Fayette County mourns the loss this week of a man who cared for not only the people in his community, but the animals that have lived there as well.
Gary Dwyer Junk, DVM, 69, of Washington Court House died Tuesday at his home while surrounded by loved ones.
Dr. Junk was born Sept. 28, 1948, in Columbus to Dick R. and Carolyn Dwyer Junk. He was a 1966 graduate of Miami Trace High School and a 1975 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon graduation, he began his veterinary career with his father. They later went on and established the Fayette Veterinary Hospital together with Dr. Daryl Waits joining the practice in 1998. Dr. Junk became American Animal Hospital Association certified in 1988.
On Dec. 28, 1981, he married the former Donna Mary Nieman. She preceded him in death on Dec. 23, 2007 and he was also preceded by his parents.
“I have been working with Gary for 20 years,” Dr. Waits said during an interview Friday. “I stopped in one day when I was back and forth between Hillsboro. So going back and forth to Columbus for school, I decided to stop in one day and ask ‘Hey, mind if I come in and shadow you?’ He was always willing to let anyone come in and shadow and do those kind of things at anytime. So I did that during undergrad and vet school. As I got closer to graduation, there was another practice that I had been looking at, but things didn’t work out so Dr. Junk said, ‘Well hey, why don’t you just come work for me?’ Well that’s the rest of the story and I have been here ever since.”
According to Dr. Junk’s obituary, he was a member of the American, Ohio and Southern Ohio Veterinary Medical Associations and volunteered his services as veterinary to the Fayette County Fair for over 40 years. He was a huge supporter of 4-H, FFA and the youth of Fayette County. He was a member of the Grace United Methodist Church and a member and past president of the Washington Rotary Club.
Additionally, Dr. Junk was a breeder and owner of Standardbred race horses, and was a member of the United States Trotting Association and the Fayette County Harness Horsemen’s Association.
“I always considered myself a work-a-holic, but I just never seemed to be able to outdo him,” Dr. Waits said. “This was his life. His life was being here, helping people and their animals and trying to be available for them whenever they needed him. He always seemed to have a gruff exterior, but once you got to know him, you actually figured out he had a pretty big heart. He always had an easy ear, so if anyone wanted to come and talk to him, he would have them come in and pull up a stool next to his chair and they would just talk.”
According to Dr. Waits, Dr. Junk was always willing to give up his time to help and listen to others. This was probably apparent the most in his efforts to volunteer for not only the Fayette County Fair, but also for the Fayette County Dog Shelter. According to Fayette County Dog Warden Prater Nelson and his assistant Brittany Bryant, Dr. Junk and Dr. Waits did a lot of work for them to keep animals healthy and ready for adoption.
“(Dr. Junk) was my personal vet for my horses and large livestock,” Nelson said. “He allowed our spay and neuter program to start and he did work with us the best he could. A lot of times he would give the treatment for dogs that were hit by a car or would receive heartworm treatment. Anything like that he did at cost and didn’t add more fees. I know he was supportive of me as the assistant and then as the dog warden. He was proud the shelter came as far as it has. (Dr. Junk) was always caring and compassionate. Going over there he would always ask what is new in life, tell us jokes or ask questions about the shelter. He was always very supportive of the shelter and the work we have done here. Animals were his passion. We will miss him and will continue to work with Dr. Waits in the future.”
The funeral is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Grace United Methodist Church with the Rev. Joe Fox, pastor at the church, officiating. Burial will follow in the Washington Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Kirkpatrick Funeral Home in Washington Court House.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy