dr. Cummings (Tuskegee ’95), 57, Durham, North Carolina, died June 15, 2020. An ultrastructural pathologist who earned her doctorate in pathology in 2001 from Oklahoma State University, she founded UltraPath Imaging, an electron microscopy laboratory in Durham in 2009. Earlier in her career, Dr. Cummings served as a research technician at Duke University School of Medicine’s Duke Radiation Oncology; was the manager of ultrastructural pathology at GlaxoSmithKline; served as a staff pathologist at Charles River Laboratories–Pathology Associates in Durham; and was an ultrastructural pathologist contractor for a company that provided electron microscopy services for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Toxicology Program.

She is survived by her husband, Gary Willmon; a stepdaughter; a stepgrandchild; and two sisters and a brother. Memorials may be made to Paws For Life, P.O. Box 338, Youngsville, NC 27596, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3902 Berini Drive, Durham, NC 27705.

Laverne N. Dougherty

Dr. Dougherty (Pennsylvania ’62), 89, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, died June 27, 2020. Following graduation, he worked in Oxford, Pennsylvania, focusing on the care of dairy herds. In 1971, Dr. Dougherty moved to New London, Pennsylvania, where he established Crest View Animal Clinic, a mixed animal practice. He retired in 1997.

Dr. Dougherty was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and Pennsylvania VMA. In 1984, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine honored him with a Centennial Award of Merit in recognition of outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine. An Army veteran of the Korean War, Dr. Dougherty received several honors, including the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars.

He is survived by his wife, Janet; a son and two daughters; six grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and a sister and three brothers. Memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, 300 5th Ave., Suite 6, Waltham, MA 02451.

Geraldine R. Elliston

Dr. Elliston (Minnesota ’64), 83, Amarillo, Texas, died June 28, 2020. From 1985 until retirement in 1999, she owned Evening Pet Clinic in Amarillo. Earlier in her career, Dr. Elliston worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ames, Iowa, and Jensen-Salsbery Laboratories in Kansas City, Missouri, and served as a relief veterinarian in Minneapolis, the Kansas City area, Dallas, and Amarillo.

Her son, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren survive her. Memorials, toward the Dr. Nolie G. Elliston Alpha Zeta High Freshman Scholarship Endowment, may be sent to Texas Tech University, Box 42123, Lubbock, TX 79409. Memorials may also be made to the General Scholarship Fund and sent to the Amarillo College Foundation, P.O. Box 447, Amarillo, TX 79178.

Joseph P. Garvin

Dr. Garvin (Virginia-Maryland ’87), 58, Sperryville, Virginia, died June 14, 2020. He worked for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services‘ Division of Animal and Food Industry Services for 32 years, serving as program manager for the Office of Laboratory Services since 2003. Dr. Garvin supervised the operation of five regional animal health laboratories. He also served on several committees and was active in conducting outreach events for livestock producers and youth. In 2019, Dr. Garvin was recognized with the VDACS commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award.

Active in his community, he was vice president of the board of directors for Nature Camp in Vesuvius, Virginia. Dr. Garvin is survived by his wife, Sue; two sons; his parents; and two sisters and a brother. Memorials, toward the Samuel B. Guss Memorial Fund, may be sent to the American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, 1130 East Main St., Suite 302, Ashland, OH 44805, or to Nature Camp Foundation, c/o Amy Wingfield Clark, P.O. Box 265, Studley, VA 23162.

Robert M. Powell

Dr. Powell (California-Davis ’64), 80, Davis, California, died May 20, 2020. He was the founder of what was known as Veterinary Practice Limited to Cats in Sacramento, California, where he practiced for nearly three decades. Dr. Powell was a past president of the Sacramento Valley VMA. His daughter, son, and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials, notated toward the track and field team, may be sent to C.K. McClatchy High School, 3066 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95818. Memorials may also be made to the Pacific Whale Foundation, 300 Maalaea Road, Suite 211, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Clyde L. Purdy

Dr. Purdy (Ohio State ’58), 93, Mount Vernon, Ohio, died June 15, 2020. He owned Hillside Veterinary Clinic, a mixed animal practice in Mount Vernon, prior to retirement in 1993. Dr. Purdy also served as an adjunct assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and raised Black Angus cattle.

He was a past president of the Ohio VMA and The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association, was a past vice president of the Ohio Animal Foundation, and served on the OSU CVM Admissions Committee. Dr. Purdy was a member of the Knox County Cattlemen’s Association and received its Outstanding Service Award in 1995 and Outstanding Cattleman of the Year Award in 1999. He also received the Ohio Animal Health Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in 1995.

Dr. Purdy served two terms on the board of directors of the Knox Community Hospital Foundation and was a member of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club and Masonic Lodge. A Navy veteran of World War II, he was also a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Dr. Purdy’s wife, Diana; three sons, three daughters, and five stepchildren; 14 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren and several stepgreat-grandchildren survive him. Memorials, toward the College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1958 Scholarship Fund, may be made to The Ohio State University Foundation, 1480 W. Lane Ave., Columbus, OH 43221.

Melvin Sacks

Dr. Sacks (Brandeis Middlesex ’44), 97, Northbrook, Illinois, died May 21, 2020. In 1951, he established Norwood Park Animal Hospital in Norridge, Illinois, where he practiced small animal medicine until retirement in 1992. Earlier, Dr. Sacks owned Rogers Park Animal Hospital in Chicago. He was a veteran of the Army. Dr. Sacks’ three daughters, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022; JourneyCare, 2050 Claire Court, Glenview, IL 60025; or The Anti-Cruelty Society, 169 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654.

Laura M. Sahlfeld

Dr. Sahlfeld (Oregon State ’17), 32, Hillsboro, Oregon, died April 10, 2020. She most recently practiced small animal medicine in Beaverton, Oregon. Dr. Sahlfeld is survived by her family.