In Memoriam


By Mike Jernigan

Dr. James F. Aycock ’60 | James F. Aycock, 92, passed away June 23, 2020. He attended Tulane University and Auburn, also serving in the U.S. Marines before operating Aycock Veterinary Clinic in Hollywood, Florida, for more than 50 years. He was preceded in death by his brother, John. Survivors include two sons, four grand- children and one great-grandchild.

Dr. Andrew M. Bailey, Jr. ’60 | Andrew M. Bailey, 90, passed away Friday, October 30, 2020. Known to many as Sonny or Doc Bailey, he attended Mississippi State University before joining the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. While in service, he continued to further his education by taking classes at Colorado State University, then attending the University of Cambridge and Christ College while stationed in England. Upon completing his military service, he earned his DVM at Auburn, then joined his father in the family veterinary practice in Winona, Mississippi.

In 1975, he joined the Federal Government Veterinary Service and moved to Aliceville, Alabama, although he later moved back to Winona and the family practice, where he continued to see patients up until the day he was admitted to the hospital for the final time. A member of the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association, he is survived by his wife of 66 years, Nita; two children; four grand- children; and a brother.

Dr. William Burton “Doc” Brooks ’62 |William Burton “Doc” Brooks, 83, passed away July 8, 2020. He received both his under- graduate degree and DVM from Auburn and began his practice in Rome, Georgia, with a partner in 1962. Later, he founded Lakeview Animal Clinic in Rome, where he specialized in large animal medicine. He also provided veterinary services for Berry College, where he taught animal science classes. His career spanned more than 47 years prior to his retirement. He was a member of the Floyd County Cattlemen’s Association and was awarded its Cattleman of the Year Award. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Ann. Survivors include his second wife, Susan; three children; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and three sisters.

Dr. Debra Ann Darche ’79 | Debra Ann Darche, 66, passed away September 15, 2020. She was a practicing veterinarian for more than 40 years, working at several racetracks in Florida, New Jersey and Birmingham, Alabama. For the past 20 years she owned and operated Leeds Pet Clinic in Leeds, Alabama. She was a member of Cahaba Valley Kennel Club, Black Warrior Retriever Club of Alabama, and the Labrador Retriever Club of Atlanta, as well as the Alabama VMA. Her kennel, Sundance Labrador Retrievers, produced multiple hunt test titles and conformation champions.

Dr. Claude Maurice “Sammy” Duplechian ’75 | Claude Maurice “Sammy” Duplechian, 83, passed away October 18, 2020. A U.S. Army veteran, he graduated from Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later worked as a biology teacher, lab tech and pharmaceutical rep before earning his DVM at Auburn. After graduation, he established Duplechian Animal Hospital in Jennings, Louisiana, where he practiced until 1988. After his retirement from private practice, he worked for several years as a dietary consultant for Hill’s Science Diet Pet Food, and with Calcasieu Parish Animal Control. Sammy was preceded in death by two brothers. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Marguerite; four children; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a step-grandson; four step-grandchildren; and his “four-legged son, Bubba.”

Dr. James C. Foley ’77 | James C. Foley, 72, passed away on August 20, 2020. He attended Florida State University before earning his DVM at Auburn. After graduation, he practiced at the Animal Medical Care Center in Yorktown, Virginia, where he worked for more than 25 years. Later in his career, he became a relief veteri- narian working at clinics throughout Virginia, including Mercury Animal Hospital in Hampton, Virginia. Survivors include his wife, Sandra; and one daughter.

Dr. Michael Wesley Grimes ’88 | Michael Wesley Grimes, 60, passed away on October 19, 2020. He attended the University of Kentucky, then followed in the footsteps of his father, George W. Grimes ’59, and earned his DVM at Auburn. He later joined his father in practice at the Grimes and Wood Animal Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky. He was preceded in death by his father, George; and one brother. Survivors include his mother, Shirley; and two brothers.

Dr. William C. “Dub” Jeter ’67 | William C. “Dub” Jeter, 79, passed away on September 2, 2020. He attended the University of Florida before coming to Auburn to earn his DVM. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, working with military sentry dogs. He later practiced large and small animal veterinary medicine in Dade City, Florida, before retiring in 1984. He then moved to Tallahassee, Florida, and began working for the State of Florida Department of Agriculture in the Division of Animal Industry until his retirement in 2013. In 2015, he moved to Columbiana, Alabama. He was preceded in death by a sister, Frances. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Nancy; five children; 13 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a brother.

Dr. Ronald Bradley “Brad” Johnson ’03 | Ronald Bradley “Brad” Johnson, 44, passed away July 20, 2020. He earned both his under- graduate degree and DVM at Auburn before returning home to Bonifay, Florida, and opening Dixieland Veterinary Services. Survivors include his parents; wife, Jennifer; two children; a step-son; a step-daughter; a brother; and one sister.

