Gavin Lee Meerdink of Mahomet, Illinois passed away early in the morning on Saturday, July 4, 2020 at Meadowbrook Health Center in Urbana, Illinois.
He was born on June 7, 1945 in Bloomington, Illinois as the eldest of four children to Dr. Peter B. and Geneva (Hubers) Meerdink of Leroy, Illinois. His family moved to Galva, Illinois where he graduated from Galva High School in 1963. He attended Iowa State University (ISU) and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In 1970, he earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. He is from the third generation of Meerdinks to graduate in veterinary medicine from ISU.
Gavin practiced his first year of veterinary medicine at Pines Meadow Veterinary Clinic in Oregon, Illinois. A year later, he moved to Denison, Iowa where he established a primarily large-animal practice that grew quickly. In 1974, his alma mater recruited him back to Ames to teach large-animal internal medicine, and he later transitioned to the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. While working at ISU, Gavin achieved board certification from the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology in 1978. His professional academic career advanced with moves to Michigan State University in 1979, the University of Arizona in 1983, and finally, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1989 where he retired in 2005.
Throughout his career, he authored more than 60 publications and book chapters, made numerous presentations to national and international professional organizations and served in advisory capacities for various organizations, such as corporations, government agencies, racing commissions and zoos. He served as president of four professional organizations, including the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) where the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation was created under his presidency. In 2002, he was awarded the highest honor in his field by receiving the E. P. Pope Memorial Award that annually recognizes one person who has made noteworthy contributions within veterinary diagnostic medicine.
Gavin’s talents and energy were not limited to veterinary medicine. He was passionate about agriculture, especially raising his own livestock and baling his own hay. He never backed away from a challenge – he fixed his own farm equipment which sometimes involved welding, laid brick to build his own shop, and attained a commercial driver’s license (needed to drive a semi) to move his family across the country, not once but twice. He gave of his time to neighbors in need and served his church. Above all, he had the gift of gab, never knew a stranger, and will be remembered for his stories.
He was a devoted husband, father, brother and friend. He is survived by his wife, Lois (Jacobson) Meerdink with whom he was married for 52 years; daughter, Ann Grissom (Doug) and grandchildren, John, Peter, Jacob and Kate of Chicago, IL; son, John (Cammie) and grandchildren, Eva, Daniel and Piper of Mahomet, IL; siblings, Linda Carpenter (Stan) of Austin, TX, Debra Long (Rocky) of Corrales, NM and Denis Meerdink (Pam) of Stockton, CA; brother-in-law, Raymond Jacobson of Milwaukee, WI; and many nieces and nephews.
Donations may be made to Mahomet United Methodist Church (1302 E. South Mahomet Rd. Mahomet, IL 61853; mumc.org) or Alzheimer’s Association (225 N. Michigan Ave., Floor 17 Chicago, IL 60601; alz.org).
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a private graveside service will be held. A gathering to celebrate Gavin’s life will be arranged at a later date.
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Mahomet United Methodist Church
1302 E. South Mahomet Road, Mahomet IL 61853