Obituary—Donald L Piermattei

20. February 2017

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of AOVET founding member and AO Senior Trustee Donald L Piermattei.

Marsha and Donald Piermattei.Marsha and Donald Piermattei.

Donald Piermattei, a founder and President of AOVET, died in his home in Carr, Colorado, US on January 28, 2017 aged 85. His esteemed colleague and old friend Brigitte von Rechenberg has written a fitting tribute to the AO Senior Trustee.

"Donald left behind his beloved wife Marsha, his son David, their dogs and his mule Babe who were with him until his very last day. A true veterinarian at his heart he always cared for his patients. His gentle nature made it easy for the owners to trust him knowing that their four-legged friends were in very good hands.

There is probably no veterinarian, but certainly no orthopedic small animal surgeon, who didn’t follow his book of “surgical approaches” that was our bible to safely arrive at the surgical sites we needed to repair. Besides caring for patients, he always was involved in saving animals at shelters—unforgettable was our trip to the bear, tigers and lions at the Keenesburg Wild Animal Sanctuary close to Denver. 

I loved visiting Don and Marsha every year. There is always something interesting to learn from history and wild animals in their area or just getting wonderful books to read from them. Don was a great cook and he loved the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.  

Apart from veterinary medicine Don loved to build and fly airplanes. Seeing his airplane construction in the nearby garage, when visiting his cozy home out in the plains of Colorado, was always a pleasure. Like in real life Marsha was his trusted co-pilot when they took off from their airstrip close to their home and flew to their annual airplane convention during the month of August. He missed it both, flying and constructing airplanes, dearly when he finally had to give it up because of old age. His wind hose is still up at the airstrip indicating from which direction the wind is blowing. For me it always will whisper his tale when visiting Marsha at their home also in the future. I will miss his tall figure in the rear mirror of my car waving his friendly good bye when leaving Marsha and Don after a delightful visit during my summer months in Colorado."