The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

A Century of Extension in the Klamath Basin

July 2015 - March 2016 – 10:00a.m.

Video: Remembering Guy Reynolds . July 14, 2015

Location: Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center, Klamath Falls, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Chris Petersen

1:00:36 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Chris Petersen: Okay, today is July 24th, 2015, and we are in Klamath Falls, Oregon at the Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center. We are sitting down with two folks today, Linda Weider and Senator Doug Whitsett. We'll be talking about the life of Linda's father Guy Reynolds, who was an extension veterinarian for many years, based in Corvallis, and we'll also be talking about the practice of veterinary medicine on a larger scope. In addition to being a state senator, Doug Whitsett is a doctor of veterinary medicine and the former president of the Klamath Animal Clinic here in Klamath Falls. He'll be able to provide us with some context on Guy Reynolds and also on Vet Med at OSU and Vet Med within the context of the OSU Statewide Extension.

Speaking about Guy, we'll begin at the beginning. Any stories you have or context that you can provide about these different kind of stages in his life would be good to try to capture. He was born in 1920 in Prairie, Idaho. Do you have any stories from his childhood at all? He had six siblings. Did he grow up on a farm?

Linda Weider: He grew up on a farm and he—I have been to Prairie, Idaho; there's not much at Prairie, Idaho—so he primarily grew up in Emmett, Idaho, which is about fifty miles from Prairie. And, just of local interest, Dick Howard here in town was his cousin, and they were raised on adjacent farms. So he grew up basically in Emmett, and was in World War II and—

CP: Do you know anything about his parents?

LW: His parents were farmers and then had a feed store. Dad was in World War II; he was run out of Java by the Japanese and had to go into Australia. He was involved in the Battle of the Red Coral Sea, had a silver star, came home and—in Florida, where I was born—helped train troops that went to Europe.

CP: It sounds like before he went into the war he did a couple years at University of Idaho.

LW: Yeah, he did. He flunked out.

CP: Do you know what he was studying at this time? Was it—

LW: I don't know what he was studying, I do know that after the war he was working as a mechanic in Riggins, Idaho, and the gentleman he was working for said, "You need to go back to school." That's what drove him back to school. And he went to Moscow and then over to Pullman.

CP: Do you know, did he meet your mother, Karen—

LW: They were raised together in Emmett.

CP: Okay.

LW: They met there and married in 1940.

CP: Okay, so they knew each other from childhood then. Do you know much about her background?

LW: She was raised in Idaho in Emmett and came from Danish parents. They had emigrated from Denmark. And I do know that she went to school at Oregon State as an adult. She—when one of my sisters was in a class, she was in a class with her.

CP: Oh, really?

LW: She was always very much interested in higher education.

CP: Your father served in World War II. My notes say he had more than one hundred air operation hours. Did he talk much about his war experience?

LW: He would on occasion, but not a lot.

CP: Anything noteworthy that you recall?

LW: Well, he was a belly gunner at the—I don't know what the number was—but he was in a dogfight and his adrenaline was running so high he pulled the gun out of the riveting, and so that's one story that I remember him telling. And he had stories of camping in Australia at the bivouac in a park in Melbourne, Australia where—and then I have a sister that wound up being a superintendent of schools for thirty years in Melbourne and lived just a few blocks from that park. So, things seem to go around in circles in life.

CP: So, he returned—well, he finished up his service in 1945, and he returned to University of Idaho at that point. Is that when he flunked out?

LW: No, he flunked out the first time. He was serious, he worked three part-time jobs and I think even pulled straight A's, and by the time he got out of college he had four kids.

CP: You were born during this time period, it sounds like.

LW: I was born in Florida before they left the service.

CP: So he went from U of I to Washington State, and it sounds like that's where he received his degrees.

LW: Correct.

CP: Do you know much about this time period?


LW: I think he was just working really hard. I can remember we lived in a really old house where the icicles almost hit the ground in the winter time when it—it was the really hard snows of '48 and '49, and Mom was pregnant and the outhouse was up the hill. He had to put a rope up in order for her to make it to the outhouse, and it got caught in the flooding that occurred when all those snows melted. We were on the way home to the Emmett area for Christmas and all the cars got stranded. We had to load in a bus and stay with people we didn't even know when it was flooding. That's kind of about all I remember as a kid.

CP: So, you spent at least a little bit of time in a house that had an outhouse.

LW: We sure did and had an icebox for a refrigerator.

Doug Whitsett: You know Pullman, Washington is a special kind of cold in the wintertime.

LW: It can get really cold.

DW: You have the wet and windy, and there's no—you know, you're just out in the wheat field; it just blows in cold, and ah...

LW: And when those Chinook winds come through, they can really melt the snow fast. Well, that's when I think they had the Vanport flood, and, as a consequence, put all those dams on the Snake River.

CP: So, he received an undergraduate degree and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine during this four-year time period at Washington State. Do you know at what point he decided he wanted to be a veterinarian? Did he ever talk about that, kind of the roots of this interest?

