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Obituary: Dr George Padgett

NEMDA has lost a dear friend and critical advisor. Dr. George Padgett, Professor Emeritus of pathology/veterinary medicine at Michigan State University, recently passed away. Dr. Padgett, one of the world’s leading canine geneticists, wrote the "The Control of Canine Genetic Disease".

He was the guest lecturer at our first Breeders' Seminar at the 2002 Entlefest in Ashtabula. He was also the advisor and genetics consultant for the NEMDA North American Entlebucher Health Survey. He has advised far more than a hundred breed clubs in this regard.

George was always eager to share his vast knowledge with anyone who was willing to listen and learn. George didn’t e-mail and only used his computer for word processing and genetic programs etc. He screened his calls, but as soon as he heard a familiar voice leaving a message he would pop on the phone, "Hello, this is George." But I have been calling for months and leaving messages with no response. "Hey, George, I’m worried about you, please get back to me." I feared the worst but held out hope as his machine was still working. Then the news came of his passing.

Last spring he offered to teach me how to calculate the probability of occurrence of genetic disease based on known incidence. He said it would take several hours but he would not charge me or the club if I could get to Ann Arbor. Jan Vincent flew in to Cleveland and I picked her up and we headed to MI. George insisted that we stay at his home in Okemos. He was such a gentle, kind soul and cute as a button. He insisted that I sleep in his bed and he took the couch with his cats. Jan had the guest room. He cooked us breakfast and then we went to work at his kitchen table. He would beam when we would get the concepts he was teaching. He was delighted that we even cared about genetic disease in the Entlebucher. He took us to the University in the afternoon to meet with Simon Peterson-Jones and out to eat Chinese before we headed home. What fond memories of that visit, which was the last time I saw him in person.

He was always excited at a new genetic tidbit and I can’t tell you how excited and happy he was when I called to tell him we really had the PRA prcd test. He was very proud of NEMDA and our open genetics data base. He felt we were far and away ahead of most breed clubs in this regard.

We will begin to research possible future advisors for future health surveys and related advice but I think we will be very sad for a while before we do that.

Kathleen Kinney
Breed Chair