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Dr. Gary L. Stamp

Obituary for Dr. Gary L. Stamp

January 2, 1944 - May 26, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 75


Dr. Gary Stamp was born on January 2, 1944 in Bloomington, Illinois to Roger and Josephine Stamp. He grew up in White Heath, Illinois where he attended grade school. His love of sports began in the White Heath school gymnasium and was enhanced when a local farmer donated a portion of a cornfield for his neighborhood friends to play baseball. His uncle Roy helped to turn that cornfield into a ball field and was further instrumental in developing his skills and dedication to athletics by making the time to coach him, play catch with him, attend his sporting events and also take Gary and his boyhood friends to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play major league baseball.

Gary graduated from Monticello High School in 1962. While attending Monticello High School, he was selected to the Okaw Valley All Conference Basketball Team for three years, and also achieved state finals in the high hurdles while participating on the track team for 4 years. He was a member of the Student Council, Letterman's Club, National Honor Society and Class president.

Dr. Stamp played guard and was a letterman on the Southern Illinois University Saluki basketball team and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physiology from Southern Illinois University in 1966. He then obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in 1970 from the University of Illinois, followed by a one-year fellowship in clinical pathology.

While attending vet school, Dr. Stamp served as the President, student chapter AVMA (University of Illinois) and the Secretary, national organization of student chapters AVMA. In his capacity as student representative, he attended the numerous conferences, forming friendships and relationships with his veterinary colleagues that would plant the seed of his lifelong commitment to advancing the quality and availability of veterinary emergency care as well as his passion for collaboration, collegiality, education and mentorship.

In 1971, Dr. Stamp joined the United States Air Force, and was assigned to San Vito Air Force base in southern Italy as Chief of Veterinary Services. While in San Vito, he and his family took advantage of the opportunity to explore their host country and parts of Europe and the Middle East, beginning a tradition of traveling as a family that continues to this day. He also developed many cherished life-long friendships. Dr. Stamp served at San Vito until 1974 when he was selected to pursue advanced degree work in small animal internal medicine at Colorado State University (CSU).

Dr. Stamp completed his Master's Degree in 1976, followed by a residency at CSU. During this time, he helped establish an intensive care ward as a specific clinic rotation and became involved with the Critical Care Society, the forerunner of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society. Throughout the following years he and his Critical Care Society colleagues engaged in teaching, organizing and fundraising, developing the society into a cutting-edge provider of continuing education including hands-on labs.

In the summer of 1976, Dr. Stamp was appointed Chief of Medicine of the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base, where military dogs were purchased and trained. In 1978 he was assigned to Ramstein, Germany as chief of the Air Force's military dog referral center in Europe. Dr. Stamp transferred to the Army Veterinary Corps in 1983 due to a congressional mandate to move the Veterinary Corp to the US Army. He completed several additional military assignments for the US Army, including returning to Lackland as Director, Military Dog Veterinary Service, where he was responsible for overseeing the medical care of all military dogs in DOD as well as serving as Deputy Commander for Veterinary Services for all military veterinary services for installations in the northeast United States.

While overseeing the Military Dog Veterinary Service Dr. Stamp became committed to establishing a breeding program that would provide an internal source of military working dogs to supplement the needs of the Department of Defense, reducing the reliance on sourcing puppies from breeders and enabling desired qualities of temperament and abilities to be selected. He laid the groundwork for this program and this work was instrumental in the formation of the DoD Working Dog Breeding Program which currently breeds and trains puppies to serve in all branches of the military detecting explosives and contraband, clearing land mines and performing search and rescue missions.

Dr. Stamp was promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1990, and in 1991 he was invited to attend US Army War College as one of only five Army Veterinary Corps officers in the 90-year history to attend in residence. In September, 1992 he was selected to coordinate the animal care programs related to the Hurricane Andrew devastation and received the Humanitarian Service medal for his work. He served as a consultant to the Army Surgeon General for Veterinary Clinical Medicine from 1992-1999 and received the Army Surgeon General's Award for Excellence in Clinical Medicine in 1994. His 28-year military career culminated with his selection to serve in the position of Commander, United States Army Veterinary Command 1996-99.

