JAVMA News logo

November 01, 2021

Obituaries

Published on October 13, 2021

AVMA member

AVMA honor roll member 

Nonmember

James D. Bilberry

Dr. Bilberry (Auburn ’54), 90, McGehee, Arkansas, died Aug. 1, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Army during the Korean War. In 1957, Dr. Bilberry established a practice in McGehee. He also volunteered at county fairs and at 4-H club events and raised cattle and horses. Dr. Bilberry served on the Arkansas State Racing Commission and was a member of the Arkansas VMA. In 1995, he was named Arkansas VMA Veterinarian of the Year.

Active in his community, Dr. Bilberry helped organize the Ducks Unlimited Delta Chapter, served as a Desha County justice of the peace for several decades, and helped establish the McGehee Men’s Club and the McGehee Industrial Foundation, serving as president of the latter from 1996-2014. Also active with the Boy Scouts of America, he was named an Eagle Scout and was a past McGehee Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Dr. Bilberry is survived by three sons, three daughters, 17 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Paws & Claws Humane Society, P.O. Box 238, McGehee, AR 71654.

Donald B. Feldman

Dr. Feldman (Illinois ’61), 91, Durham, North Carolina, died Aug. 18, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced small animal medicine in the Chicago area for six years. Dr. Feldman subsequently joined the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as a clinical veterinarian. He later served as an attending veterinarian with the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where he worked until his retirement in 2007.

A diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, Dr. Feldman co-authored the book “Necropsy Guide: Rodents and the Rabbit.” He is survived by his wife, Beth; three sons and a daughter; and three grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Meals on Wheels Durham, 2522 Ross Road, Durham, NC 27703.

Elizabeth A. Fox

Dr. Fox (Illinois ’84), 62, Lake Zurich, Illinois, died July 6, 2021. A small animal veterinarian, she practiced at Arlington Golf Animal Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Earlier, Dr. Fox worked at Buffalo Grove Animal Hospital in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, for several years. She was a member of the Chicago VMA. Dr. Fox’s husband, Raymond; a son and a daughter; her mother; and three brothers and a sister survive her. Memorials may be made to the Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, 1000 N. Westmoreland Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045.

Tsegaye Habtemariam

Dr. Habtemariam (Colorado State ’70), 79, Tucker, Georgia, died Aug. 27, 2021. From 2006-14, he was dean of Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Following graduation and after receiving a master’s in preventive veterinary medicine and earning a doctorate in epidemiology, both from the University of California-Davis, Dr. Habtemariam joined the veterinary faculty at Tuskegee University as an associate professor. During his tenure, he served as a professor of epidemiology and biomedical informatics and directed the International Center for Tropical Animal Health; the Center for Computational Epidemiology, Bioinformatics & Risk Analysis; and Biomedical Information Management Systems. Dr. Habtemariam also served as associate dean for research and graduate studies. Following his service as dean, he returned to the Department of Pathobiology as a professor of epidemiology and biomedical informatics, retiring in 2019.

Dr. Habtemariam served as chair of grant review committees at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was active with the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization and held international workshops in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and the United States to train scientists in science-based risk analysis. Dr. Habtemariam served on the NIH HIV/AIDS Executive Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. He received several honors from Tuskegee University, including the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award and Outstanding Faculty Research Award in 1984 and the Outstanding Teacher Award for Creativity in 1991. In 2002, Dr. Habtemariam was inducted as a fellow of the National Academies of Practice in veterinary medicine. In 2004, he received an honorary diploma from the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society.

Dr. Habtemariam is survived by his wife, Mintwab Asfaw, and four children.

Thomas J. Hagerty

Dr. Hagerty (Minnesota ’59), 85, St. Michael, Minnesota, died Aug. 14, 2021. Following graduation, he practiced mixed animal medicine in St. Michael for more than 25 years. From 1984 until retirement in 2001, Dr. Hagerty served as executive director of the Minnesota State Board of Animal Health and as state veterinarian. He then served as lead veterinarian at the Minnesota State Fair for 15 years.

