John F. “Jack” Fessler, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS

John F. “Jack” Fessler, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS
John F. “Jack” Fessler, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS
Dr. Fessler was hired in 1960 as an instructor in veterinary surgery at Purdue University. He quickly became a professor and spent his career at the School of Veterinary Medicine.

During his tenure, Dr. Fessler helped establish the ACVS surgical residency program at the university in 1975 and served as a mentor to students specializing in veterinary surgery. He mentored many graduate students and residents and taught large animal surgery to over 2,000 veterinary students. Many of these students are now successful veterinary practitioners here and abroad.

A diplomate and past president of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, he was professor emeritus of large animal surgery at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine since 2002.

He received the ACVS Distinguished Service Award in 1997. In 2002, the American Association of Equine Practitioners honored Dr. Fessler with a Distinguished Educator Award.

Dr. Fessler (OSU ’60), 76, West Lafayette, Ind., died in 2011.

Mentee Comments

Dr. Jack Fessler was one of the most challenging professor and clinician I had going through veterinary school. He was always pushing us for more- more effort, more knowledge, more participation, more involvement. He did not ask because he did not care, he asked because he wanted each veterinary student to be the very best at what we do. He committed his efforts to getting us to that place where we could achieve the most for patients, our customers and ourselves. At the time of graduation, Jack offered an invitation to our class to call whenever we had a need and he would try to help. I took that offer and leaned on him from time to time in my early practice years. He was a tremendous resource and a trusted friend! Jack was truly a special mentor to my equine career.

Duane E. Chappell, DVM, Merck Animal Health, Owingsville, KY

Dr. Fessler was a leader and resource during my first faculty job. He was always present to help as needed and consult or redirect our efforts when indicated. He kept his knowledge base current and kept those around him thinking about what they were doing. He was a very common-sense surgeon and the equine surgery text he published with co-author Dr. Steve Adams is a great reference. His amazing patience was his best teaching skill.

Scott R. McClure, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, Dipl. ACVSMR, Midwest Equine Surgery & Sports Medicine, Boone, IA

Dr. Fessler was “my mentor” and had more influence on my veterinary career than any other person. He set the stage for my entire career from our very first meeting. We were in his office and he asked me why I wanted to be a surgeon. Well, I gave him the standard answer of wanting to learn all these techniques etc. He looked me in the eye and said that was all “crap,” he “could teach a monkey to do surgery, but me, he was going to teach to think.” And he did, my approach to clinical cases and surgery is the same, think through the problems, the anatomy, the pros, and cons, what can go wrong, how to deal with aftercare in different situations. To think, very simple but so profound. For that I am eternally grateful, and I have tried very hard to pay that forward. You have to listen, you must analyze, then move forward and be ready to adapt.

– Tracy A. Turner, DVM, MS, DACVS, DACVSMR, Turner Wilson Equine Consulting, Stillwater, MN