Obituaries

The Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association lists obituaries of Life Members, Members and Non-Members below:

J. Neil Utkov , DVM - Member

It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. J. Neil Utkov, 58, of Memphis, TN, on Saturday, July 15, 2017.  He passed away at his home in Memphis after a courageous year- long battle with cancer. He died much the way he lived – fearlessly, ever ready for the next adventure, and surrounded by family members who love him fiercely.

A native Memphian, Neil was born on March 10, 1959, to Lida Sellers Utkov and Edmund Utkov. He graduated from Memphis University School in 1977 and completed his doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Post-doctoral studies were completed at The Animal Medical Center in New York City and the University of Missouri at Columbia. Neil served as a member of the Memphis, Shelby County, and Tennessee Veterinary Medical Associations.

Neil loved the outdoors. His passion for animals and wildlife was reflected in both his work and his leisure activities. He founded Pet Health Center – his veterinary practice and life’s work – in 1989 and, that same year, volunteered for 6 months as a staff veterinarian with the Wildlife Rescue Organization in Valdez, Alaska, in response to the disastrous Exxon oil spill. He continued his work in caring for sick and injured wildlife by serving as a volunteer rehabilitator with the Tennessee Wildlife Animal Resource Agency for most of his career.

In 1988, Neil married his high school sweetheart and the light of his life, Jennilyn Jennings. The two lived their 42 years of friendship and 29 years of marriage to the fullest, raising two exceptional sons – George and Nate – and opening their doors on countless occasions to any of God’s creatures (animal and human alike) who needed a place to call home. Neil instructed his family in the art of telling jokes and stories, infusing the Utkov household with the ever-present gifts of laughter and light.

Whether fishing with his boys, cooking for family and friends, taking evening walks with his wife, dogs and a rehabbed crow, or staring out across Mississippi’s Moon Lake, Neil spent as much time as possible soaking up the beauty of creation. His tirelessness and fiercely persistent spirit were tempered by his sense of wonder and his care and respect for all life.

Neil upheld the belief that those who participate in this life with an attitude of compassion will receive its full promise, and he approached opportunity and challenge with a spirit of loving kindness. He is beloved and remembered for his energy, charisma, outrageous sense of humor, determination, unconditional love and acceptance of friends, and a natural instinct to charge head-first toward adventure. We may carry his legacy forward by abandoning the search for security and certainty in this world and remembering not to take ourselves too seriously.

Neil is survived by his wife, Jennilyn Jennings Utkov; his sons, George and Nate Utkov; siblings, Gary Utkov (Carol), Mark Utkov (Nancy), Jennifer Kruchten (Lance) and Deborah Matthews; sixteen nieces and nephews; his constant canine companions, Silver and Sailor; and a far-reaching sea of friends, fishing buddies, clients and colleagues, who adored him universally and absolutely. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edmund and Lida Sellers Utkov, and his brother, Bruce Utkov.

A memorial service for Neil will take place on Friday, July 21, at 2:30 p.m. at Church of the Holy Communion, 4645 Walnut Grove Road, Memphis, Tenn.

In lieu of flowers, Neil requested that loved ones honor his memory with donations to the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County.

A.L. Duckworth Jr. "Ducky" , DVM - Non-Member

Dr. A.L. “Ducky” Duckworth Jr., 83, of Grassy Valley Farm on Whitehouse Road, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday December 19, 2016.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nancy Doty Duckworth; one son and daughter-in-law,Dr. Lee and Lori Duckworth of Greeneville; one daughter and son-in-law, Carla and David Bailey of Knoxville; five grandchildren: Ashley Duckworth, Andrew Duckworth, Alexandra Duckworth, Sara Katherine Bailey and Abigail Bailey; one nephew, Dr. John Doty, and his wife, Nicole; and one niece, Margaret Forni, and her husband, Kevin.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Ancel and Sara Duckworth.

He was a member of First Baptist Church Greeneville, TN for 73 years. He was a retired Veterinarian, life-long avid Angus breeder, and a lover of the American Fox Hound. “Ducky,” as he was affectionately known, was born in Gainesville, GA in 1933. His family moved to Greeneville in 1935 where his father established Duckworth Animal Hospital.He graduated from Greeneville High School in 1951, where he played both football and baseball. He played college football at Jones Junior College in Ellisville, MS. He then graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa.