While serving in the military, Dr. Stamp continued to be involved with and committed to the work of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, serving as Secretary from 1983-85 and President from 1987-89. Under his leadership, the society convened their first independent educational event, the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium (IVECCS) in 1988. During this time Dr. Stamp co-chaired the organizing committee for the formation of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC), becoming a Charter Diplomate and Founding Member. He served as the college's second President in 1991 and that same year was certified by The American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

In 1996, Dr. Stamp received the Distinguished Service Award from the Veterinary Emergency Critical Care Society and upon retirement from military service in 1999, he dedicated himself to the VECCS full-time and served as the society's Executive Director until 2018. Under his leadership, VECCS has continued to advance the quality and accessibility of emergency medicine, pioneering global change in animal care. The society has grown to 5281 members globally, publishes a quarterly journal and provides a preeminent education program. The International Veterinary Emergency Critical Care Symposium, which began as a bi-annual conference now holds a fall and spring meeting each year, hosting several thousand attendees from around the world.

The work of the society has inspired and encouraged many related organizations: European, Asian and Latin American VECCS have formed and host educational symposiums regionally. Student chapters of VECCS are active in all AVMA-Accredited Veterinary Schools, and veterinary students are welcome and encouraged as active participants in the symposium each year. The Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation was established in 2004 with the mission of supporting educational, research and training projects that will raise the level of patient care for critically ill and injured companion animals. The Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technician and Nurse Specialists, organized in 2015, provides certification to veterinary technicians and nurses as Specialists in Emergency and Critical Care and awarded Dr. Stamp with an honorary membership in thanks for the support and advocacy he showed throughout the years.

In 2013 Dr. Stamp was named to the Monticello High School Hall of Fame. Gary fondly remembered his days at Monticello High School and believed that no one enjoyed their MHS times more than him. He traveled home annually to visit family and friends and especially enjoyed strolling through downtown Monticello sharing these great memories with his children. He also remained ever faithful to his veterinary school alma mater, the University of Illinois, and enjoyed greeting fellow alumnus with "ILL" or "INI." In 2006 he was recognized with the Outstanding Alumni Award by the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine and in 2015 Dr. Stamp and his wife established an endowment fund with the University of Illinois Foundation to improve the level and affordability of emergency care available to the general public.

Gary devoted many hours to his church family, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, serving on the Building Committee, the Landscape Committee and the Pastoral Council. He also served for many years as a Mass Coordinator and as a member of the Knights of Columbus. As President of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) he was instrumental in developing a parish youth sports program, working diligently to build and maintain a sports complex that hosts countless soccer, softball and baseball games annually.

A true servant leader, Dr. Gary Stamp was known for his kindness, humility, inclusiveness and his commitment to paying it forward. He was always grateful for the support and help he received from his family, teachers, friends, colleagues and mentors throughout his career and life, and always took the time to encourage and support others in their efforts. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, working at the SEAS ball fields, watching St. Louis Cardinals baseball, traveling to faraway places, driving in his truck with his dog Charlotte in the passenger seat, helping people, working in general and cold beer from a glass.

Dr. Stamp was preceded in death by his father, Roger Stamp and his mother, Josephine Stamp. He is survived by his wife Mary (Ranek); children Alisa (Mengwasser) and Eric; son-in-law Drew Mengwasser; grandson William Mengwasser; brother, Richard; aunt, Joyce Phillips; and many cousins and friends, including his best friend, Charlotte.

The Rosary will be held 7pm, Thursday, June 13, at St Elizabeth Ann Seton (memorial following). Mass of Resurrection will be at 10am, Friday, June 14, at St Elizabeth Ann Seton with Interment to follow at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery at 1:30pm.

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