Leo Zehrer, 87Dr. Leo Anthony Zehrer, 87, of Brooten, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, surrounded by his family.
Dr. Leo Anthony Zehrer, 87, of Brooten, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, surrounded by his family.
Leo, known as “Doc” or “Tony,” was born June 13, 1924, on the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, in Sauk Centre to Leo Zehrer and Johanna (Jennissen) Zehrer. After spending his childhood on a farm near Sauk Centre, he was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force, where he served two years as a corporal. He then attended the University of Minnesota Veterinary School on the GI bill where he received the leadership award by the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
He was also president of the university student chapter of the AVMA and was a member of the executive board of the same club two years previous. He received his degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1951 and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1953. He was proud to be part of the third graduating class of the newly formed College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul.
On September 20, 1952 he married the love of his life and best friend, Mary Violet Bush, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Weyerhaeuser, Wisconsin. This fall Tony and Vi would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
In November of 1953, he joined Dr. W.T. Williams in veterinary practice in Brooten. In addition to serving the local and surrounding area as a large animal veterinarian, in the fall of 1957 he formed the Brooten Feed Service. In 1961, he purchased the practice when Dr. Williams retired. He grew the practice until the fall of 1974 when he became a veterinarian for the Minnesota State Board of Animal Health. He worked for the state for another 19 years, covering seven counties from Stearns to Renville and all the way to the South Dakota border.
Tony was a faithful member of the St. Donatus Parish. He was a member of the Brooten Volunteer Fire Department for 19 years. He belonged to the American Legion, Commercial Club, served on the Brooten School Board for eight years, sitting as chairman for many of those years, and enjoyed spending time as advisor to local 4H and FFA clubs.
Doc was committed to caring for the area’s farming community. To him his job was a 24-hour job; he was always on call whether traveling to farms or attending to small animals into the early morning hours. Throughout his life he pursued his passion for horses, showing and racing until his knees would no longer cooperate.
He loved his farm, his pond, and his vintage tractor. Leo loved his family and always showed it.
He is survived by his wife, Vi, of Brooten; daughters, Mary (Eric Lange) of Bainbridge Island, WA, Linda (Kevin DeRoo) of Maple Grove, Karen of Seattle, WA, Michele (Peter Burtness) of Westfield, NJ, Amy (Mike Landolt) of Columbus, OH, Tonia (Beklan Oztoprak) of Dusseldorf, Germany; and grandchildren, Kyle DeRoo (Magda), Sarah DeRoo, Anton Burtness and Lily Burtness; his sister, Magdalene Hovanec of Grand Rapids; brother, Kenneth Zehrer of Sauk Centre; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; infant son, Daniel; brothers, Conrad, Joseph, Alphonse and Wilfred; and sister, Josephine.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Minnesota Veterinary Historical Museum, St. Donatus Catholic Church or the Community Foundation of Brooten.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday, March 31 at St. Donatus Catholic Church in Brooten. Interment was at St. Donatus Catholic Cemetery in rural Brooten.
To send condolences to the family, visit www.hoplinhitchcockfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are with Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Brooten.
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