Dr. Ben Johnson Lifsey ‘57 | Ben Johnson Lifsey, 90, passed away on September 11, 2020. He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara; and one brother. Survivors include two children, six grand- children, and four great-grandchildren.

Dr. Gerald Henry Lowry ’64 | Gerald Henry Lowry, 83, passed away on September 5, 2020. He attended the University of Kentucky before earning his DVM from Auburn, then served in private practice for 50 years. Survivors include his wife of 43 years, Judy; five children; eleven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

Dr. Johnny Lee “Doc” Malone ’67 | Johnny Lee “Doc” Malone, 79, passed away June 2, 2020. He earned both his undergraduate and DVM at Auburn while also serving in the Alabama Army National Guard for five years. After graduation, he established McMinnville Animal Clinic in McMinnville, Tennessee, where his career spanned 50 years. He was preceded in death by a brother, Jack. Survivors include three sisters.

Dr. Walter Horace Marsch ’79 | Walter Horace Marsch, 65, passed away July 19, 2020. He attended Western Kentucky University before earning his DVM at Auburn. After graduation, he practiced in Henderson, Kentucky, and Sullivan, Illinois, before opening East Side Animal Hospital in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1982. He served as a member of the board for the Green River District Health Department. He was preceded in death by three brothers and two sisters. Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Brenda; two sons; one grandson; two sisters; and a brother.

Dr. Jessica Claire Lee Massengale ’14 | Jessica Claire Massengale, 34, passed away July 9, 2020. She graduated from Midway College before earning her Auburn DVM. Following her graduation, she practiced at Haiku Veterinary Clinic in Kaneohe, Hawaii. She loved all things pertaining to horses and rode on eques- trian teams for both Virginia Episcopal School and Midway College. Survivors include her parents, a sister and two grandparents.

Dr. Freddie R. Merritt ’68 | Freddie R. Merritt, 77, passed away on September 21, 2020. He attended the University of South Florida, the University of Florida, and finally, Auburn, where he graduated valedictorian of his class. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he moved to Miami, Florida, where he entered private practice in 1970. In 1981, he relocated to Eustis, Florida, and opened Merritt Animal Clinic, which he operated for the next 25 years. In 2007, Freddie made an attempt at retirement, but when his son, Gregory, opened his own veterinary clinic in Mount Dora, Florida, in 2014, Freddie could often be found there performing surgery. He was preceded in death by three brothers. Survivors include his wife, Kitty; two sons; three grandchildren; and three brothers.

Dr. Roy Dalton Mertz ’87 | Roy Dalton Mertz, 58, passed away Friday, July 10, 2020. He attended the University of Kentucky prior to earning his DVM at Auburn. He owned and operated the Owen County Animal Clinic in Owenton, Kentucky, for more than 32 years. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah. Survivors include a son and a sister.

Dr. Joey Minter ’99 | Joey Minter, 48, passed away August 6, 2020. Following his graduation, he was owner and operator of Minter Veterinary Services of Beattyville, Kentucky, for more than 20 years. He was also a member of the Owsley County School Board. He is preceded in death by one brother. Survivors include his wife, Shana; two sons; his parents; and one brother.

Dr. Elgie Edward Nissen ’53 | Elgie Edward Nissen, 93, passed away on July 6, 2020. The youngest of nine children, he served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, then attended the University of South Carolina, Clemson and Auburn. Upon graduation, he moved to Bennettsville, South Carolina, where he practiced veterinary medicine for two years before moving to Marion, South Carolina, where he bought and operated the Marion Animal Hospital for the next 56 years. He served a term as president of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians and on the State Board of Veterinary Examiners for 11 years, including two years as chairman. He also received the Veterinarian of the Year Award from the SCAV in 1986 and in 2007 was honored with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, he was a member of the AVMA, the Pee Dee Veterinary Association and the American Animal Hospital Association. He was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Olive, and is survived by three children and four grandsons.

Dr. Robert E. Okin, Jr. ’73 | Robert E. Okin, Jr., 71, passed away on October 25, 2020. He established the Valleydale Animal Clinic in 1976, where he practiced until 2009. He was board certified in small animal medicine. He later practiced at the All Creatures Pet Hospital in Gardendale, Alabama, and the Forestdale Veterinary Clinic in Forestdale, Alabama. He was preceded in death by a sister and is survived by two children, three grandchildren and a sister.

Dr. David Deberry O’Neal, Jr. ’72 | David Deberry O’Neal Jr., 77, passed away October 23, 2020. He was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. He was preceded in death by his brother, Dudley. Survivors include his wife, Sandra; two children; and one grandchild.

