Published: Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Elwyn Leroy “Doc” Church was born May 7, 1927, in Norfolk, Neb., to Dr. Harold and Hazel Church. He was raised in Battle Creek, Neb., and attended the public schools there. He played in his high school and college bands and he played in and directed the city band in Battle Creek. He was also a member of the United Methodist Church Choir in Battle Creek.
Doc attended Kansas State College at Manhattan, Kan., and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1949. He met Jacqueline Joyce Vaughan in college and married her on Sept. 5, 1949, in the Wichita, Kan., Baptist church.
They made their home in Battle Creek, where Doc practiced veterinary medicine in partnership with his father. He remained in practice there for 18 years, then accepted a position as veterinary medical officer with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and was stationed in Dickinson, N.D., where he served the western area of North Dakota for 21 years.
Doc became a foreign animal disease diagnostician and served on task forces in eastern North Dakota working on Hog Cholera outbreaks and in Riverside, Calif., on Exotic Newcastle Disease in poultry, which was brought into the state with smuggled pet birds from the far East. He worked on another task force on hog cholera in the Rio Grande area of Texas and another in New Hampshire.
Duties in North Dakota involved the eradication of Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Hog Cholera and other diseases in cattle, horses, hogs and poultry as well as some import-export inspection duties along the Canadian border. Doc was also very adept at suturing his childrens’ injured stuffed animals.
Doc loved to hunt pheasants with his bird dogs. He also enjoyed hunting deer, antelope, elk and moose. In later years, his target practice assisted in the eradication of many prairie dogs.
He was an artist, tooling leather belts, chairs, clocks, purses and quivers. He also created jewelry through his lapidary hobby. Doc had a wonderful sense of humor and had written several entertaining poems and short stories.
Doc survived polio as a teenager and cancer as an adult, but succumbed to diabetes and heart complications. He was a member of AKSARBEN, was a Master Mason for over 57 years and a member of the Pringle United Methodist Church. He was also a member of the Battle Creek and Dickinson archery clubs, Taylor Trap Club and the National Rifle Association for many years and firmly believed that freedom isn’t free.
Upon retirement in February 1988, Doc and Jackie moved to Custer, S.D., where they enjoyed their quarter horses, bird dogs and a cat. Doc loved the Black Hills and the Forest; it was a sacred place to him. It was his paradise.
Doc died Thursday, June 27, 2013, at the Fallon County Medical Center in Baker, Mont. He was 86.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Jackie; parents, Harold and Hazel Church; brother, Marlon Church; and great-grandson, Elijah Bartz.
Doc is survived by his children, Craig of Fargo, N.D., Barbara (Dave) Lupo of Dickinson and Carol (Doug Perry) Bartz of Beach, N.D.; grandchildren, Rob (Amber) Bartz of Richardton, N.D., Kate (Brian) Stephens of Libby, Mont., and Christopher Lupo and Michael Lupo both of Rapid City, S.D.; great-grandchildren Eden, Robert, Ava and Harper Bartz and Sadie Stephens; and brother Dr. Douglas Church of Salem, Ore.
Services were July 3 at Golden Valley Manor in Beach. Condolensces can be left at ladburyfuneralser
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