Ag community mourns the loss of two friends
La Junta Tribune-Democrat (CO)
Friday, May 5, 2000
Author: ANDREA RICH and SUSAN PIEPER
The Arkansas Valley agriculture community mourns the loss of two true friends this week. On Sunday, State Veterinarian Jerry Bohlender died in an automobile accident on Berthoud Pass. On Tuesday, rancher and trucker Dave Lewis of Kim lost his battle with acute lymphatic leukemia during a hospital stay in Pueblo.
Both were well known in Southern Colorado. Lewis, 44, and Bohlender, 59, were regarded as much for their nature and way with people as they were in their fields of expertise as a producer and veterinarian.
(edited for content. Dave Lewis' portion taken out--BK)
Dr. Jerry Bohlender
Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Jerry Bohlender, 59, died Sunday from injuries received in a one-car accident.
Bohlender, who dedicated his life to animal health and welfare, served as Colorados state veterinarian from 1994 to the time of his death.
He was born July 7, 1940, in Boulder. In 1958, he graduated from Brighton High School and received his post-high school education from Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1965.
On July 25, 1985, Bohlender married Patricia Evilsizer Mohan, who survives as does his mother Mildred of Brighton, seven children, three grandchildren and three brothers.
Bohlenders children include one daughter Teri (Karl) Parkos of Broomfield, sons Tyler (Wendi) of Castle Rock, Troy (Kristi) of Johnstown and TJ of Ft. Lupton and three grandchildren, Zach and Kia Parkos and Taber Bohlender.
He is also survived by three stepchildren: James Mohan of Denver; Kelli Mohan of West Des Moines, Iowa and Audra Mohan of Ft. Lupton.
His brother Bob of North Platte, Rick (Melody) of Broomfield and Tim (Cindy) of Granby also survive.
This is a great loss for the state of Colorado, said Don Ament, Commissioner of Agriculture.
Dr. Bohlender, he continued, was recognized not only statewide, but nationwide, for his work with people in the livestock industry and in wildlife.
Were all shocked and concerned for his family and friends.
Prior to beginning his own practice, Bohlender worked for the Leadbetter Clinic for four years. He later operated the North Denver Animal Clinic for 23 years before becoming assistant state veterinarian in 1988.
Deputy Commissioner Bob McLavey said, He was a tireless worker, a skilled veterinarian and always willing to give whatever it took to get the job done.
We will miss his dedication, his kindness and his smile, he stated.
He looked to the future needs of the industry, forming partnerships to assist both the industry and the agriculture departments Animal Industry Division in staying at the forefront of animal health, said Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Wayne Cunningham.
He fostered the relationship we now have with the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and architects are designing the Colorado Animal Health Center which will house the State Veterinarians office, the State diagnostic laboratory, and extension veterinarian and integrated livestock personnel.
Bohlender was active in research related to vesicular stomatitis and chronic wasting disease.
In addition, he was a 4-H leader for many years as well as being a member of Colorado Sheep and Wool Association, Colorado Livestock Association, National Western Stock Show Association, Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, United States Animal Health Association, Western States Animal Health Association, Brighton Prime Rib Club and a lifetime member of the American Paint Horse Association.
He also enjoyed working with youth who were interested in livestock and agriculture and his personal interests were hunting, fishing and horses.
According to the Colorado State Patrol, they were notified at 2:30 p.m. by a passerby of a vehicle on the side of the mountain just east of Berthoud Falls.
The patrol, in reconstructing the accident, reported Bohlenders 1997 Ford F-350 pickup was going uphill on US 40, westbound on a straightaway. The truck ran off the right side of the road, down the embankment and rolled several times. Bohlender was ejected from the vehicle which came to rest 500 feet down the embankment.
The exact time of the crash is unknown.
Memorial services were held yesterday (Thursday) at 1 p.m. at United Methodist Church; 625 S. 8th Ave.; Brighton, Colo.
Bohlenders family requests that all contributions be made to the Jerry J. Bohlender Memorial Fund Scholarship, FFA/4-H; c/o Norwest Bank; 15 S. Main St.; Brighton, Colo. 80601.
Locally, producers were stunned and saddened by the news. Bohlender was well-known in agricultural circles, both by producers, professionals and livestock sellers.
Vernon Sharp, president of Colorado Cattlemens Association, said of Bohlender, Hes been a big asset to the cattle industry and agriculture in particular. Were sure going to miss him.
Mike Dutton, owner of Fort Bent Feeders and a member of Colorado Livestock Association, stated, His death will be a big loss to the state and to the livestock industry.
Don Honey, owner of La Junta Livestock Commission, echoed the sentiments of Sharp and Dutton. He said, I was shocked. It will be a big loss to the state.
Dr. Don Klinkerman, a retired veterinarian who worked with Bohlender and traveled in the same professional circles, said of Bohlenders death, Its a tremendous loss. He was one of the nicest guys a person would want to run into.
He did a terrific job for the livestock industry and the state of Colorado. He was on top of the animal welfare situation and was certainly a good member of the veterinary profession and he will be greatly missed.
Part of his job entailed his being an enforcer and he did it as quietly as he could to protect the states livestock and the industry. He made some tough decisions but he made them for the people of the state of Colorado and I greatly respect him for it.