Fair holds tribute to 'Dr. Jack'

Former fair veterinarian remembered at ceremony

By Andrea Damewood, Columbian staff writer


Updated: August 10, 2012, 6:56 PM

photoDr. Jack Giesy
photoAnn Jones, Dr. Jack Giesy’s eldest daughter, presents Clark County Fair Manager John Morrison with a hat that Morrison gave Giesy years ago. The hat, one of Giesy’s favorites, was returned as a memento during a memorial service at the Clark County Fairgrounds on Friday. Giesy, 80, the fair’s veterinarian for 45 years, died July 28.

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photoHarley Williams, who has four horses and described Jack Giesy as both a good friend and his vet for the past 16 years, reads a board of messages and memories for the longtime veterinarian Friday.

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If you go

• What: Clark County Fair.

• Hours today: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

• Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road.

• Admission: Adults, $10; seniors 62 and older, $8; kids 7-12, $7; kids 6 and younger, free. Parking, $6; C-Tran shuttle, $2 per person round trip from area park-and-ride lots; children 6 and younger ride free. $1 discount on admission with a bus fare stub.

• Carnival: Opens at noon; unlimited rides today, $30.

• 99.5 The Wolf Grandstands: Monster trucks, 2 and 6:30 p.m.

• Other highlights: The Black Pearl Friesian Dance Troupe, 1 and 7 p.m.; Toddler Trot Contest, 1 p.m.

• Pets: Not permitted, except for personal service animals or those on exhibition or in competition.

• More information: http://clarkcofair.com or 360-397-6180.

• Online: View The Columbian's mobile website for the Clark County Fair at: http://columbian.com/fair-mobile

Among dozens of notes dedicated to the memory of Dr. Jack Giesy at the Clark County Fairgrounds on Friday, one summed it up: “The fair is just not going to be the same without you.”

More than 150 people gathered at the horse arena named for Giesy, who served as the fair’s veterinarian for 45 years, to celebrate his spirit. Giesy, 80, died July 28.

The crowd fell silent as they took a moment to remember him, and the Clark County Fence Riders led a solitary riderless horse into the arena. Flags at the fair flew at half staff all week.

Speakers remembered Giesy as an encouraging man who mentored generations of 4-H kids, served on the fair’s board for 23 years, and healed just about every large animal there is, from horses to cows to goats.

“He’s probably up there, doing vet checks on all the pets who are up in heaven,” Clark County Fair manager John Morrison told the crowd, many of whom wiped away tears.

4-H president Stephanie Hope said there was no way she could summarize the good Giesy had done for the youth club in her allotted two minutes. She said one of his best attributes was, when a child had a question, Giesy would pause, look at them, and ask, “What do you think?”

“Dr. Jack touched their hearts and lives,” Hope said.

On the memorial board posted to one wall in the arena, that showed. A boy named Spencer penned, “I always loved having you around,” in a small child’s handwriting. Another, signed “Suz,” said, “I can’t even imagine having a horse without you around.”

Fair Board President Sharon Crouch said she took a poll of people’s one-word memories of Giesy. Among them were: encourager, friend, coach, confidant, fun, humble, warm-hearted and smiling.

“He took his duties seriously, but he didn’t take himself seriously,” Crouch said.

4-H leaders then handed out the coveted Jack Giesy Golden Horseshoe awards to this year’s most accomplished junior, intermediate and senior participants in the horse division. Accepting the gold buckle engraved with Giesy’s name was made bittersweet for the three champions.

After the memorial, Ann Jones, the eldest of Giesy’s five children with his wife, Dorothy Ann, accepted hugs from friends and family.

“He did all this because he loved it,” Jones said. “The one thing he kept saying before he died was, ‘I really appreciate the community and all the support they have given me and my family.’ ”

Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542; http://twitter.com/col_cityhall; andrea.damewood@columbian.com.