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June 15, 2021

Obituaries

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AVMA member

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Robert B. Altman

Dr. Altman (Cornell ’58), 88, Boynton Beach, Florida, died Dec. 15, 2020. During his career, he practiced small animal and avian medicine in Franklin Square, New York. Dr. Altman was a co-founder and a past president of the Association of Avian Veterinarians and served as its alternate delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates from 1994-2001. He was also a past chair of the American Animal Hospital Association’s former Avian Medicine Committee, served as an avian consultant for what used to be the National Board Examination Committee for Veterinary Medicine, and was an honorary member of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and a member of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society.

Dr. Altman co-wrote the textbook “Avian Medicine and Surgery.” In 1981, he was named AAHA Region 1 Veterinary Practitioner of the Year. In 1988, the NYSVMS honored Dr. Altman with the Outstanding Service to Veterinary Medicine Award. He is survived by his wife, Joanne; six children; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City, OK 73123; American Heart Association, P.O. Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284; American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, P.O. Box 96929, Washington, DC 20090; or Trustbridge Hospice Foundation, 5300 E. Ave., West Palm Beach, Florida 33407.

Karen E. Cronin

Dr. Cronin (Missouri ’80), 67, St. Paul, Missouri, died Jan. 26, 2021. Following graduation, she practiced mixed animal medicine for a year in Ralston, Nebraska. Dr. Cronin subsequently worked as an emergency veterinarian in Louisiana at Baton Rouge and Houma; practiced small animal medicine in Bridgeton, Missouri; and served as a relief veterinarian for practices in St. Louis and surrounding areas. From 1984-89, she owned a small animal practice in Bridgeton. Dr. Cronin then served as an emergency veterinarian for a few years in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She went on to teach veterinary technology at Midwest Institute in St. Louis. Prior to attending veterinary school, she served a year as zookeeper at the Kansas City Zoo in Missouri.

Dr. Cronin is survived by her husband, Thomas Sawhill. Memorials may be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, P.O. Box 96929, Washington, DC 20090.

Ernest J. Finocchio

Dr. Finocchio (Kansas State ’68), 77, Harrisville, Rhode Island, died Oct. 26, 2020. In 1969, he established New England Horse Care Center in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, where he practiced for more than 30 years. Dr. Finocchio also bred and raced Thoroughbreds.

In 2002, he was named president of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As president, Dr. Finocchio advocated for significant enhancements to Rhode Island’s animal welfare laws and instituted fundraisers, a volunteer program, the newsletter Happy Tails to All, free rabies vaccination clinics, and several other programs. In the fall of 2005, he arranged for 70 tons of supplies to benefit the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana and Hopeful Haven Equine Rescue in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Dr. Finocchio was active with the Pet Partners Animal Therapy Program and established the Marvin Fund, raising funds for animals in need of medical assistance. He was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and served on the advisory board for Equus Magazine. In 2019, the RIVMA named Dr. Finocchio as Veterinarian of the Year. He is survived by his wife, Marie; a son; his mother; and a sister. Memorials may be made to the Marvin Fund, c/o RISPCA, 186 Amaral St., Riverside, RI 02915.

Barry A. Greene

Dr. Greene (Tennessee ’86), 66, Palm City, Florida, died Nov. 29, 2020. An equine veterinarian, he began his career at what was known as Calder Race Course in Miami Gardens, Florida, and Gulfstream Park racetrack in Hallandale, Florida. Dr. Greene subsequently established a Thoroughbred racehorse practice at Payson Park training center in Indiantown, Florida, where he worked for 20 years. He then owned a practice in Palm City, focusing on pleasure and performance horses in the Treasure Coast region of Florida for the past decade.

Dr. Greene is survived by a brother and two sisters. Memorials may be made to Treasure Coast Wildlife Center, 8626 SW Citrus Blvd., Palm City, FL 34990.

Richard W. Huff

Dr. Huff (Michigan State ’56), 90, Birmingham, Michigan, died March 22, 2021. Following graduation, he completed an internship at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Huff subsequently began his career in small animal medicine at Gasow Veterinary Hospital in Birmingham. In 1977, he co-founded Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates in Beverly Hills, Michigan, practicing there until retirement in 1998. Dr. Huff had a special interest in ophthalmology and surgery. During his career, he invented a canine vaginal speculum and developed silicone eye implants for animals.

A past president of the Michigan and Southeastern Michigan VMAs, Dr. Huff received the American Animal Hospital Association’s Charles E. Bild Practitioner of the Year Award in 1993. In 1998, Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine named Dr. Huff a Distinguished Alumnus. His two daughters, a son, two grandchildren, and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Trees in Memory, The Arbor Day Foundation, 211 N. 12th St., Lincoln, NE 68508, or Pine River Watershed Initiative Network, 86 Huron St. Unit #2, Ripley, Ontario N0G 2R0, Canada.

Daniel E. Lafontaine Sr.

Dr. Lafontaine (Ohio State ’67), 78, Bel Air, Maryland, died Feb. 24, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Army Veterinary Corps for 26 years, retiring in 1993 as a colonel. Dr. Lafontaine subsequently served as director of the South Carolina Meat-Poultry Inspection Department and was assistant state veterinarian of South Carolina. 