LW: I asked him one time why he selected vet medicine, and he indicated that animals tell you exactly what the problem is. They don't get into the mental problems that people do [laughs], which I always found interesting. I once asked him, many years later, if he would do it over again, and he said he didn't—he wasn't sure; he might have gone into engineering instead. A very practical person, he had been raised in the Great Depression and very much believed in large animal practice and was concerned with the direction that vet medicine was going, as far as so many of the vets coming out, and particularly the women that are in it—now, understandably, why they go into small animal practice—but he really felt there was a need for large animal practice, practitioners.

CP: How would you kind of describe his personality?

LW: He had a great sense of humor; he was a very good speaker. I had watched him speak to a group of Ag men, people in the Willamette Valley one time, and he had, he was all prepared to talk about some research that was going on at the university. That was not the interest of the people in the crowd; they were more interested in foot rot with their animals, and he just swung right into addressing what their needs were, and I always appreciated his flexibility to address what the needs of the practitioner in the field was, or the Ag people.

DW: Yeah, one of the great things about Guy was his ability to talk veterinary medicine in local language and still not talk down to someone, and that's exactly what, you know, I think was one of his strongest attributes. You know, when you get out of veterinary medicine you have this wonderful vocabulary, and you can go to somebody's ranch and you can tell them all these wonderful things, and they have no idea what you're saying. And he had the ability to convey that to people, convey what he wanted, to people in the language that they understood. And, I don't mean that in any demeaning way. But, if you haven't been studying veterinary medicine for four years, you don't know the language, and he was able to cross over, and that's what made him a great teacher, and that's what Extension's really about.

CP: Yeah.

LW: One other thing I do remember about Dad: he practiced, while I was growing up, for about seventeen years in Caldwell, Idaho, and after I was married and my husband and I went to visit, my husband went out on call with Dad, and Kraig couldn't believe what Dad was doing; he was roping calves out in the corrals and he was wrestling with these animals, whereas Kraig, when he was managing a farm, had everything stationary so they wouldn't have to be roped, and he says "I can't believe the physical effort that he had to put in order to just get the animals."

CP: So he must have kept himself in good shape.

LW: He was in good shape. And at that time, the vets—he had a vehicle that was loaded with all kinds of needs for his practice and he went out. I don't know how much of that is done anymore. So many of the animals at this point are brought into the clinic. So, I think that was a time of transition that occurred. I know in his clinic they did put in large animal facilities so animals could be brought in, but they still went out on call a lot.


And he was also he was very public-involved. He was head of the school board in Caldwell, and I can remember many times he'd be out late at night or up early in the morning still answering people's calls in regard to school issues. He was very balanced in that commitment. As well, he played a lot of golf and helped develop an 18-hole golf course that brought the Ag people and the local town people together to build the golf course. So, he had a lot of interests.

DW: I think that practical experience was just invaluable also, in that so many people in academic now, in academia, really don't have that experience. And, once you have lived that experience of—you're at the end of the road, and you really don't have what you need, but you're not, you can't drive fifteen miles back to town to get it, so you take care of it. And that practicality was another thing he was able to convey, not only to veterinarians but to ranchers and farmers and so forth. It was, you know, you could get 'er done one way or another. This is the best way, but if you don't have this then you could do it this way. And, obviously, he had been there and done that.

CP: Hmmm. Let's talk a bit about the private practice that you mentioned; seventeen years in Caldwell, and this is where you grew up, so I gather you spent a lot of time around your father's business?

LW: I did; we did. He used us a fair amount. It's kind of amazing; we helped birth piglets, because our hands were smaller and we could help out that way; we went on call a lot with him. I remember one night he had a tough time delivering a calf, and it was about two in the morning, and it was so neat when that calf survived and the cow survived. I mean it's just that birthing process that's pretty, that's just very neat. And he had a good practice.

One of the interesting things was he had the vet clinic—in partnership with two other men who were brothers—and then one of this best friends was a Dr. Reynolds in town, who happened to be our—who was a physician, and he also happened to be the family physician, and they would get their calls mixed up. And they used to have fun with that. But they always were—it was appropriate—but then it was kind of fun.

CP: It sounds like he was pretty much always on call.

LW: He was on call all—well, they rotated between the three of them, but he was on call a lot. I remember the hours he put in with work were extensive.

CP: So, what are the sorts—give us a sense of what he might be doing day in and day out. We've heard about birthing animals; what other sorts of things was he involved with?

LW: Well, he—one of his comments was that he couldn't believe how strong cats were. He said cats that get caught up in combines out in the fields, they'd be just torn up, and he said you could put them back together. And, I can't remember, there was one time about a big, expensive bull that, I don't know if it bloated or what, but he went to release the gas in the animal, and it just died in front of him, you know. And he'd have these experiences to kind of look back on. And then, I think one of the other times he was out treating a cow with milk fever, and she was down and usually you—what is it, a glucose solution that usually?

DW: Calcium.

LW: To put into—and they just, their eyes get bright and they jump up, and that's always fun to see that kind of a situation, and then he was doing that to one cow out in the field one time, and he had his old cowboy hat on, and he got hit by lightning and it just dropped him on the ground. A hole was in his hat, and he got up and went forward.

CP: Your dad was hit by lightning.

LW: Uh-huh, and I think Baxter Black has his old cowboy hat.

