Former Hoard’s veterinary columnist, Dr. Lee Allenstein, passes away

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Former Hoard’s veterinary columnist, Dr. Lee Allenstein, passes away

Date: 
Tue, 10/25/2011

Lee Allenstein

Allenstein authored over 350 Hoard columns and was lead veterinarian at World Dairy Expo.

Leader, problem solver, teacher, and cowman. These are all words that easily describe the career of Dr. Leland Allenstein who passed away on October 22.

Dr. Allenstein’s influence on students, veterinarians, and producers is legendary. In fact, when it comes to impacts, no other man may have had a larger impact on the dairy veterinarian profession than Dr. Leland Allenstein.

“He had the respect of the entire industry,” said Tom McKittrick, the former general manager of World Dairy Expo. “It is not something that he was given; it was something that he earned.”

“As general manager of the show, I hear most of the complaints, and it seems impossible to please everyone. With the understanding that our show attracts the best cows in the world, not only did I never receive a complaint regarding Doc’s service and assistance, I received many, many compliments over the years,” said McKittrick of the veterinarian who headed up animal care for 25 years at World Dairy Expo.

From the very beginning, Lee showed his ability by completing just one year of course work at Iowa State before being admitted into the School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduation, Lee began practicing at the Whitewater Veterinary Hospital in Wisconsin. Six months later, the young Allenstein purchased the practice.

Allenstein went on to make a tremendous mark in our industry, ranging from 30 years of writing over 350 columns for Hoard’s Dairyman, to serving as president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and receiving its highest honor — Practitioner of the Year Award in 1982. Four years later, he was elected member of the National Academy of Practice.

In addition, Allenstein served on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Allenstein received numerous teaching awards over the years, including the SCAVMA Clinical Teacher Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association which is the top teaching honor in the nation for a veterinarian.

During his career, Allenstein could relate to scholar and dairy producer alike. A strong supporter of educating more young veterinarians interested in large animal work, Dr. Allenstein was a driving force in the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He went before the Wisconsin State Legislature to lobby for the school. After several years of work, other state agricultural groups joined the campaign. Allenstein and the other groups convinced the legislature that the school wasn’t only for veterinarians but was being built for the state’s livestock industry.

In 1987, Lee became a clinical professor and later a faculty associate. He instructed soon-to-be veterinarians while maintaining his practice with 18 herds in the Whitewater area. This gave students the opportunity to learn needed science, while, at the same time, gaining practical knowledge from a hands-on veterinarian. For Lee, relating science to the real work was a lifelong pursuit.

In honor of his tremendous teaching skills, the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison named its 50-plus-cow dairy the Leland Allenstein Dairy Teaching Herd. Today, the herd gives students access and opportunities to all aspects of dairying, including veterinary medicine.

Dr. Allenstein has been awarded the highest honors from each of the major veterinary associations, some already mentioned. In addition, dairy producers and allied industry have recognized him by being named a Distinguished Service Award winner by the Wisconsin Holstein Association, Industry Man of the Year by World Dairy Expo, and Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year. Allenstein also is an honorary member of the Klussendorf Society and the 2006 National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor.

For further reading about Dr. Allenstein, attached to this blog is a September 10, 2005, feature story, "While many treat cows, Allenstein was Doctor to the Stars." Click here for story.

An avid fisherman, we cite the poem, The Fisherman’s Prayer read by Dr. Allenstein during his acceptance speech as the 2006 National Dairy Shrine Guest of Honor.

I pray that I may live to fish
Until my dying day.
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray:
When in the Lord's great landing net
And peacefully asleep
That in His mercy I be judged
Big enough to keep.