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, Dr. Lafontaine was a past president of the former American Association of Food Hygiene Veterinarians, a past chair of the AVMA House Advisory Committee, and a past member of the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee. He also chaired the former AVMA Antimicrobial Use Task Force and was a member of the Military Officers Association of America. In 1996, Dr. Lafontaine was named AAFHV Food Hygiene Veterinarian of the Year. He received the AVMA Public Service Award in 2008.

Dr. Lafontaine is survived by his wife, JoAnn; three daughters and a son; five grandchildren; and three sisters and a brother.

Calvert T. Larsen

Dr. Larsen (Colorado State ’58), 87, South Jordan, Utah, died Jan. 24, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced in Utah at Bountiful and Ephraim. Dr. Larsen then resumed his education, earning a master’s in public health and a doctorate in veterinary microbiology and virology from the University of Minnesota, where his research focused on coronavirus of turkeys. He then joined the newly established Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. During his tenure, Dr. Larsen was an associate professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and served as a poultry specialist with Virginia Cooperative Extension. He retired in 2002 as an associate professor emeritus. Known for his contributions to avian health and disease research, he served on the former Mid-Atlantic Poultry Health Council.

Dr. Larsen’s three sons, a daughter, 18 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and two sisters survive him.

Robert E. Lynk

Dr. Lynk (Cornell ’61), 88, Delmar, New York, died April 13, 2021. Following graduation, he joined a mixed animal practice in Clarksville, New York. In 1963, the practice relocated and became Delmar Animal Hospital, with Dr. Lynk subsequently serving as a partner. He retired in 1997.

Active in organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Lynk served on Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Advisory Council and the New York State Board of Veterinary Medicine and held leadership roles with the Cornell Alumni Association and the New York State, Hudson Valley, and Capital District veterinary medical societies. In 2010, he and his wife, Nancy, also a graduate of Cornell University, were honored with the Cornell Alumni Association’s Frank H.T. Rhodes Exemplary Alumni Service Award.

Dr. Lynk was a talented watercolor artist whose paintings were featured as the cover art of the Sept. 15, 2014, and June 1, 2021, issues of JAVMA. He was a past president of the Bethlehem Art Association, served as director of the Albany Center Gallery, and was a member of the Albany Artists Group, Arts Center of the Capital Region, and Central New York Watercolor Society.

Dr. Lynk served in the Army during the Korean War, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son, five grandchildren, and a sister. A nephew, Dr. Thomas W. Lynk (Cornell ’81), is a veterinarian in West Winfield, New York. Memorials may be made to the Delmar Presbyterian Church, 585 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY 12054.

Kevin C. Nelson

Dr. Nelson (Ross ’85), 63, Salem, Wisconsin, died March 27, 2021. He co-owned Bristol Veterinary Service in Salem, where he practiced primarily large animal medicine. Early in his career, Dr. Nelson worked in Adrian, Michigan.

With a passion for exotic animal medicine, he served as veterinarian at the Racine Zoo for more than 30 years. Dr. Nelson also served as veterinarian for the Wisconsin State Fair, Racine County Fair, Kenosha County Fair, and Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program. A member of the Wisconsin VMA, he was named Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Nelson’s wife, Deanna; a son; and a brother survive him.

Joseph C. Nichols Jr.

Dr. Nichols (Michigan State ’53), 98, Beverly, Massachusetts, died March 25, 2021. Following graduation, he co-founded New England Veterinary Clinic, a small animal practice in Salem, Massachusetts. Dr. Nichols served on the building commissions for the Myles McPherson Youth Center in Beverly and the Beverly High School Track and Field facility. He was also active with the Boy Scouts of America. Dr. Nichols served in the Army Air Force during World War II and was a member of the American Legion.

He is survived by two daughters, two sons, nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Care Dimensions, an organization providing care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses, and sent to 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923. Memorials may also be made to the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals–Angell, Attn: Donations, 350 South Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130.

Felix Robert Sava

Dr. Sava (Illinois ’65), 79, Beacon Falls, Connecticut, died Nov. 15, 2020. In 1966, he joined Darien Animal Hospital, a small animal practice in Darien, Connecticut, becoming co-owner of the practice in 1976. Dr. Sava also helped established a veterinary emergency service in Norwalk, Connecticut. His wife, Nancy; three daughters; seven grandchildren; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to Pet Animal Welfare Society, 504 Main Ave., Norwalk, CT 06851, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Charles S. Saxe

Dr. Saxe (Texas A&M ’57), 89, Bryan, Texas, died Feb. 4, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Air Force. During that time, Dr. Saxe worked with the primates in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Project Mercury, attaining the rank of captain. He subsequently practiced at Memorial Town and Country Animal Clinic, a small animal practice in Houston, for 55 years. Dr. Saxe also helped establish an animal emergency clinic in west Houston, serving as its first president. He was a member of the Texas VMA.

Dr. Saxe is survived by his wife, Susan; three sons; five grandchildren; and a sister. A granddaughter, Savannah Saxe, is a second-year veterinary student at Texas A&M University. Memorials, with the memo line of the check notated to “Class of 1957 Endowed Scholarship in Veterinary Medicine,” may be made to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840.

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.