I was born and raised on a farm near Vienna in Maries county. Dad raised cattle, hogs, and some crops. During my junior year in high school my Mom suggested that I might consider a career in
Veterinary medicine. After much thought, I decided to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. I graduated high school in 1970 and entered the College of Agriculture at Mizzou to pursue a degree in animal husbandry. I was accepted to the College of Veterinary Medicine in the fall of 1972 and graduated in 1976. I was accepted into Phi Zeta during my senior year of vet school. While in vet school, my free time was spent at home mostly helping Dad on the farm and riding along with our local veterinarian, Dr. Max John. During my senior year, Dr. John asked me to come back home and be his partner. He made me a deal I couldn’t refuse and I started on June 1, 1976 in my home town. The practice consisted of 95% large animal and 5% small animal with a lot of hogs and cattle and a few horses and small ruminants. We worked out of an office that was connected to Dr. John’s home. We had a small sale barn in Vienna, also. In 1980, Dr. John decided he was ready to retire from the private aspect of the practice, so I bought and remodeled a building and started on my own January 1, 1981. Dr. John kept the sale barn and the pig tele-auction in Westphalia. In 1985, I took over the tele-auction and in September 1986, I took over the cattle at the sale barn in Vienna. Along the way, I had three associates who ultimately went their separate ways and have done very well for themselves. I’ve got a senior student in vet school that is planning to come back and help out. I’m still in the same location working 6 days a week. I was awarded life-time membership in the MVMA in2017.
In June 1977, I married Irene Snodgrass, a high school classmate. I finally convinced her she couldn’t find anyone better than me…………………………………she fell for it. We were blessed with 4 daughters along the way, Gabrielle in 1979 ( an MD), Erin in 1981 ( a banker), Rebecca in 1983 ( a lawyer), and Hannah in 1986 ( a homemaker and mother). Sadly, we lost Irene in 1998. I remarried in October 2008 to the second love of my life, Stephanie Behrens, who is the manager/reception at the office. We have 6 grandchildren and 2 soon-to-be step-granddaughters, ranging in age from 5 to 17. Free time is spent taking care of about 20 head of cows, a horse, 3 dogs, a cat, and gardening.
The people who influenced me the most were Dad, Mom, and Dr. John. They helped shape me and make me who I am today and I am forever grateful for their guidance throughout the years.
This is a great honor being bestowed upon me, and I will always feel like I didn’t earn of deserve it. But, I will accept it with great appreciation and humility. I have great respect for Dr. Popp and can’t begin to thank him enough for nominating me for this honor.
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