Dr. Roger W. Gfeller, 58 of Fresno, California and formerly of Russell, Kansas, died on November 26, 2007 in California.
ROGER W. GFELLER
August 16, 1949 - November 25, 2007
Dr. Roger W. Gfeller was born on August 16, 1949, to Harley and Jeanette Gfeller in Winona, Kansas. He grew up on the family farm and attended local schools in Russell, Kansas. He graduated from Kansas State University and in 1973, he obtained a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine receiving board licensing the same year. A member of the U.S. Army as Captain, Roger was based at Ft. Ord but stationed at Lemoore Naval Air Station where he ran a small veterinary clinic for the base.
Roger moved to Fresno, California in 1974. While visiting friends in Kansas, he was introduced to Margie Wright by her veterinarian who was Roger's classmate. He married Margie in July of 1976. They have two sons, Scott and Heath, and one daughter Hayley. Roger has been a Board Certified Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care since 1993.
Roger's love of animals created an interest early in his life for veterinary medicine. He specialized his veterinary training to provide emergency care for all types of injuries and illnesses to small animals. For over 25 years, he was Chief of Staff at Veterinary Emergency Service, Inc., a leading veterinary emergency practice in Fresno, California. One of his most famous patients was, Fresno City Police Dog, Saxon who was shot during a hostage situation. Roger, as he did in all cases, did everything he could for his canine patient. Saxon ultimately retired from the Fresno Police Department with honors.
Similar to the "golden hour" for humans, Roger realized the public faced a wide range of illnesses and emergencies that if treated effectively would improve an animal's chance of survival until a veterinarian could provide care. The public had an understanding of first aid for people but few people had an understanding of how to treat injured or sick animals until professional medical care was available. Addressing that need, in 1994 Roger published the book "First Aid Emergency Care for Dogs and Cats". In 1997, Roger co-authored and published the "Handbook of Smal! Animal Toxicology and Poisonings". Both books providing a simple, yet comprehensive guide to a wide range of veterinary emergencies faced by the public. Over his professional career, Roger provided internships and educational experiences for an international host of students interested in taking his plan for effective emergency treatment back to their home countries. It was not uncommon that for months in his practice he would have veterinary students from various parts of the world studying along his side as he performed emergency treatments on animals. As a lecturer, Roger traveled the United States and Europe outlining how successful emergency veterinary clinics should be run.
In 2006, Roger opened the Central California Veterinary Specialty Center at 6606 N. Blackstone Ave. providing the Central Valley with the finest in emergency veterinary care available. He worked tirelessly to staff the facility with people of exceptional expertise and the highest quality equipment to diagnose and treat veterinary illnesses.
Roger was not just a vet. He loved comedy and deeply enjoyed providing opinions on politics. He likely started his political commentary young, given he was Senator and Presidential Candidate Bob Dole's paper boy in Russell, Kansas.
Roger loved his wife Margie whom he cherished and appreciated her unconditional support for his passion to help animals. His lecturing tours and endless hours with interns only made their time together more special. But his greatest contribution to so many valley families was the care and respect he gave to them and their little helpless family members in times of illness. So many saved, all loved.
Queen Elizabeth asked Sir Winston Churchill upon his return from America to visit President Roosevelt, "What are the Americans like?" Churchill replied, "They are wonderful people. They love their dogs." And the animals loved Roger. In addition to his wife and children,
Roger is survived by his mother, Jeanette Gfeller of Russell, Kansas; sisters, Gayle and Anita Wiley and her husband Pete; brothers, Warren, Craig and his wife Penny, and Ron and his wife Aimee.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Fresno, California on Friday, November 30, 2007, at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Kansas State University-Veterinary Scholarship Fund, 103 Trotter Hall, Manhattan, Ks. 66506; or Animal Rescue of Fresno, 4545 E. Dakota Ave., Fresno, Ca, 93726.
CHAPEL OF THE LIGHT
1620 W. Belmont
Fresno, Ca. (559) 233-6254
Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary of Russell is assisting the mortuary in California in reporting the death notice.