In 1959, Ducky graduated from Auburn University as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He was a member of Omicron Tau Sigma, a professional fraternity. He then returned to Greeneville, and joined his father at Duckworth Animal Hospital where he spent his 45-year professional career. Ducky was inducted into the Greeneville High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 for his accomplishments in football and baseball. That same year, he received the J.W. Massengill Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the Greene County Partnership. Ducky had a special affection for the people of agriculture in Greene County. He spent his life aiding in the care of their livestock and the advancement of scientific production practices. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend.

The family will receive friends on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church Greeneville. The funeral service will follow at 7 p.m. with Rev. James Mays and Dr. David Green officiating. A graveside service and interment will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at Graceland Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be Andrew Duckworth, Phil Justis, Dwight King, Steve Miller, Sonny Marsh, Ben Stonecypher Jr., Homer Stout and Bobby Wells. Honorary pallbearers include: the members of his Sunday school class at First Baptist Church, Hugh Wells, and all close friends.
Thoughts and memories may be shared with the family at www.jeffersmortuary.com. Jeffers Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a favorite charity or the Community Ministries Food Bank. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Ancel Lee Duckworth please visit our Sympathy Store.

William Robert Lee "Bill" , DVM - Non-Member

It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. William Robert Lee “Bill,” 38, of Brentwood, TN, on Thursday, November 3, 2016. Born March 11, 1978, he was raised in Memphis, TN, the cherished son of Kent and William R. Lee, Jr. He was a born again Christian, graduating from Briarcrest Christian High School in 1996. His faith was important to him, as was his love of adventure. He was never happier than when mountain biking, wakeboarding or snowboarding with his beloved sons, Colton and Hunter.

After graduating as Salutatorian from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2000, he went on to study Veterinary Medicine there, graduating in 2004. Accepted into a prestigious residency, Bill went on to become one of the few Veterinary Radiologists in the world. He was highly respected in the Veterinary community, and will be greatly missed.

During his time in Knoxville, he met and married the love of his life, Marissa Anne Lee. Together they raised their two wonderful sons, Bill always referring to them affectionately as his “buddies.” Bill was also close with his sister, Andrea Lee Dunn and her family. They spent many summers adventuring on the lake, and he treasured time with his nephews, Garrett and Eli. Bill will always be remembered for how much he loved his family.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Lee, Sr. He is survived by a large and loving family consisting of his wife of 14 years, Marissa Anne Lee; his two “buddies”, William Colton Lee and Thomas Hunter Lee; his devoted parents, Kent and William R. Lee, Jr.; his only sister, Andrea Lee Dunn and her husband, James Dunn, as well as their sons, Garrett and Eli; his grandparents, Frances and Robert L. Winstead, Sr.; his aunt and uncle, Kim and Bobby Winstead, Jr., and cousins Robert and Shelby; his aunt and uncle, Gail and Michael Doster; and cousins Alaina D. Joyner and her family; Stacy D. Haywood and her family; Karen Doster and her family; Lee Doster and his family; and Brett Doster. Bill was greatly loved and can never be replaced.

Celebration of Life will be 6:00PM Monday, November 7, 2016 at Clearview Baptist Church, Jacob M. Scrimpshire officiating. Memorials may be made to the William Colton & Thomas Hunter Lee Educational Fund at any First Tennessee Bank. WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, 615-794-2289. www.williamsonmemorial.com

John Richard Kruckeberg , DVM - Member

It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of John Richard Kruckeberg, DVM, 66, of Williamsport, TN on Monday, October 31, 2016.   Dr. John Kruckeberg was born in Greenville, Ohio, on February 1, 1950, to the late Ott and Helen Kruckeberg. He attended Ohio State University where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1976. Dr. Kruckeberg served his country in the Army Veterinary Corp. for three years, after which he and his wife, Linda, purchased Animal Medical Clinic in Columbia, Tennessee, in 1979. Shortly after, he bought a farm in Williamsport where he enjoyed many hours farming and caring for his livestock and many pets. After thirty years he sold the clinic and worked part-time at several local veterinary clinics and the Maury County Animal Shelter. His main passion in life was missionary work with Christian Veterinary Mission. He began mission work in the mid 90s and served on countless mission trips both domestic and international until his passing. Dr. John had a strong love and concern for the Native American people. Reverend Arch Warren, former Zion Presbyterian pastor, described him as a “missionary disguised as a veterinarian”. Dr. John was a long time member of Zion Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon, elder, and head of the mission committee. He was a dedicated Christian, a devoted husband, father, and a Godly man. He loved people and loved animals and considered it a privilege to serve both. Above all, he loved God, his family, people, and animals. He will be greatly missed. The family will visit with friends on Friday, November 4, 2016, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Williams Funeral Home in Columbia, Tennessee. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at Zion Presbyterian Church with Rev. Paul Joiner officiating. Burial will follow at Zion Presbyterian Cemetery.  Dr. Kruckeberg is survived by his wife of thirty-eight years, Linda Lee Thomas Kruckeberg; his children Jessica (Aaron) Butler of Burns, Tennessee, Virginia (Peter) Willems of Williamsport, Tennessee, John P. Kruckeberg of Augusta, Georgia, and Joseph Kruckeberg of Chattanooga, Tennessee; grandson John Ransom Willems; brother JP Kruckeberg of American Falls, Idaho; sister Charlotte Buchy of Atkins, Arkansas; and several nieces and nephews. Donations can be made in memory to Christian Veterinary Mission, 19303 Fremont Ave. North, Seattle, WA, 98133 (www.cvmusa.org), Zion Presbyterian Church mission committee, and/or Maury County Animal Shelter. Williams Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.williamsfh.com.

