George Jury, DVM, the last member of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1962 still practicing veterinary medicine, is the college’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year. Jury was honored during the college’s Alumni Reunion Weekend held Sept. 21-22.
CVM Dean Carolyn J. Henry, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology) introduced Jury and read an excerpt from a letter submitted by one of his nominators whom Jury had mentored: “He taught us that this is a noble profession and one to be taken seriously. He taught us to treat our patients kindly and to treat their owners patiently. He taught us that cleanliness and thrift in practice were wise virtues and he taught us that he cared about us.”
Raised in Texas and Stockton, Missouri, Jury began his professional career with the United States Department of Agriculture before accepting a position in general practice in Mason, Texas, in 1963.
He has been a resident of Lubbock, Texas, since 1964, and established a solo companion animal practice, the Southwest Animal Clinic, there in 1967. He built a new clinic in 1975, and won a Veterinary Economics award for its design. He has contributed to organized veterinary medicine, serving the South Plains District of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association as director in 1967. He was elected chairman of the Texas VMA Board of Directors in 1980 and served as president in 1986. He is a charter member of the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice.
He was also a founding member of an emergency clinic, which brought together the talents of the community’s local practitioners to provide continuous veterinary care. This resource proved instrumental in saving countless lives of dogs stricken by a Parvo virus epidemic that swept across the country.
In accepting his award, Jury thanked fellow Class of ’62 classmate C.N. Cornell and his wife, Connie, and Joyce Taylor, the widow of classmate and longtime CVM supporter Richard Taylor, for attending the reunion banquet. He also spoke about the influences that had motivated him to go into veterinary medicine, beginning with his mother’s compassion for animals. He recounted when a family dog was injured in a mowing accident and how he had helped his mother treat the dog’s wounded leg.
“Mothers in the old days had to be the nurse and caretaker as well, because there wasn’t much human medical care either, much less veterinary care,” he said.
His parents were farmers and as a youth he raised and showed calves and pigs, experiences that also served as an influence in his choice of profession. When the family moved from Texas to Missouri before Jury’s sophomore year of high school, he met a vocational agriculture teacher whom he admired and was toying with the idea of following in his mentor’s footsteps.
However, following high school graduation, he left Missouri, which was in the midst of a devastating drought, and returned to Texas to work on a dairy farm in an effort to earn some money to supplement the Curators Scholarship he had been awarded to attend the University of Missouri. One day, while the dairy owner was out in the field, the local health inspector, who was a veterinarian, visited the property and berated Jury about a malfunctioning septic tank. He said that served as a negative influence, but also helped steer him toward his profession.
“That made me decide, a veterinarian ought not to be like that.” Jury said the encounter made up his mind to pursue pre-veterinary studies when he arrived at Mizzou, and to always be careful in how he spoke to young people.
Jury spoke of positive mentors too, including the faculty at the CVM who offered him a topnotch education. He also spoke of meeting his wife of 60 years, Pat, when they both worked at the MU Student Union cafeteria.
“She’s probably the most important positive influence in my life,” he said.
The announcement of the Alumnus of the Year award was made during the college’s reunion banquet held in the Adams Conference Center. The following morning, alumni were invited to have brunch with retired and current faculty members, tour the Veterinary Health Center and ride in the CVM Mule Team Wagon. A tailgate party was also held at the college before the football game against the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Class of 1968 held a 50-year class reunion dinner on Sept. 22 at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center. The surviving members in attendance held a memorial ceremony for classmates who had passed on and shared tales of their own careers and accomplishments.