Glenn Dale Strauser was born the second son of devout Baptist parents, Charles and Ethel Strauser, on a large farm in Washington County, Missouri, June 11, 1934. At two he lost his six-year-old brother in a tragic farm accident. At five he had diphtheria, and arrived blue from lack of oxygen at Barnes Hospital, where he received a lifesaving tracheotomy. Lifelong he remembered the “mean ol’” nurses who would not let him get his Tinker toy from under the radiator.
At five he started school at the one room Cyclone school, riding horseback or buggy with his mother, the teacher. His animal interests started young with the rabbits he grew and hauled miles on his bicycle handlebars. He also purchased and tended chickens and pigs.
Glenn boarded in Sullivan for high school. After graduation he enrolled in animal husbandry at University of Missouri – Columbia (MU). Later he quit and enlisted in U.S. Army artillery. He joined Airborne as he “would rather jump out of the planes than ride in them.” After the Korean war and his enlistment ended, he returned to Sullivan to work at McDonnell Douglas. Later he went to Banning California to work for a contractor. He enjoyed building the Hopalong Cassidy motel in Palm Springs.
In the Fall of 1958, Glenn returned to Missouri and enrolled in University of Missouri College of Agriculture again. He often met the late Allen Fray, then a veterinary medical student and future father of Dr. Scott Fray, who influenced Glenn to consider attending the College of Veterinary Medicine at MU.
When Glenn attended MU he was introduced to a transfer student, Phyllis Nebling at her house initiation. This initiation included hopping on a pogo stick for 45 minutes in front of a movie theater showing Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.
In June of 1960, Glenn and Phyllis both received their B.S. degrees, then married June 18 that year. Glenn had learned he was one of 30 students accepted into the College of Veterinary Medicine at MU. Phyllis went to work at the University Hospital. Glenn took a job on Perry Phillip’s farm and later worked at catered banquets and football concessions. In his junior year, he purchased a truck, and with another student began helping veterinarians with the Federal Brucellosis Eradication Program. The following summer, 1963, Glenn was employed by an Iowa veterinarian to continue with the brucellosis program. He, Phyllis and the family moved to Bonapart, Iowa for this position. He also attended the Centennial American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Convention In New York in July.
The following year Glenn and classmate Donn Blevins went to other states researching employment. In one state they witnessed the young veterinarians continually hoisting many huge hogs to repair ruptures, while the older veterinarians “supervised” in their white dress suits with cigar and drink in hand. They made a quick retreat homeward, and that road brought them through Rolla, Missouri. They noticed there were many cattle, horses, pigs and dogs as well as established churches, a hospital and a university there. Further research of Rolla proved it to be a favorable location.
June 1964 was celebrated as Glenn received his DVM degree from MU. The Strausers and Blevins headed to Rolla to set up the Phelps County Veterinary Clinic. Here they encountered clients with the perception that having the livestock “up” meant they were in a 5-20 acre lots, where often there were no pens or facilities, and they were made of wood if they existed. Clients thought the new vets should be expert ropers, even without a horse. It was common to find large animals being treated with kerosene, whiskey, raw eggs, blackberry juice and charcoal. Glenn freely gave advice to convince clients to try new, better substitutes such as electrolytes and probiotics, which were available for animal use decades before human use. He was an early advocate of good pasture use over feeding poor hay.
Glenn’s partner, the late Donn Blevins, DVM left for a research job with Upjohn Labs in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Glenn sold their original clinic, a converted house on Highway 72, and purchased a larger brick building on Highway 63 South. This building also included space to lease to a local insurance agency, which helped reduce overhead costs. Joe Burden, DVM, joined Glenn temporarily, and then the late Royal Ranney, DVM came to Phelps County Veterinary Clinic in 1966. After several years, Glenn focused primarily on large animals and sold his half of the business to Dr. Ranney. He began working out of his truck with the assistance of one of the first Motorola mobile phones available. He worked his own cattle herds, sale barns, private sales and farms, and focused on herd health. There were not many breeds he did not experiment with. He also was the attending vet at the August Cross Country Trail Ride in Eminence, Missouri for many years. He was awarded a 50-year attendance buckle at the Cross Country Trail Ride.
There were several professional associations Glenn maintained memberships in throughout many years, including the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP), the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the East Central Veterinary Medical Association, onor roll member of American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and he was a lifetime member of the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA).
Just as Allen Fray introduced him to veterinary medicine, he introduced many young people to it.
He shared information with the youth of FFA and 4-H groups. He attended many of the youth livestock sales at local fairs where he completed free health certificates as well as bid on and purchase their animals. Youth not in 4-H or FFA rode with him for experience and found him positive and upbeat. Some of these youth are now practicing large animal veterinarians. Currently two more youth have enrolled in pre-veterinary classes. Earlier he gave them free access to Bud Williams family low stress cattle handling sessions to produce less cattle fear and resistance and better worker and cattle safety. One student is now working with a large animal veterinarian.
Glenn’s favorite saying was “Every day is a good day.” His most important advice to the young people was “Remember to smile.” This was essential in his student days when veterinarians and students were trying to convince belligerent cattlemen of the need to brucellosis test their cattle per federal law and public health.
On December 19, 2017, Glenn passed away at 83 years of age. His service was at the Eaton Funeral Home in Sullivan Missouri on December 26. He was buried with full military honors with his family at Reedville Cemetery.
Glenn’s wife of 58 years, Phyllis, and four children, Matthew, Lisa, Russell, and Amy sincerely thank Dr. Gregory Popp, DVM, for nominating Dr. Glenn Strauser, DVM, to this prestigious award.
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