CP: So there were no repercussions from it since then?

LW: No, not that we could tell [laughs].

CP: Wow. Did he give any—did he talk about what that was like? I mean—

LW: No, he just (laughing), he just got up and finished his work and came on home. And I remember we lived in the clinic for several years, and there was usually, he would come in from a call, (hand motion indicates starting over) and morning would start out there with small animals, and then they'd go out on calls, and then they'd come in about four or five in the afternoon. Then they'd start on spaying the cats and dogs, and that would usually run 'til seven or eight in the evening.


CP: So, you lived in the clinic. Was there—you were in the same building or was there a separate house?

LW: It was the same building, and you were always on call if somebody knew we lived there.

CP: What was that like?

LW: Well, we did a lot of cleaning of kennels, and we always had a job, because cleaning out kennels and grooming dogs was kind of part of it. We only lived there about two or three years before we moved. Dad built a house and we were about five minutes from the clinic.

DW: So there's a good reason why you're not a veterinarian, same reason my three daughters are not veterinarians [laughs].

LW: Actually, I talked to Dad about going into vet medicine when I was about a junior in high school, and he—and I've told this to people and they, I don't know that they really get it; again, he was very practical, very pragmatic. He said, "No, I don't think you should go into vet medicine because society pays a lot to educate a person to be a veterinarian," and he said, "I don't think you'll work beyond getting out of college." Well, I have worked thirty-seven years after college, and I don't think he saw that trend, and I think at this point about seventy-five percent of the veterinary class are women. He didn't see that, but that's how he looked at it and that's how he called it. So I graduated in microbiology instead.

CP: Did you have animals at your home?

LW: Oh, yes, we had cats and dogs all the time. They never lived in the house but they were always outside, and then one time we wound up having a bobcat that he brought. A couple young bobcats were brought into the clinic, and he brought one of them home, declawed it—I think he defanged it—but we never could tame it, even as a little guy.

CP: No pet bobcat.

LW: No pet bobcat, no. He loved to hunt, by the way, and he knew all the farmers in the area. He just kept his shotgun in the back of his truck when he was out on call, and if he saw—and we had a lot of pheasants at that time, and still do in that area, in the beet fields and corn fields—and he'd see a pheasant rooster and he'd—I remember, one of my memories of home is mom on the floor fixing pheasant for putting in the freezer. And then, Dad would go elk hunting in the fall, and we lived on elk and pheasant. Some ducks, not as many ducks.

CP: What do you remember about community life in Caldwell?

LW: Well, it was a population of about fifteen thousand. It was a neat community at the time. Both parents were very involved in the community. That community I think has gone downhill over the years. Nampa, which is about seven miles away, I think those two cities have just completely reversed. Nampa has gone way above and beyond Caldwell; Caldwell has gone down. And I attribute it to the leadership in each of those communities. Caldwell leaders weren't willing to change and go outside the main city area to develop a model between the two. Nampa did and Nampa has continued to flourish, I think to a greater degree than Caldwell has, although Caldwell has the College of Idaho there and that's an excellent school.

CP: You mentioned both your parents were involved in the community. We talked about your dad, but what sorts of things did your mom do?

LW: Mom was basically a stay-at-home parent, but she was, at every election she was at the tables helping register folks for elections, and she was very involved in Corvallis at the thrift shop, and I don't know what all the activities. She was very involved in golf, but she was always involved one way or the other in community activities.

CP: [Hearing sounds outside] Is this airplanes that are flying overhead?

LW: Yeah, and they're ours.

CP: So, golfing then must have been something your parents did together.

LW: They did, yes.

CP: I'm interested in your dad's association with the school board. What do you think drove him to do that?


LW: He gave back. Both parents gave back to the communities we were living in, and they always believed in that.

CP: Well, your father had the private practice until 1966, I think, and then that year he made a move to become the animal health specialist for the Extension Service based out of Corvallis. Why do you think he made the decision to do that?

LW: Well I gave him a bad time because I went to Oregon State as a freshman in '66 and I was looking for a part-time job, and I went over to the Vet Diagnostic Lab and met Dr. Dean Smith, who was running it at that time, and he hired me part-time to clean up a whole backlog of slides. And then—and Dean had graduated I think a year or two ahead of my dad from home, and so when Dad would visit me in Corvallis, he met Dean again and he became aware of this job, that opening for Extension Veterinarian for the state, and applied for it and got it, and he wound up being in the office where I had been cleaning up slides. I just gave him a bad time. He couldn't leave his elder daughter in Oregon alone [laughs].

CP: But, did he talk about why he made that decision?

LW: I think that he, well, first of all one of the brothers that he was in partnership with the clinic in Caldwell had an alcohol problem, and that was causing issues with clients, and I think that also Dad saw tightening of the rules on small animal practitioners, and I think he felt like for the future, for his family, that was a good move, to move to Oregon. And so I think that's why he applied for the position. I think his heart was always in Idaho, although when he retired, he didn't return to Idaho. But anyhow I think that's the reason why he made the move to Oregon.

CP: It sounds to me like one of his primary duties was to work as a liaison between livestock owners, veterinarians and regulatory bodies, and maybe you both can comment a bit, sort of generally, about some of the duties that he assumed, or the outreach that he engaged in?