Dr. Tiffany Peterson ’14 | Tiffany Peterson passed away August 17, 2020. She attended Yale University prior to earning her DVM at Auburn, then completed an anatomic pathology residency at Louisiana State University. She was in the process of completing her doctorate at the Tulane University National Primate Research Center, where she had taken a lecturer position.

Dr. Phillip Maurice Scotton ’81 | Phillip Maurice Scotton, 67, passed away on June 10, 2020. He attended North Carolina State University before earning his DVM at Auburn. After graduation, he moved back to Ramseur, North Carolina, in 1981 and practiced in Eastern Randolph County for the next 39 years. He was preceded in death by two brothers. Survivors include his wife, Judy; three children; two sisters; five brothers; and four grandchildren.

Dr. Stephen Turner Simpson, Sr. ’71 | Stephen Turner Simpson, 73, passed away August 28, 2020. After his graduation from Auburn, he earned a Master of Science degree from Purdue University
in 1977, where he completed a residency in neurology and neurosurgery. He then returned to Auburn, where he served on the veterinary faculty for 27 years. Upon his retirement in 2007, he was named associate professor emeritus in the Department of Clinical Sciences. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lyndal; and one brother. Survivors include a son, a daughter, and four grandchildren.

Dr. James W. Smith, Jr. ’65 | James W. Smith, Jr., 86, passed away on Sept. 11, 2020. He served in the U.S. Marines and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal before graduating from Auburn. He also served in the Marine Reserves for over 20 years. During his more than 40 years practicing veterinary medicine in St. Petersburg, Florida, he established Central Animal Hospitals west and east before continuing to practice part-time for 13 years at Park Animal Hospital. During that same period, he was a lieutenant for the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary. He was preceded in death by his sons, James, III, and Jeremiah. Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Barbara; four daughters; and eight grandchildren.

Dr. Robert Eugene “Bob” Stanley, Sr. ’62 | Robert Eugene “Bob” Stanley, 84, passed away on October 23, 2020. He was a graduate of Mississippi State University and Auburn. After gradu- ation, he practiced large animal medicine in Brownsville, Mississippi, before moving to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971, where he became a partner in a private practice. After his retirement, he spent a year in Turkey, where he taught 7th- through 12th-grade science and P.E. classes at the N.I.C.S. Oasis School in Ankara. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sondra; five children; 23 grandchildren; and 41 great-grandchildren.

Dr. James M. Ward ’64 | James M. Ward, 85, passed away on September 3, 2020. He served in the U.S. Army before graduating from Auburn and practicing veterinary medicine in Opp, Alabama, for five years. He later moved to Saraland, Alabama, where he opened the first veterinary clinic and practiced for 42 years. Dr. Ward was a member of the Mobile VMA and Alabama VMA. He was preceded in death by his brother, Herschel. Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Elke; six children; a step-son; nine grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister.

Dr. Leslie Ray Wilkinson ’59 | Leslie Ray Wilkinson, 90, passed away June 14, 2020. He served in the U.S. Navy before receiving both his undergraduate degree and DVM from Auburn. Following graduation, he and his wife lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, where he founded and practiced at Tupelo Veterinary Clinic for 61 years. He retired at age 67 but never stopped working, continuing to practice for 20 more years. Survivors include his wife, Ruth; four children; 10 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.


Dr. Clyde Edwin Taylor ’60

Clyde Edwin Taylor, 85, passed away on October 24, 2020. A graduate of Mississippi State, Auburn and the Tulane School of Public Health, his career included private practice, working for the USDA, being a charter faculty member of the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and serving in the Mississippi Air National Guard. He was a member of the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association’s Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame, and is a past recipient of the National Extension Veterinarian of the Year and the Mississippi Veterinarian of the Year awards. He is survived by three children, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and a sister.

Dr. Clyde Taylor maintained dual loyalty to the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University and Mississippi State University. After graduating from veterinary school at Auburn in 1960, he returned to his home state of Mississippi, where he practiced and worked for the USDA. Through his active participation in the Mississippi Veterinary Medical Association and the Mississippi Cattlemen’s Association, he was uniquely positioned to support the initiative to establish the new College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State in 1974. He was a charter faculty member and served as the college’s extension veterinarian for many years. All the while, Dr. Taylor maintained a close association with Auburn through membership in the Centennial Club and regular attendance at Annual Conference. Dr. Taylor is a perfect example of a veterinary leader trained at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine who contributed substantially to the development of academic veterinary medicine in a neighboring state. We are very proud of Dr. Taylor’s connection with Auburn and his exceptional career in the state of Mississippi.

Return to home