The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Northumberland County

February 24, 2014

50-year veterinarian remembered for service

— SUNBURY — Colleagues and friends of Dr. Donald C. Kamsler, founder of the Sunbury Animal Hospital who died Sunday, remembered him for his skill and his empathy with his clients and his many years of community service.

Kamsler, 85, of Sunbury, a veterinarian for more than 50 years who founded the animal hospital in 1952, died in Nottingham Village, Northumberland.

“I first met him in 1996, when I came to work at the Sunbury Animal Hospital,” said Dr. Beverly Shaw, a veterinarian with the hospital. “He was semi-retired by then, but he would come in and help whenever we needed him. He became a great mentor to me.”

Kamsler’s strength was as a diagnostician, Shaw said. “And that’s a gift that any good veterinarian should have.”

“But he also taught me something else,” she said, “and that was how to be patient with people. How to sit down with a pet owner, work with them, even if they were having financial difficulties.”

Behind the scenes, when the work day was over, Shaw said Kamsler had a wicked, but understated, sense of humor. “Of course, a lot of talk would be about the practice. But he was funny, too. He could tell a joke.”

Tracy Gilligbauer, of Sunbury, a technician at the animal hospital for 27 years, worked with Kamsler before he retired.

“He was very professional in that he wanted things done a particular way,” she said. “He had his ways of doing things. Of course, that was fine, because he was so good at what he did. Even after retirement, he was not one to sit around and do nothing. He would come back to help when needed. He was very good with both large and small animals. The last time I saw him was here, at our open house at the new facility in April.”

Shaw and Gilligbauer said Kamsler felt like he had a great responsibility not only to his clients, but to the community at large. “That’s what we’re here for,” he would tell Shaw.

Kamsler backed up those words with action.

He was a respected member of the Sunbury Rotary Club for almost 62 years, according to Michael Nailor, a past president and district governor. Kamsler served as club president in 1964-65.

“Don was the district’s first leader of a Group Study Exchange along with his wife, Belle,” Nailor recalled. “They led a team of young professionals to Australia and then we hosted a group of Australians. The exchange was to increase international understanding and study the professions of the young people — both here and abroad. In subsequent years, as young professionals from other countries visited Sunbury through the Group Study Exchange, Don took great pleasure in hosting them and showing them the best that Sunbury had to offer in professional and social activities.”

He was for many years the preceptor of the Sunbury Rotary Club, Nailor added, “guiding our presidents and boards of directors with his wise advice. Kamsler was a major influence in the lives of the Rotarians of my generation. He set a living example of Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self. There was never a club project that he did not support and donate hours to make it a success. He was a major donor to the Rotary Foundation, which promotes education and humanitarian efforts around the world.”

His passing affected everyone who knew him.

“I was deeply saddened when I received the news of the death of Dr. Donald Kamsler,” said Victoria Rosancrans, Sunbury Rotary Club president. “Enough cannot be said about his dedication to the Sunbury Rotary Club and his community. On this sad occasion, I express on behalf of the Sunbury Rotary Club our profound sympathy and sincere condolences to the Kamsler family.”

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