LW: Well I know that he would put on lectures at the fairground. About once a year, it seems like, he'd come into the area.

DW: I think he drove a lot. I mean he was a great Extension veterinarian, because he, you know, he again, he knew the language and he understood the problem because he'd been in it for over twenty years. He was a great communicator, and he could simply go out to set up shop in an auditorium, and he could talk intelligently on anything he wanted to talk about and communicate. And that's really what the Extension Service is all about, bringing better science to the agricultural community, and he was great with that.

CP: Guy began at OSU in '66; my understanding is you began your vet practice in '68, so there was a lot of overlap there. What sorts of things were you up to at this time?

DW: Well, this area's extremely selenium deficient and there are areas that are extremely copper deficient, and Dr. Reynolds did a lot of work on that. I believe he helped develop some of the injectables for both copper and selenium to treat the animals and prophylactically to keep them from having the deficiencies. Selenium deficiency causes white muscle, which is a calcification of the heart muscle, calcification of the skeletal muscles up along the back. It's always the best thriving calf that drops dead or becomes paralyzed. Same thing with lambs; in the copper deficiencies they lose their—they're really poor producers. They lose the color of their hair coat, and, actually, in some areas here, they were so copper deficient, the yearlings would actually get spontaneous fractures of the bone because of copper deficiency. He was very instrumental in working out the process there and recognizing that the better way to prevent it is to feed mineral products to the animals rather than using injectables.


So, he was very instrumental in our practice in helping us to develop a line of mineral salts and so forth. We had a whole different series of those mineral supplements, because in different areas of this valley there were different problems. He was very, very helpful on that. And then another thing he worked on quite a bit was the Bluetongue virus, which is a disease of sheep that gets over into cattle. I think he was one of the first that really recognized the disease in cattle, and the cause and the effects of the disease. That same virus gets into deer, particularly mule deer, and causes what's called hemorrhagic disease, which is a sudden death syndrome. And, I believe he was also instrumental in recognizing that relationship and the fact that probably the cattle may be a reservoir for the sheep. It's a very severe disease in sheep, often kills. Very severe disease in deer, it often kills. In cattle it's more of a chronic problem that causes loss of production but doesn't very often kill them.

So, I think he was one of the first in that series to recognize that the cattle were probably a reservoir for the others, instead of the other way around. Very practical, very practical. He's a man that would look at a thing, and I might look at it and say, "oh," and he'd say, "aha."

LW: How interesting.

DW: And, that's really what large animal medicine is really about; it's thought of as super sleuth work. I mean you're—not just the obstetrics, but I mean from the standpoint of when you have a new disease in the area or you have a poisonous plant problem or whatever, it's a matter of finding the right cause. And a side story: I mean I'm sure that Guy also had some of the same teachers that I had, and they were probably a lot younger when they taught him, but we had a poisonous plant specialist, that Dr. R. Keith Farrell, and at the end of the semester we had to do the final. We all went to his place and had a big barbecue and everything on the menu was poisonous. And he was making a point. Just the presence of the poisonous plant or the poisonous meat or whatever does not necessarily make it a big deal; you have to put it together. And that's one of the things that Guy was really great at.

CP: Now it's interesting to me, I mean he was based in Corvallis but you knew him well, and you were based in Klamath Falls. Was this an area of concentration for him, or was he—you said he drove a lot—was he really going everywhere?

DW: Yeah, he was here quite a bit. I don't know that he was—he might have been here more than in some other areas in the state, but we were constantly in communication with him a lot because we were working on the mineral issues with him and the Bluetongue issues with him, and other issues. And he was always accessible, and you could get him on the phone almost any time.

LW: And, that was before cellphones.

DW: Yeah. And if you had a problem, you know, "Might be a couple days, but I'll get down there." So he was ... he treated the Extension Veterinary the same way he treated his practice; it was just a lot bigger area, the whole state.

LW: He traveled the whole state, and he knew ranchers and vets all over the state. Maybe you'd be going down a highway and he'd go, "Oh, yeah, so and so is down that road, you know."And it might be ten miles on a gravel road, but he knew them and he was aware of what their issues were.

CP: Just going through my notes here, another thing it sounds like he worked on was preventing transmission of disease from livestock to humans. Do you know much about that?

DW: Well I wasn't really that aware of—that's what you call it; animal diseases that are transmittable to humans are called zoonoses—and I don't know, I didn't know that he was that interested in that issue. I was just trying to think what—

LW: Did you have a personal issue that way?

DW: Well, yeah, certainly brucellosis is a—I suppose that might have been what he was after. Well, brucellosis and tuberculosis are animal zoonoses that cause problems, and certainly I did contract brucellosis. Most large animal veterinarians did at the time, and one of the reasons why most large animal veterinarians were semi-deaf to totally deaf was because the treatment was very high levels of Dihydrostreptomycin, which causes—it's so toxic it causes damage to hearing. And I chose not to do that and waited for another antibiotic to come along. So, my wife says I'm deaf, but I can actually hear.


LW: [Laughs] You're doing pretty good.