Aaron Holland Groth Jr. , DVM - Non-Member

It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Aaron Holland Groth Jr., of Auburn, AL on October 30, 2016.  Dr. Groth was born in Ames, Iowa, on August 23, 1927, and grew up in Austin, Minnesota, Fairbault, Minnesota, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He moved from Baton Rouge to Auburn, Alabama, following his discharge from The U.S. Navy in the summer of 1946 where he earned his B.S. from Auburn University in 1949 and Dr. of Veterinary Science in 1954. Dr. Groth also earned his M.S. of Veterinary Pathology from Iowa State University in 1957 and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 1960. In 1957, he returned to Auburn to begin a career at Auburn University. His professorship began in 1959 and included Professor and Head of Department, Pathology and Parasitology from 1964 to 1981 and Professor, Department of Pathobiology from 1981 until his retirement as Professor Emeritus 1993. Dr. Groth was active in the Alabama State Veterinary Medical Association from 1967 to 2002, serving on the Executive Board from 1967 to 1973, Vice President in 1974, President Elect 1975, and President in 1976. He continued to serve as Executive Vice President from 1981 to 2001 and was a delegate to the National Association from 1993 to 1996. He was also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Southern Veterinary Medical Federation, and served on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society, Alabama Division, from 1969 to 1988 and served as president from 1985 to 1987.

Aaron is survived by his 3 children, Aaron (Hollie) Groth III, of Auburn, Catherine E. Groth of Pensacola, Florida, and Steven G. Groth of Maryland; grandchildren, Shannon Groth Clark of Tennessee, Steven A. Groth, Kirsten Renee Groth, and Joseph Edward Groth of Maryland. Aaron was predeceased by his beloved wife of 61 years, Geraldine Deloney Groth, and sister, Majorie Groth Beckwith.

A graveside service will be 10:00 a.m. Friday, November 4, 2016 at Memorial Park Cemetery, Auburn, Alabama with Dr. Corey Smith officiating. A visitation is scheduled for Thursday, November 3, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home, Opelika, Alabama. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home & Crematory is directing. www.jeffcoattrant.com

Claude Barton, DVM - Life Member

Dr. Claude E. Barton 87, of Nashville, died May 14. After graduating from Auburn, Dr. Barton served in the U.S. Air Force until 1955. This included a year in Germany during the Korean War. He also served in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard until 1988. The majority of his career in veterinary medicine was dedicated to the eradication of Brucellosis from domestic livestock. He served as the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association’s President in 1977. He was the recipient of the TVMA Distinguished Service Award in 1980. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, brother and several nieces and nephews.

Penny Iannacone, DVM - Member

Penny Iannacone, DVM, 57, of Knoxville, TN passed away on Thursday, September 15, 2016. Dr. Penny, as everyone knew her, brought joy to many lives by helping people keep their pets healthy and happy. She strongly believed that through sharing their lives with a pet, people would not only experience joy and companionship but also come to appreciate the natural world around us and the need to preserve it for the future.

Dr. Iannacone graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and was a member of the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

She is survived by her husband Albert (Al); her mother Lavina Watkins of Liberty, Missouri; her two sons Michael and Matthew, both of Knoxville; a brother, Patrick Watkins of Kansas City, Missouri, his wife Deena Watkins and their daughter Katie. Her father, William Watkins of Liberty, Missouri and her 15-year companion, her Jack Russell terrier Sprite, preceded her in death.

