In Memory – Dec. 22, 2022

AVMA member

AVMA honor roll member


Eli C. Dodson

Dr. Dodson (Texas A&M ’03), 45, Stephenville, Texas, died Oct. 11, 2022. Following graduation, he joined North Bryan Veterinary Clinic in Bryan, Texas, owning the practice from 2006-16. Dr. Dodson subsequently worked three years in the Bryan, College Station, and Hempstead areas of Texas. In 2019, he began practicing mixed animal medicine at Ark Veterinary Clinic in Stephenville. Dr. Dodson’s wife, Cyndy; two daughters and a son; a grandchild; his parents; and a sister survive him.

H. Rodney Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson (Ohio State ’67), 78, Rittman, Ohio, died Sept. 20, 2022. He was a co-founder of Akron Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Akron, Ohio. Dr. Ferguson also owned Chippewa Valley Angus Farms. Earlier in his career, he taught at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, also serving as head of small animal surgery at Kansas State. In 1984, while at Kansas State, Dr. Ferguson received what is now known as the Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award. He retired in 2019.

Dr. Ferguson was a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. He was a member of the American Angus Association, Ohio Angus Association, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In 2014, the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association named Chippewa Valley Angus Farm as the Ohio Seed Stock Producer of the Year.

Dr. Ferguson is survived by his wife, Laurie; two sons and a daughter; eight grandchildren; and three sisters and a brother. Memorials may be made to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, 19785 Crystal Rock Drive, Suite 305, Germantown, MD 20874, or Youth Scholarship Fund, Ohio Angus Association, c/o Dan Wells, 12620 Westfall Road, Frankfort, OH 45628.

Roger W. Finkenbine

Dr. Finkenbine (Ohio State ’74), 75, Tucson, Arizona, died Sept. 20, 2022. Following graduation and until 2003, he owned Feline Ltd. Cat Clinic in Tucson. Dr. Finkenbine later worked at what is now known as ABC Animal Clinic in Tucson, where he provided vaccination services for more than 12 years. He is survived by his wife, Sharon, and two sisters and a brother. Memorials toward the memorial garden at Mount Zion Lutheran Church may be sent to 4520 W. Ajo Way, Tucson, AZ 85746.

William J. Henderson

Dr. Henderson (Colorado State ’69), 82, Rancho Santa Fe, California, died Nov. 22, 2022. From 1980-2020, he owned Parkway Pet Clinic in Escondido, California. Prior to that, Dr. Henderson worked at Crenshaw Animal Hospital in Los Angeles. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam War.

Dr. Henderson’s wife, Judith; two daughters and a son; five grandchildren; and two sisters and a brother survive him. One daughter, Dr. Tya Henderson (Prince Edward ’03), is also a veterinarian. Memorials may be made to the Guide Dogs of America–Tender Loving Canines, 13445 Glenoaks Blvd., Sylmar, CA 91342.

Thomas D. Kuhn

Dr. Kuhn (Purdue ’66), 80, Shelbyville, Indiana, died Sept. 30, 2022. Following graduation, he began his career in Waldron, Indiana. In 1972, Dr. Kuhn established a mixed animal practice in Shelbyville. Beginning in 1984, he focused on bovine embryo transfers and in vitro fertilization. Dr. Kuhn was a member of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and an honorary member of the Indiana Holstein Association. His wife, Marcia; three children; five grandchildren; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to the Shelby County Cancer Association, P.O. Box 844, Shelbyville, IN 46176.

John T. LaCroix

Dr. LaCroix (Texas A&M ’58), 88, Biloxi, Mississippi, died Oct. 5, 2022. He owned Big Ridge Veterinary Hospital in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, for 20 years prior to retirement in 1998. Earlier, Dr. LaCroix served in the Air Force for two decades. During that time, while stationed in Ethiopia, he studied tropical diseases in animals and their potential to be contagious to humans. Dr. LaCroix was also stationed in England and at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. He attained the rank of major.

Dr. LaCroix was a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. He is survived by his wife, Ester; two sons and two daughters; and five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, 10446 Lemoyne Blvd., D'Iberville, MS 39540.

Glen F. Lehr

Dr. Lehr (Illinois ’63), 87, Harvard, Illinois, died Aug. 1, 2022. A large animal veterinarian, he owned a practice in Harvard. Dr. Lehr was an Army veteran of the Korean War. His wife, Virgie; a son and a daughter; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren survive him.

William H. Maher

Dr. Maher (Iowa State ’62), 86, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, died Sept. 21, 2022. Following graduation, he completed an internship at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Maher later co-owned Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital and owned Camden Pet Hospital in Minneapolis.

During his career, he received several awards, including a Minnesota VMA Distinguished Service Award and Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Stange Award. Dr. Maher traveled on several missionary trips to Cuba and was awarded an honorary veterinary degree from Cuba and was honored by the former Association Scientific Veterinary Council of Cuba for his service to Cuban veterinarians.

A veteran of the Army, he was a member of the American Legion. Dr. Maher was also a member of the Lions Club. He is survived by his wife, Jacquelyn; two daughters and three sons; two grandchildren; and two sisters. Memorials may be made to Second Harvest Heartland, a hunger relief agency, and sent to 7101 Winnetka Ave. N., Brooklyn Park, MN 55428.

Jack A. Meister

Dr. Meister (Michigan State ’57), 91, Hampton, Connecticut, died Nov. 2, 2022. He was the Connecticut state veterinarian and an epidemiologist prior to retirement in 1997. Following graduation, Dr. Meister owned a practice in Meriden, Connecticut, before moving in 1971 to Hampton, where he established another clinic. In 1987, he sold the practice and served as the veterinarian for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. Dr. Meister subsequently worked as a livestock superintendent at the University of Connecticut before serving as state veterinarian.

His wife, Dawn; two sons; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren survive him.

Michael E. Metroka

Dr. Metroka (Ohio State ’85), 63, Sandusky, Ohio, died Oct. 20, 2022. He owned Metroka Animal Hospital in Sandusky for more than 35 years. Dr. Metroka also served as vice president of the board of trustees for the Humane Society of Erie County. His wife, Ying Wang; two daughters and a son; and four grandchildren survive him. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Erie County, 1911 Superior St., Sandusky, OH 44870.

Robert D. Simmons

Dr. Simmons (Louisiana State ’77), 70, Simpsonville, South Carolina, died Sept. 5, 2022. Following graduation, he practiced mixed animal medicine at Bossier Animal Hospital in Bossier City, Louisiana, for two years. Dr. Simmons then began his career in industrial veterinary medicine at what was known as Beecham Pharmaceuticals in Bristol, Tennessee. In 1989, he joined what is now known as Merck in New Jersey, retiring in 2014 as vice president of global pharmaceutical development.

Dr. Simmons was a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and American Association of Bovine Practitioners and a fellow of the American Academy of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. He established The Belle Fund for Vector-Borne Disease Research and the Dr. Robert and Julia Simmons Professorship in Pathobiological Sciences, both at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. In 2007, the veterinary college honored Dr. Simmons with a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dr. Simmons served as a scoutmaster and volunteered with the American Red Cross. His wife, Julia; two sons; five grandchildren; and a sister survive him. Memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Please report the death of a veterinarian promptly to the AVMA 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, AVMA News must be notified within six months of the date of death.

A version of this article appears in the February and March 2023 print issues of JAVMA.