CP: It sounds like he also worked on vibriosis or infertility.

DW: Mmhm. That was—

LW: He did a lot of preg testing, I know. Goodness. I know—excuse me—in the private practice I know he did a lot of that in the Jordan Valley area.

DW: If he's traveled to Jordan Valley, he was traveling a long ways.

LW: He traveled a lot of long ways.

DW: I should say; I used to go to the Nile.

LW: [Laughs] Where there was a space in between.

DW: Yeah, vibriosis, it's a venereal disease in cattle that causes infertility on a herd basis, and he did a lot of work on that. I don't know if he ever worked with trichomoniasis, which is another protozoa infertility disease in cattle, and I don't know whether he got into that. He may have retired before that happened, but that was another one of those things where we didn't have trichomoniasis here but they had trichomoniasis on the Gulf coast, and then for a number of years they started bringing these eared cattle up to Brahmans and so forth, and when they brought those cattle they brought the disease with them, and it's still here. There's not many eared cattle but we still have trich.

LW: Oh. That's interesting; yeah. We don't have many Herefords anymore either, which surprises me.

CP: Pinkeye?

DW: Hmm?

CP: Pinkeye?

DW: He did a lot of work on that. There's actually a vaccine now for pinkeye, and it was a very difficult—there's the infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus, actually causes a lot of pinkeye problems. There are particular bacteria causes of a lot of pinkeye problems, but it's difficult to diagnose because it's the infection, particularly bacterial infection, is very trenchant, and then you get a secondary, all kinds of stuff in the eye. And he was, I think he worked a great deal on trying to figure out what that original bacteria is, and it's a bacteria that has a function that lyses, liquifies protein, and so it—and I think that was one of the things that really intrigued him, that you'd have a perfectly normal eye and twenty-four hours later it's got an ulcer that's almost perforated, and it's like, what? You know, there's got to be a cause to that. And I think he spent a great deal of time looking for that.

LW: Pinkeye and scours seem to be the things that the practit—not the practitioner— but the farmer, who had livestock, was really interested in controlling. I know Dad would really, would break that speech that I overheard, I mean he really broke into that very specifically.

CP: Sounds like he did some work on emphysema as well.

DW: Yeah, that's, emphysema in cattle is a, it's actually a, it's essentially a poisonous plant problem. If you go from very dry feed to very green, lush—particularly like rye grass or oat pasture or something like that—this sudden change causes a disruption in how the fermentation and the rumen of the animal, the big stomach in cattle, is. It changes the fermentation, and it produces a byproduct that just simply causes an acute emphysema that their lungs fill with fluid in there, and they could go from—and it's a herd basis, I mean, and it is so quick and so severe that you really can't even drive the cattle out of the field. I mean that you have to, it's—and there's not much you can do for them. I mean other than admonishing the guy don't ever do that again. But there is no real treatment for it. Some of the cattle, if you can ease them out of the field, then some of them get better to the point of—but, they—it's very similar to COPD in people. I mean once it's there, it's there. You don't fix it.

LW: It doesn't go away?

DW: Uh uh. No.


CP: So it sounds like it was mostly cattle he was working with, at least around here.

DW: Well, yeah, mostly we have cattle around here. There were a few flocks of sheep. I think there were three different outfits that had pretty good sized bands of sheep, but they didn't use veterinarians very much. It was pretty much old-school.

CP: Can you give us a sense of the kinds of tools or the techniques that he would have been using over the course of his practice, out in the field, that might be different from how veterinarians work today? Or, maybe there isn't any difference.

LW: Are you talking about when he had his own practice or when he was the Extension head?

CP: During the Extension phase, when Doug knew him.

DW: Well, in the Extension part he wasn't using, other than research, I mean he wasn't practicing, so he didn't have the tools.0 I mean, for instance that, you know, you can start from 1968 when I first graduated. It was unusual for a large animal veterinarian to even have an x-ray machine that was portable, and now we have x-ray machines that are digital that you can take the radiograph or the picture, just like a digital camera; you can enhance it and then you can ship it off to somebody to look at while you're still on the farm, instead of taking a whole pile of cassettes out there and hope you get the right view.

We made mostly stuff with the stethoscope and palpation and so forth. Now almost all veterinarians have very sophisticated ultrasounds that you can examine soft tissue with by radio waves. So it's changed dramatically. When I first started practicing, we had four veterinarians in Klamath Animal Clinic and three of them were kept unscheduled from about the middle of January to about the first of June, for emergency work. When I sold the clinic we had five veterinarians, and we didn't keep anyone unscheduled. And a lot of that is what Guy did, and other Extension veterinarians, and what we tried to do is to educate people better ways to stay away from the emergency work, and so it was actually more lucrative for us and for our clients. You know, nobody makes a lot of money doing emergency work.

But, what we were doing toward the end of my practice life was almost all herd management work and semen testing and preg checking and pelvic exams on heifers. I mean all the sort of thing that work to prevent prolapses and prevent obstetrical problems and to improve the size. When I first came out of school the measure of a good cattleman was if they could wean eighty-five percent of their calves, and they weighed four hundred pounds. Now if you're not in the high nineties and they don't weigh six hundred and fifty pounds at weaning, it means that you're broke.

