In Memory – September 14, 2023

Member status key:

AVMA member | AVMA honor roll member | Nonmember

Don D. Farst

Dr. Farst (Ohio State '65), 82, Medina, Texas, died July 25, 2023. From 2007 until retirement in 2015, he was a consultant and relief veterinarian. Dr. Farst began his career working in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He subsequently served as the veterinarian and mammals curator for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio. From 1970-74, Dr. Farst was the veterinarian and associate director at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. He then became managing director of the zoo, serving in that capacity until 2007.

Dr. Farst was active with the International Rhino Foundation, Association of Zoos & Aquariums, American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, American Animal Hospital Association, and the Pennsylvania, Kerrville Area, and Valley VMAs. He was also a member of the Brownsville Rotary Club.

Dr. Farst's wife, Jan; a son and two daughters; six grandchildren; and a brother survive him. Memorials may be made to the Gladys Porter Zoo, 500 E. Ringgold St., Brownsville, TX 78520; International Rhino Foundation, 201 Main St., Suite 2600, Fort Worth TX 76102; or Medina Volunteer Fire Department Inc., P.O. Box 1650 Medina, Texas 78055.

Joseph P. Henley

Dr. Henley (Ohio State '56), 91, Olmsted Falls, Ohio, died August 18, 2023. He was the founder of Animal Hospital Inc. in Willoughby Hills, Ohio, where he practiced until retirement in 2006. Dr. Henley also served 40 years as the veterinarian for the Western Reserve Kennel Club dog shows. He helped establish the former Animal Emergency Clinic North East in Mentor, Ohio, serving on its board of directors. Dr. Henley also served on the board of directors of the Lake Humane Society. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of the United States, 1255 23rd St. NW, Suite 450 Washington, DC 20037.

Robert W. Leech

Dr. Leech (Michigan State '51), 99, Jefferson City, Missouri, died August 1, 2023. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service prior to retirement in 1987. Earlier, Dr. Leech practiced in Aurora, Nebraska, and in Missouri at Warrensburg and Higginsville. A Navy veteran of World War II, he was a member of the American Legion.

Dr. Leech is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, six great great-grandchildren, and a brother. Memorials may be made to the American Legion, Donation Processing, P.O. Box 1954, Indianapolis, IN 46206.

Samia Z. Macon

Dr. Macon (California-Davis '94), 55, Auburn, California, died August 13, 2023. In 2004, she established a mobile large animal practice, serving California's Placer, Nevada, and Sacramento counties. Later, Dr. Macon also founded the Flying Mule Sheep Company. Earlier in her career, she worked at a large animal practice in Loomis, California.

Dr. Macon raised sheep and showed horses and mules. She volunteered as a horse and sheep group leader via the 4-H Club and served as president of the Placer High School FFA Ag Boosters. Dr. Macon was appointed to the board of directors of the 20th District Agricultural Association and served as the board's representative to the junior livestock association of the Gold Country Fair in Auburn.

She is survived by her husband, Dan; two daughters; and a sister. Memorials may be made to the Placer High School FFA Ag Boosters, Attn: Samia Macon Memorial Scholarship, 275 Orange St., Auburn, CA 95603.

Roger A. Murphy

Dr. Murphy (Pennsylvania '66), 82, Bend, Oregon, died August 21, 2023. Following graduation, he practiced two years in Hackettstown, New Jersey. Dr. Murphy subsequently served in the Army for two years. He later practiced in California at Santa Cruz and Los Gatos. In 1977, Dr. Murphy established Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital in Oakhurst, California, where he worked until 1997. His wife, Naomi; two sons; and three grandchildren survive him.

Robert O'Connor

Dr. O'Connor (Cornell '76), 72, Queensbury, New York, died June 8, 2023. Following graduation, he joined Glens Falls Animal Hospital in Glens Falls, New York, eventually taking ownership of the practice. Dr. O'Connor also co-founded Northway Animal Emergency Clinic in Gansevoort, New York. He was a member of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. Dr. O'Connor is survived by his wife, Doris; two sons and a daughter; eight grandchildren; and two brothers and a sister. Memorials, toward the Robert O'Connor Scholarship Fund, may be made to the School District Foundation of Glens Falls Inc., 7 Pershing Road, Queensbury, NY 12804.

Walter W. Zent

Dr. Zent (Cornell '63), 84, Lexington, Kentucky, died June 29, 2023. Following graduation, he worked in the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Kentucky. In 1966, Dr. Zent joined what is now known as the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. During his more than 50-year tenure, he served as a partner and helped expand the field of equine reproduction and improved mare management practices.

Active with the University of Kentucky's Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center, Dr. Zent chaired its foundation and played an important role in raising funds for remodeling the university's equine reproductive health facilities. An honorary diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, he was a past president of the Society for Theriogenology and a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. In 2013, the University of Kentucky's equine campus on its Maine Chance Farm was renamed the Dr. Walter W. Zent Mare Reproductive Health Facility.

Dr. Zent bred Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds and served on the committees for the Hagyard Bluegrass Equine Symposium and the International Symposium on Equine Reproduction. He is survived by his wife, June; a daughter and a son; five grandchildren; and a sister. Memorials, toward the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute Scholarship Endowment, may be made to The Foundation for the Horse, 4033 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511, or to the Society for Theriogenology Foundation, P.O. Box 168, Mathews, AL 36052.

A version of this story appears in the November 2023 and December 2023 print issues of JAVMA

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.