Dr. Hagerty was a past president of the United States Animal Health Association and Minnesota VMA and a past chair of the AVMA Council on Public Health and the former AVMA-USDA Relations Committee. He also chaired the MVMA Government Affairs Committee and served on the MVMA Council of Senior Veterinarians, MVMA Nominations and Awards Subcommittee, and the MVMA Public Health Committee. Dr. Hagerty was named Minnesota Veterinarian of the Year in 1985. In 1997, he was inducted as a fellow of the National Academies of Practice in veterinary medicine.

Active in his community, Dr. Hagerty served on the St. Michael-Albertville School Board for 25 years, also serving on the Frankfort Township Board and the St. Michael City Council. He was a charter member of the St. Michael Lions Club. Dr. Hagerty is survived by his wife, Shirley; three daughters and two sons; 14 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a sister and a brother. Memorials may be made to the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, 1265 Snelling Ave., Falcon Heights, MN 55108; to the Minnesota VMA Foundation, 101 Bridgepoint Way, Suite 100, South St. Paul, MN 55075; or to Unbound, a nonprofit organization that helps children with educational needs in 19 developing countries, and sent to 1 Elmwood Ave., Kansas City, KS 66103.

Richard F. Harker

Dr. Harker (Iowa State ’57), 88, Kewanee, Illinois, died June 21, 2021. Following graduation, he joined Kewanee Veterinary Clinic, where he practiced until retirement in 1992. During his career, Dr. Harker also served as an instructor at Black Hawk College in Galva, Illinois, teaching animal health and economics. In retirement, he continued to practice on a part-time basis.

Dr. Harker’s five sons, three daughters, 22 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren survive him. Memorials toward a public address system for the sanctuary may be sent to First Christian Church, 105 Dwight St., Kewanee, IL 61443.

Glen E. Hurley

Dr. Hurley (Kansas State ’53), 92, Courtland, Minnesota, died June 20, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Air Force as a base veterinarian at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hurley subsequently worked in a large animal practice in Ellsworth, Minnesota. In 1956, he established a mixed animal practice in Boxholm, Iowa. Dr. Hurley moved in 1975 to Waverly, Minnesota, where he practiced at Waverly Veterinary Clinic.

Upon retirement, he joined the Peace Corps and lived for a while in Morocco, training veterinary technicians, teaching animal husbandry, and providing animal care. Dr. Hurley later served with the Christian Veterinary Mission in Kenya and Mongolia. He was also active with volunteer programs in El Salvador, Ghana, Jamaica, Guatemala, Granada, St. Vincent, and Puerto Rico.

Dr. Hurley was a past president of the North Central Iowa VMA and was a life member of the Iowa VMA. He is survived by three children, four grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Heifer International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202.

Ingram P. Johnson Jr.

Dr. Johnson (Auburn ’56), 90, Germantown, Tennessee, died Aug. 22, 2021. A small animal veterinarian, he founded Eastgate Animal Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Johnson later expanded the practice with Olde Towne Animal Clinic in Germantown. He was a founding member of the first animal emergency center in Memphis and served on the board of directors of the Memphis/Shelby County VMA. Dr. Johnson was a member of the Tennessee VMA and received a TVMA Award of Veterinary Merit in 1990. He participated in several mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, India, and Ecuador.

Dr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Chita; two daughters and a son; seven grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren. Dr. Gram Johnson (Tennessee ’88), his son, is also a veterinarian. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17, Chicago, IL 60601, or toward the music ministry at Germantown Baptist Church, 9450 Poplar Ave., Germantown, TN 38139.

William R. Klemm

Dr. Klemm (Auburn ’58), 86, Bryan, Texas, died June 24, 2021. Following graduation, he served in the Air Force as a captain. In 1964, Dr. Klemm earned his doctorate in biology from Notre Dame University and joined the veterinary faculty of Iowa State University, where he was eventually named an assistant professor. In 1966, he began working in the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Klemm was promoted to a full professor in the department four years later. In 1980, he transferred to Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, where he served as a senior professor of neuroscience and a professor of veterinary integrative sciences.