Friends will be received on Wednesday, September 21 at Berry Highland Memorial Funeral Home, 5315 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, from 4:30 to 7:30 PM.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to a scholarship fund in Penny Iannacone’s memory: send to UT College of Veterinary Medicine, Attention: Kippy Todd, 2407 River Drive, A301P, Knoxville, TN 37996. Please make checks payable to UT Foundation.

Louis Graham, DVM - Life Member

Dr. A.L. “Ducky” Duckworth Jr., 83, of Grassy Valley Farm on Whitehouse Road, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday December 19, 2016.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Nancy Doty Duckworth; one son and daughter-in-law,Dr. Lee and Lori Duckworth of Greeneville; one daughter and son-in-law, Carla and David Bailey of Knoxville; five grandchildren: Ashley Duckworth, Andrew Duckworth, Alexandra Duckworth, Sara Katherine Bailey and Abigail Bailey; one nephew, Dr. John Doty, and his wife, Nicole; and one niece, Margaret Forni, and her husband, Kevin.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Ancel and Sara Duckworth.

He was a member of First Baptist Church Greeneville, TN for 73 years. He was a retired Veterinarian, life-long avid Angus breeder, and a lover of the American Fox Hound. “Ducky,” as he was affectionately known, was born in Gainesville, GA in 1933. His family moved to Greeneville in 1935 where his father established Duckworth Animal Hospital.He graduated from Greeneville High School in 1951, where he played both football and baseball. He played college football at Jones Junior College in Ellisville, MS. He then graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree and was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa.

In 1959, Ducky graduated from Auburn University as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He was a member of Omicron Tau Sigma, a professional fraternity. He then returned to Greeneville, and joined his father at Duckworth Animal Hospital where he spent his 45-year professional career. Ducky was inducted into the Greeneville High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 for his accomplishments in football and baseball. That same year, he received the J.W. Massengill Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the Greene County Partnership. Ducky had a special affection for the people of agriculture in Greene County. He spent his life aiding in the care of their livestock and the advancement of scientific production practices. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, mentor, and friend.

The family will receive friends on Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church Greeneville. The funeral service will follow at 7 p.m. with Rev. James Mays and Dr. David Green officiating. A graveside service and interment will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at Graceland Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be Andrew Duckworth, Phil Justis, Dwight King, Steve Miller, Sonny Marsh, Ben Stonecypher Jr., Homer Stout and Bobby Wells. Honorary pallbearers include: the members of his Sunday school class at First Baptist Church, Hugh Wells, and all close friends.
Thoughts and memories may be shared with the family at www.jeffersmortuary.com. Jeffers Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a favorite charity or the Community Ministries Food Bank. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Ancel Lee Duckworth please visit our Sympathy Store.

It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of Louis Graham, DVM, 69, of Hendersonville,TN on Wednesday, August 17, 2016.  He is Preceded in death by his mother: Madelyn Graham; Brother and Sister-in-law: Dr. Steven & Norma Graham. He is survived by his father: Dr. Louis Graham; wife: Andrea Graham; Daughters: Jennifer Graham, Ashley Warren (Joey); Step-Daughters: Brittany Gingras, and Brooke Baker; Grandchildren: Nicholas Graham, Gavin & Graham Warren, Phoenix Gingras, and Brileigh Baker; & Several Nieces & Nephews.

Louis was born in Virginia on January 3, 1947. He graduated from Hillsboro High School in Nashville Class of 1965, and shortly after enlisted in the Naval Reserves. After the reserves, he then attended University of Tennessee at Martin to obtain his undergraduate degree and went on to receive his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University in 1978. After graduation, his family moved to Hendersonville where Graham Animal Clinic was established. He devoted the next three decades of this life caring for the pets of the Hendersonville community. He was presented with the Man of the Year Award from the Sumner County Humane Society as a result.

Honorary pallbearers include: Dr. Mike Head, Bruce Arnold, Erik Graham, Scott Merkel, Donny Fetzer, Eric Keith, Les Lamberth

Dr. Graham will be missed not only by his friends and family but also by his furry friends.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Humane Society of Sumner County and hug your furry family members extra tight today.

Visitation:  August 27, 12:00PM – 4:00 PM

Austin & Bell Funeral Home and Cremation Service is in charge of arrangements.
104 Sanders Ferry Road
Hendersonville, TN 37075
(615) 822-4442
www.austinandbell.com