Veterinarian, fair veteran Jack Giesy dies at 80

Horse arena at fairgrounds named after him




Dr. Jack Giesy, whose life was filled with enthusiastic 4-H youngsters and the thrill of the Clark County Fair, died Saturday. He was 80.

He was a large-animal veterinarian. The horse arena at the fairgrounds is named for him.

“The fair was such a big thing for him,” said his daughter, Linda, 51. “It was really the highlight of his year. He volunteered as the fair vet for over 45 years and he just really loved that.”

Dorothy Ann Giesy said her husband had been in poor health and died at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center. Saturday was their 55th wedding anniversary.

“He’s been very heavily involved in the 4-H,” Dorothy Ann said. “All the 4-H kids know him.”

She said he passed the veterinary board exams on July 15, 1965.

“When we moved here there was a lot of dairies, and so a lot of his work was on the dairies,” Dorothy Ann said. She said there was many a late-night call for help with a cow.

He loved the horses, yes, Dorothy Ann said, “and goats and pigs and sheep.

“He didn’t like to do chickens, but most anything else people had in their backyard.

“He’s had a real nice relationship with the goat club. Everybody out there knows him.”

Asked what her husband thought when the horse arena was named for him, she said, “He never did quite get over that. He never quite figured out why they did that. He was overwhelmed. He still talked about it.”

She said he was not retired and just one month ago had been on a call to a dairy on Sauvie Island in Oregon.

“The guy had an excellent reputation, did a great job,” said Scot Lubbers, also a veterinarian. “He put so much into the community, particularly when it came to the kids. He had a huge heart for kids.”

For the past five years, Lubbers has worked at the fair with Giesy.

Giesy, who worked out of Vancouver Veterinary Hospital, had the job of checking animals to ensure they were healthy enough to be exhibited at the fair.

“Jack, to me, was that buffer between the animal owner and the fair rules. People respected him to the nth degree,” said John Morrison, fair manager/CEO. “He and I just seemed to click from the day I got on that fair board 20 years ago.”

For the past 10 years, a Jack Giesy Golden Horseshoe Award has been presented to the most accomplished junior, intermediate and senior person in 4-H, said Alice Heller, vice president of the Clark County Executive Horse Council.

The award is a belt buckle with Giesy’s name inscribed.

Heller said Giesy was presented with one.

“He wore that buckle everywhere,” she said.

“He had lots of health issues but he still would show up for the kids,” Heller said. “The kids will be the ones who will miss him the most.”

Daughter Linda said, “I remember watching him vaccinate a herd of cows and putting them through the chute,” she said. “I was sitting on the rail fence.

“All through my growing up years, I would go out (on animal calls) with my dad.

“He loved, loved, loved his work,” Linda said. “To the end of his life, he wanted this community to know how much he appreciated their support. He really loved the people who were his clients and I have to say his first love was working with the 4-H kids.”

Linda said her dad grew up in Lake Oswego, Ore., loving animals.

“They had an old farmhouse on Greentree Road and they had a barn where they raised horses. It was in his blood,” she said.

Linda said her sister, Ann Jones, 54, of Vancouver is heavily involved with the fair, working in the 4-H horse office.

The family said a service will be held after this year’s 10-day fair concludes. The fair opens Friday, but without Dr. Jack Giesy.