Dr. Klemm wrote the books “Dillos: Roadkill on Extinction Highway?,” “Blame Game. How to Win It,” “Core Ideas in Neuroscience,” “Mental Biology: The New Science of How the Brain and Mind Relate,” “Memory Power 101,” “Atoms of Mind,” and “Triune Brain, Triune Mind, Triune Worldview.” He served several years in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a colonel. Dr. Klemm is survived by a son, a daughter, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Stillcreek Ranch, 6055 Hearne Road, Bryan, TX 77808, or Twin City Mission, P.O. Box 3490, Bryan, TX 77805.

Timothy R. O’Brien

Dr. O’Brien (Illinois ’65), 81, Davis, California, died July 26, 2021. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiologists, he served on the faculty of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for 39 years, retiring as a professor emeritus of radiology in 2008.

Following graduation, Dr. O’Brien completed an internship at Washington State University and then earned a master’s and a doctorate in radiology and radiation biology at Colorado State University. He subsequently joined the veterinary school at UC-Davis as an assistant professor of veterinary radiology and as an assistant research radiologist in the radiation biology laboratory.

During his tenure at UC-Davis, Dr. O’Brien served as service chief and directed the residency program for radiology, was associate dean for student services, and was chair of surgical and radiological sciences. Under his leadership, diagnostic imaging expanded to include expertise in radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, ultrasonography, and cross-sectional imaging, and the residency program became known as a premier program in training in veterinary diagnostic imaging.

Dr. O’Brien had a special interest in equine orthopedic disease and was known for his expertise in equine imaging. He spent a large part of his career learning about equine musculoskeletal disease through improved imaging techniques and studying the pathophysiology of joint disease. Dr. O’Brien developed special projections to evaluate disorders of the carpal, navicular, and pedal bones and the fetlock, stifle, and tarsal joints of horses. Passionate about continuing education and improving the quality of equine radiographs, he prepared and delivered the Equine Lameness Panel at the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ annual meetings.

Dr. O’Brien founded and directed the annual Lake Tahoe Equine Conference for more than four decades. He served on the UC-Davis Center for Equine Health’s former Scientific Advisory Committee for many years and on the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s former Scientific Committee, chairing the committee for five years. He also served on the AAEP’s former Pre-Purchase Examination Committee and on research committees for the AAEP and ACVR. Dr. O’Brien authored the book “Radiographic Diagnosis of Abdominal Disorders in the Dog and Cat: Radiographic Interpretations, Clinical Signs, Pathophysiology,” and published the monograph “O’Brien’s Radiology for the Ambulatory Equine Practitioner.” In 2008, the AAEP honored him with the Distinguished Educator (Academic) Award.

Dr. O’Brien’s wife, Janet; a son; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials toward the Charles Heumphreus Memorial Lecture, with the memo line of the check notated to IMO Tim O’Brien, may be sent to UC Regents, UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Advancement, P.O. Box 1167, Davis, CA 95617.

John W. Sagartz

Dr. Sagartz (Illinois ‘64), 80, Indian Trail, North Carolina, died July 20, 2021. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, he founded Veritas Laboratories in 1985 in Burlington, North Carolina, serving as head pathologist. Earlier in his career, Dr. Sagartz was in private practice in West Point, Iowa, and ranched and worked in Manhattan, Kansas. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of captain. During his military service, Dr. Sagartz received training in pathology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was posted in Bangkok, where he conducted research on rabies. He is survived by his wife, Christina; four sons and two daughters; 15 grandchildren; and his great-grandchildren. Two of his sons, Drs. Michael J. Sagartz (Kansas State ’88) and John E. Sagartz (Kansas State ’90), are also veterinarians. Memorials may be made to Carolina Border Collie Rescue, 1391 Kildaire Farm Road No. 1001, Cary, NC 27511.

O’Hara D. Tyler

Dr. Tyler (Oklahoma State ’70), 74, Wilburton, Oklahoma, died April 5, 2021. He owned a small animal practice in McAlester, Oklahoma, prior to retirement. Earlier in his career, Dr. Tyler practiced in southwest Arkansas and in California at Paradise and Anaheim. Dr. Tyler was a member of the Arkansas, California, and Oklahoma VMAs. His wife, Diane, and a son and four daughters survive him.