LW: How interesting.

DW: It's a complete different deal. And that's really what he was great at, is that teaching people to, you know, it doesn't help anybody to carry a cow over year after year if she doesn't have a calf. And the other thing is trying to get that calving season down, a narrow calving season early in the year, early in your season, so that all the calves are the same size. And, I mean it was a—he was way ahead of his time there. There's a lot of people that, "Yeah, well, you know, you can't do that." Well, you can, you just have to work at it.

LW: It was all—

DW: And the other—I'll shut up, but the other thing he was great on was record keeping. I mean he was always talking about record keeping, because if you've got fifty cows maybe you can remember them, maybe you can even name them, but if you got five hundred cows you can't, and so keep the records, identify the cows and find out which one is making a profit, which isn't, and use that for your culling.

LW: I was going to say that Dad also, I think, it was made during the latter years of his work with Extension and then into his retirement, he was a—I'm not going to get the right term here—there's a large dairy that was in the Silverton area. I think it was the largest dairy in the state, and he would go and advise them on a monthly basis. And they also were raising heifers over in the Redmond area, and so he would check on that. And he was really—so he was really helping the folks that had these high-producing Holstein cows. And I'm not sure Holsteins are the ones they're using anymore.


DW: Oh, yeah, it's almost all Holsteins.

LW: All Holstein. But anyhow, the production of those cows, that was a big deal for him, and he really was doing a lot of advising to those dairy producers.

DW: That was a—there was a shift in the early, in the late sixties and the early seventies from running dairy cattle on pasture and bringing them in and milking them, putting them back on pasture and this sort of thing, to confinement feeding and loading sheds. There was a lot of management changes that were required and that came along. And then, there was always this pushback between the nutritionist and the veterinarian, because a nutritionist could feed a cow to make her produce a whole lot of milk. But then you couldn't—because they were pushing them so far they couldn't reproduce and they couldn't function very well, and so it mean that this was, this was a period—and I'm sure that's what he'd be doing in Silverton, because that was one of the first big confinement dairies.

LW: Probably so.

DW: And there was a completely different ball game if you're going to keep the cattle on the concrete floor and have the loading stalls and so forth. It's a completely different management technique. And just because you built the barn doesn't mean you know the technique.

LW: Dad was also a consultant for the Parker Ranch in Hawaii on the large island. I don't know if you've ever been to the Parker Ranch. It was a beautiful ranch. I understand the number of cattle that came off of that rivaled the big ranch in Texas. It's a big operation. But I know he went over and advised them, and I think that was beef cattle.

DW: The Parker Ranch is on the big island of Hawaii; it's a volcanic island. Guess what? It has that selenium deficiency. It also has a copper deficiency. That might have been it.

LW: Oh, there was the connection, yeah.

CP: That's interesting.

LW: Dad was also, just before I forget it, he was president of the, was it the Intermountain Veterinary Association? I don't if that's still called that.

DW: That's that big veterinary conference in Reno and Las Vegas, yeah.

LW: Okay. Anyhow, he was president of the association, and I don't know at what time in his—I think part of it was when he was in Idaho, and then they had continued, and I think he was involved with some of the national conventions when he was in Oregon.

DW: This Intermountain Association was a continuing education for veterinarians, and that was something, of course, that that's what Guy did for Oregon as the Extension. But, fascinating to go to those meetings. They have all kinds of wonderful lectures; you can sit and take notes, but really when you learn something is out in the hall or over a Scotch in the evening. You start talking about, you start talking with other veterinarians and what their problems are, and you start making associations as well. You have this and we have this, maybe there's, you know. Maybe they're involved.

LW: Or somebody resolved it this way, or—

DW: Mhmm, yeah.

LW: Yeah.

CP: Yeah, it sounds like he was an officer on numerous veterinarian medical boards.

LW: He also worked closely with the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, and I don't know in what position with that, but it was very—he and Louis Randall, he really thought a lot of Louis Randall, who was a local rancher here for many years.

CP: Well, it sounds to me like he was a very versatile and effective person in his capacity, and if we're to try kind of conceptualize why, maybe it was because, number one, he's a good communicator, and number two, because he had, perhaps, this experience in private practice for a long time as well that would bring some of that.

DW: And, I'm sure he was a voracious reader, because he was always up on everything. I mean very rarely could you bring up a new subject that he hadn't already studied.

LW: He kept the veterinary manuals that would come out. They were by his bed like all the time.

CP: In our conversations before this interview, Linda mentioned there was a lawsuit that maybe he was involved with, regarding transport of cattle between Fort Klamath and Red Bluff. Can you reflect on that? Either one of you?

LW: You couldn't remember that and I brought it up to my family when we were together over the Fourth of July, my mother and sisters, and none of them could remember it either. I don't remember the players in it; it was just that I think he was providing testimony, professional testimony.

DW: Yeah, it was my senior partner had always carried malpractice insurance and liability insurance, but he was really busy that summer and had let it lapse for about a month, and that was the only time that he didn't have it. And this was a rancher in Fort Klamath and also another ranch in the Red Bluff area. And it had to do with a vaccination, and I believe the rancher was claiming that the vaccine that had been used was faulty and had caused a great deal of problems. And they had quite a spirited trial and I think the jury was out about ten minutes and found that there was no harm. But I do remember, and Fred Lederman remembers, exactly how much his attorney charged him, to the penny.


