Total Pageviews

Friday, March 18, 2011

Harry J. Fallon, Cornell DVM Class of 1938 (A Memorial Tribute)

Posted March 18, 2011
Author Dr. Donald F. Smith,

This historical blog is in recognition of the 150th anniversary 
of the American Veterinary Medical Association (1863-2013).

Dr. Harry Fallon, one of the last living members of Cornell's Veterinary Class of 1938, died March 11, 2011 at age 95. I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Fallon as he shared his life story with me in December 2007.

Dr. Harry J. Fallon (2007)
Photo by the author
The son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Harry grew up in the Catskill Mountain area of New York State. Harry FELDMAN, as he was known during his youth, developed an interest in veterinary medicine through his frequent interaction with animals and crops that provided food for the family hotel business.

He enrolled in the College of Agriculture at Cornell and worked at a pheasant rearing facility to improve his candidacy for admission to veterinary college. He matriculated in 1934, after one year preveterinary studies.

Fearing that he may not get a job after graduation with a Jewish-sounding name, Harry changed his surname to FALLON before his final year. Ironically, the practice in Akron, OH that hired him was owned by a Catholic and a Quaker, and they often preferred to hire Jewish graduates. Regardless of his name, Dr. Harry Fallon fit right in!

Akron was a bustling community at the time, and Fallon's mentors, L.D. Barrett from Ohio State, and H.P. Noonan from Cornell, gave him a solid grounding in business and clinical medicine. Two years later, Fallon relocated to Huntington, West Virginia, where he established that city's first exclusive small animal practice. Except for his WWII service in the Veterinary Corps, he remained in Huntington throughout his career.

"A Big Frog in a Small Puddle" is how Dr. Fallon modestly described his impact in West Virginia when he compared himself to some classmates who established small animal practices in New York City. However, he cared for the pets of mayors, the State governor, and numerous community leaders. He was also president of the West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association and was twice named State Veterinarian of the Year.

A more complete biography of Dr. Fallon, and the transcipt and audio of his interview can be found at,%20Harry%20J.%20'38%20BioInt.pdf

Dr. Smith invites comments at