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Honoring Dr. Earl Rippie

Honoring Dr. Earl Rippie


Earl H. Rippie, Jr, DVM, passed away on June 24, 2016, at the age of 74. A native of Bell Buckle, Tennessee, and a resident of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Dr. Rippie served as the President of the NAVC from 1999 to 2000, and remained on the NAVC Board, serving as Secretary-Treasurer from 2007 to 2014.

A graduate of Tennessee State University (1963) and the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine (1967), Dr. Rippie was a small animal practitioner who became the owner/director of the Pennsauken Animal Hospital in Pennsauken, New Jersey, in 1971.

Today’s Veterinary Practice reached out to those who worked alongside Dr. Rippie. His colleagues had the opportunity to observe him not only influencing the world of veterinary medicine, but also touching the hearts of so many in the industry. This is what they had to say…

Earl was always kind and considerate and a gentleman, even when he didn’t have to be. I’ll never forget his generosity and spirit. Earl’s tenure on the Board lasted for nearly 20 years, and during that time he oversaw dramatic growth, new products and services, and even the construction of our Gainesville offices. His imprint on NAVC can be seen everywhere. Earl believed in building bridges, and that’s a lost value today. The profession will miss his extraordinary compassion, kindness, and generosity.

Thomas M. Bohn, MBA, CAE
Chief Executive Officer, NAVC
Board Chairman, Veterinary Innovation Council

I have so many amazing memories of Earl. I’ll always remember how proud he was to be elected to the NAVC Board and become its first African-American president. I’ll remember his wry sense of humor and how he went out of his way to meet and greet people. And I can’t forget my time with him in Moscow at the RSAVA meeting when we got lost on the subway. We called that “Colin and Earl’s Great Adventure.” Finally, I’ll remember how he loved to spend time with his family at his condo in St. Maarten, and how he loved his 94-year-old mother, the Philadelphia Eagles, and NAVC and our staff.

Colin F. Burrows, BVetMed, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM, HonFRCVS
President, WSAVA
NAVC International Program Liaison

No matter where in the world he went, Earl was recognized as the representative of the NAVC. Everyone who knew Earl liked him. Dr. Rippie was the first NAVC Board member to have graduated from the Tuskegee Institute School of Veterinary Medicine, and as an African-American veterinarian, he inspired many students and veterinarians of color by showing that hard work and commitment can lead to great success. As we were both alumni of Tuskegee, Earl and I became friends, and one of the greatest things he ever did for me was nominate me for the NAVC Board. Earl, I owe you big! We will miss your big smile and laughter; your giant bear hugs; and your love, friendship, and guidance.

Linda Jacobson, DVM
Past President, NAVC
Jacobson Veterinary Clinic, Brooklyn, New York 

Dr. Rippie spread kindness wherever he went and treated everyone with respect. During his time on the Board, I witnessed him many times speaking up in situations in which he felt something just wasn’t right or fair. He cared for the pets of his clients at the Pennsauken Animal Hospital for over 20 years, and it was obvious that he was highly respected due to the care and compassion that he provided. He took great care of his employees as well. He will be greatly missed.

Suzanne Savage, CMP
Senior Director of Governance and
Executive Office Management, NAVC

One of my favorite memories with Earl was that of being a backseat passenger; Earl’s partner, Joanne, was driving and Earl was supposed to know where we were going on the circuitous streets of St. Maarten. I also remember that he gave the best hugs. On a more serious note, Earl was forward-thinking and open to progressive ideas, and he had an unwavering dedication and commitment to NAVC’s mission, growth, and development. His ideas; his compassion to his patients; and his loyalty to his clients, employees, and colleagues are a great loss to the veterinary community.

Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD
Past President, NAVC
Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey

The world veterinary community has lost a champion and an exemplary professional. In his last visit to Lima, Peru, in 2015, Earl was named “Dr. Saint Martin” by the veterinary students that attended the LAVC. It was not in reference to his beloved island, but rather because he reminded them of the first and only Afro-Peruvian Saint, Saint Martin de Porres, now considered the patron saint of racial harmony. Earl’s kindness, generosity, and gentle ways made him beloved and respected by everyone he met. I miss you “querido amigo.”

Jorge Guerrero, DVM, MSc, PhD, Diplomate ACVM and EVPC (ret)
Past President, NAVC
President, LAVC

To honor and remember Dr. Rippie, donations can be made to the Pennsauken Animal Hospital, 6717 Crescent Blvd, Pennsauken, NJ 08110.