LW: Well, I think that Dad, I didn't know a lot of the details but I think what I remember most about it is I had no idea the number of cattle that cross the state line between Fort Klamath and Red Bluff every year. I mean I'd seen cattle trucks moving back and forth. I don't remember the numbers, Doug, but it was pretty huge.

DW: Oh, yeah, it was huge. It used to be between eighty and a hundred thousand, that's mother cows with calves, and then there were probably almost that many more yearlings that came up on pasture. I think there's less than that now, because there's less, you know, there's—

LW: Less range up there.

DW: Well, a lot of that whole chanella [?] farms thing up there is now out of—that's swamp again.

LW: Yep.

CP: I want to ask Linda about her parents' lives in Corvallis. I mean you had left for Klamath Falls not long after he arrived in Corvallis, but I'm sure you paid him plenty of visits. What do you remember about Corvallis life for them?

LW: Well, I had two younger sisters that were coming through their last years of high school when they moved to Corvallis, and daughters can really tie up bathrooms, so my parents moved into the third bedroom and gave my sisters the master bedroom [laughs] just to have peace in the family. When they lived in Corvallis, they did a lot of going to the ocean, a lot of to the beach, and Dad didn't do as much hunting. His back was starting to bother him at that time. He continued to play golf, he loved to play cribbage, and he had several friends there at the vet diagnostic lab. One was Dr. Jess Bone and the other one, I'm not going to remember his name now, he just passed about two or three years ago, and the two of them would kibitz back and forth over a cribbage game like it was the end of their last dime.

But he traveled a lot. I got a kick of my mother leaning over backwards for dad—I think it was a generational thing at the time—and she left to go to some tournament and remembered something at the house that she needed to go back to. Dad was left to cook on his own, and he had asked her about how to cook the hot dogs, so she went back in and she saw the pot on the stove cooking. She opened the top of it and in was the whole package of hot dogs. She just put the top back on and left [laughs]. I think Dad put in a lot of hours with Extension, but it wasn't the roughness or the stress of the practice he'd had in Caldwell. So, I think that he had more time to relax in Corvallis. And my mother still lives there. She's ninety-three and a half and still driving and living on her own.

CP: Wow. Well, anything else about Guy before we move on to a couple of...

DW: You know, he was very, very well-respected, and he was well-respected because he earned it. I mean, like I said, he had the practical experience and he had the good education, the education continued, he was always reading, always learning, great communicator, that's why he was selected as president of this, president of that and yada, yada. And he also, when he joined something, it wasn't just to have it on his résumé; he joined it to make it better, and he always did.


CP: Doug, I want to ask you a couple questions about OSU, beginning with—we'll talk a little about your continuing involvement with the university. You are not an alumnus, but you've had a connection in a couple different ways. Your wife has received two degrees from OSU, and you've been involved with the vet med program at least in speaking at the commencement ceremony for at least ten years. Want to talk a little bit about these connections?

DW: Sure. Actually I went to Oregon State for one year. I went to, started college, at Central Oregon College in Bend, and then I wound up for a year at Oregon State and then four years up at Washington State. My wife has a bachelor and master's degree in Geology from Oregon State; our middle daughter has a bachelors in Biology. I was fortunate to be president of the State Veterinary Medical Association when Magruder Hall, which is the first building for the vet school, was put in place. We had worked for a number of years. I was sort of more tangential about it; it was really Ed Wedman and Magruder, Representative Magruder, and Dr. Don Bailey that simply would not take no for an answer. They wanted a veterinary college in Oregon and they, no matter what hurdle was thrown in the way, they got around it, and they got it started.

And I was able to see during my career this entire evolution from just that one building to a—which at that point was a consortium between Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and the kids would transfer back and forth to—I was able to help dedicate the small animal teaching hospital two or three years ago. Now that made it a stand alone university. And so, yeah, I had been very closely associated with that vet school and I've been privileged to talk to their graduating class for about ten years now.

CP: Yeah. Well, I'm sure you had a perspective and a vantage point on this college as it's evolved over the course of time. I mean it very nearly ceased to exist after passage of Ballot Measure 5, and now it seems to be doing well.

DW: Yeah, it's, the university is—Oregon State has really grown, and certainly the veterinary college has. The ... the biggest change, and Linda mentioned this earlier, is that when I graduated from Washington State, in a class of fifty students there were seven women in our class, and the conventional wisdom was what are they going to do for a living, those seven women. This last graduating class at Oregon State was ninety percent women.

LW: Oh, ninety; wow.

DW: Ninety. And it just keeps creeping up.

LW: Wow.

DW: And this changed the profession somewhat in that it's being viewed now, I think, a lot more as a place where you can always get a job. You have that professional degree, you can always find a job, you can always find work, and if you want to take a few years off and have a family, you can always go back. So—and it's also shifted. When I was going to school, most of the people were going into a large animal practice. Now, if you have a large animal practice, it's really hard to find a veterinarian, a new veterinarian that just graduated who wants to do that work.

LW: It's hard work.

DW: It is hard work. It's hard work, and it's difficult on families. It's really a balancing act; I mean it doesn't make any difference what family, even you're going to have, just before you start, the phone rings.

LW: Yep.

DW: And it's always someone you can't say no to.

LW: Yeah; yep. Dad was also involved with Dr. Wedman on starting that vet school, getting it off the ground. He was very involved with that for a while. Now are the students entirely now at Oregon State? There's not a rotation?

DW: Yes, they are.

LW: What do the Idaho students do? Do they go to the two schools?

DW: I assume they're—you know, I don't imagine that question, but I'm assuming they go either one or the other—

LW: One or the other.

DW: But there is no more rotation. They don't travel anymore.

LW: Okay.

CP: So there was a time period where OSU students spent some time at Washington State, is that correct?

DW: Originally they would take part of their courses at Washington State, part of their courses at University of Idaho and part of their courses at Oregon State, and so for four years they traveled around like a caravan. Then eventually that was winnowed down to the classes and perspectives that Idaho were taking out of it and moved to Pullman and Washington State, and then just in the last four or five years we got it back to all in Oregon now.

CP: Was each school specializing in a different area? Is that—

DW: Mhmm. Well, the problem, the primary problem that the Veterinary College out at Corvallis is there's not a large enough population there to sustain a small animal practice for the university. And, of course, those veterinarians who were already in Corvallis were not too excited about having somebody come in and take all of the business. And, eventually, they have worked out a deal where a lot of their small animal rotation is done at Portland at the Humane Society. And so they're—

LW: That's Chris Brandt, is running that.

DW: Yeah.

LW: Which is an interesting project, just as an aside here. Chris, who was a veterinarian, and her husband, who was a veterinarian, but she was telling me that they have veterinary students come in to Portland and they're able to get hands-on helping these animals. It not only helps the Humane Society but it helps the vets get the practice of working with these animals. And I guess it's—she said that a lot of other states are looking to, looking to emulate that project.

DW: Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised. They probably are; it seems to be working well. Both Dr. Brandt, and Kris Otteman, they're two of the twenty-six students who came through our veterinary clinic, that are now veterinarians. We had a program for years where we would, you know, it was a student experience thing for work experience, and we had a lot of students come in, and some didn't like it at all. Some liked it, some we hired for a kennel worker, animal handlers or whatever, in spare time. And twenty-six of them ended up being veterinarians.

LW: That's fantastic. I didn't know that. Oh, that's neat. I think Dad would be amazed at the general population now and how they love and treat their animals and cats. I just look at the monies that are spent on rehabbing a herd animal and I just go, oh, my goodness, my dad would just roll over in his grave. But I mean I think we treat a lot of our animals better than we do our children.

DW: You know, like you I grew up in a family with—we all had pets and you took your life in your life in your own hands if you brought the pet in the house. So that didn't happen. After we had all left home, Dad and Mom got a dog, and then they got a cat, and they were in the house.

LW: And, they were in the house. That happened to my folks too.

DW: I recall this. Dad called one evening and he said that Tom had a urinary problem.

"Who's Tom?"

"Oh, it's the cat, you know, the neutered male cat." And they'd spent most of the day in town with a veterinarian getting it unplugged and so forth, and so he wanted to know what he could do.

He said, "I just can't afford to keep doing that, you know?"

And I said, "Well, next time you and Mom come down, bring the cat down and we'll keep it for a month or so or three weeks or whatever and change his diet and get it fixed up." So I usually got into the clinic about six-thirty in the morning and as I drove in, and Dad's parked out front. It's a hundred and fifty miles one way. So I went out and said, "What you doing?"

He said, "I brought Tom down." "Okay. Well, you better come in, have some coffee."

"No, I said. I got to get back and set the water."

LW: But, here's the cat.

DW: Yeah. And that's the change, the complete change from, you know, and that was just a harbinger of what was to come. As, I think, as people have fewer children, they have more pets and there's more anthropomor—you know, they treat the pets more like people. [Light turns out].

CP: Lost our lights [Turns lights back on].

DW: When I first graduated from veterinary college, I had two—I had winnowed it down to two opportunities; one was to come to Klamath Animal Clinic, which I did, and the other was to go to Guelph, Ontario, Canada for an internship in small animal orthopedic surgery. I loved orthopedic surgery. I mean it's really neat because if you do it right the animal's up and wagging his tail the next day, and it's, there's no worry, and it's neat. But I wanted to—I had been poor long enough. I'd worked my way through college, and I got pretty tired of it. But anyway, that would have changed everything, had I gone to Guelph instead of here.

LW: Oh, yeah; wow. And if you look in the grocery store, there's far more cat and dog food than there is baby food.

DW: Oh, yes.

LW: You look at that department.

DW: Yep.

LW: By the way, the gentleman that—the doctor that Dad used to play cribbage with was Dr. Don Helfer, who was the bird specialist, veterinary specialist there. The two of them were like this [laughs and makes motion of clawing hands] over cribbage.



Download Transcript (PDF)

Return to Main Page