We are deeply saddened by the death, on July 1, 2009, of Dr. Erwin Small, former associate dean for alumni and public affairs and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. His life was deeply intertwined with the heart and soul of our College and University. Literally thousands of former students, colleagues, and animal owners have known him as friend, mentor, and “doc.”

Dr. Small earned a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the College in 1957 and joined the faculty in 1958. He received numerous national and international awards, including being named “Illinois Veterinarian of the Year” by the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association in 1973, being a Distinguished Life Member of the American Animal Hospital Association, and receiving the President’s Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association and service awards from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the Chicago VMA, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

In 2001 Dr. Small was honored for his work with the Seventh War Dog Platoon of the United States Marine Corps. Dr. Small served in the Marines from April 1944 to May 1946 and again from October 1950 to December 1951 and was a lifetime member of the 4th Marine Division.

A lifelong bachelor who devoted all his time and energy to the College and organized veterinary medicine, Dr. Small once noted “I have over 3,000 kids—all Illinois graduates—and 55,000 veterinarians in my family. How can you beat those numbers?”

We encourage everyone from this extended family to share their memories on this site.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Share Your Memories of Dr. Erwin Small

Post your memories by clicking on the comments link below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the "Comment As" section, please chose "Name/URL" and include your full name and the following URL: www.vetmed.illinois.edu

If you have questions about this blog or experience any problem posting, please e-mail Debra Domal at domal@illinois.edu or call 217/265-8511.


  1. Erv was one of a kind!

    Joe Meller
    Class of 1957

  2. Erv was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed.

    Ed Short
    Class of 1957

  3. I can only smile when I think that Heaven has received a new veterinary
    practitioner, looking sharp in his Marine Corps dress uniform, of course
    with an Orange and Blue scarf as additional adornment. If you believe, as I
    do, that our animal companions join us in our after life, I would love to
    see Dr. Small's face as he is reunited with his loyal guard dog who served
    with him on Iwo Jima in 1945.

    The contributions of Dr. Small to our College, University and the Profession
    were enormous. We have lost a leader, a mentor, an advocate, a teacher, and
    a colleague. But most of all we have lost the single greatest alumnus in
    the history of the UI College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Douglas Feller
    Class of 1977

  4. I was so sad to hear of Dr Small passing away. I had not seen him in 2 years and to Illinois veterinarians graduating prior to the 90s he was an inspiration, serving as mentor, advisor, colleague, friend and was the face of Illinois veterinary medicine for nearly 40 years.

    Gary Stamp
    Class of 1970

  5. I'll never lose the vision of Erwin Small, chomping away on one of his beloved cigars, walking the halls of the clinic like the marine he was, on patrol..

    In life, you have very few people you can call friends. There are fewer teachers who you can recall who have affected your life. Erwin Small was that teacher to me and to many. He was a friend of veterinary medicine. His family were the U of I students and faculty. Amazingly, he would recall details about the personal lives of all of us and encourage us to keep trying our best. He knew our families, our backgrounds and our struggles.

    What I found to be one of his most remarkable qualities was his uncanny ability to quickly resolve problems. He would gather the facts from the interested parties and make a well thought out decision without procrastination, that was reasonable and understood to be fair by most involved. Of course, this is the key trait of great leaders. We were lucky to be led, at one time or another, by him.

    If it were not for Erwin Small, DermaPet, my company, would not be in existence. If ever there were someone from the UI who should have an endowment named after him, it is he. Please join me NOW in my quest to match your donations to quickly build an endowment in his honor. http://vetmed.illinois.edu/advancement/giving.html.

    Steve Melman VMD
    Founder, DermaPet
    Resident in Dermatology, 86-88

  6. Dr. Erv Small was an icon at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. His Illini school spirit was contagious, and his uniquely positive contributions to my whole vet. med. experience was inspiring. My condolences go out to his family for their loss as well as ours.

    Martha M. Lee-Armour
    Class of 1989

  7. My beloved Uncle E - I grew up so proud of my Unc! I can't quite wrap my head around the fact he is gone. As kids we used to love to smell his cigars and listen to his stories. And we always had our U. of Illinois t-shirts on! Whenever I had a pet question, I'd call up Uncle Erwie to ask about it. I had a pet rabbit in college and wanted to fly him back from Boston to Seattle. I called up Unc to ask if I needed to do anything special for my pet. I got the advice I needed and my rabbit made the trip just fine. Uncle Erwie is with Pal now, and all of the other countless, wonderful animals he has direcly and indirectly helped and loved. Uncle E - the family sends our deepest love to you!

  8. As a veterinarian I must feel very humble to have had Dr. Small as an instructor, advisor and long time friend. His commitment to veterinary medicine to say the least was outstanding. Classmates of mine, veterinarians who graduated from different colleges, and deans of other veterinary colleges since his death have all expressed to me the great honor and credibility he brought to the profession through local, state and national activities. Dr. Small was truly a Fighting Illini who received many awards including the Illini Dads Award several falls ago as well as receiving a varsity “I” and being a member of the Varsity Illini organization. As an Illinois graduate the two greatest Fighting Illini of all time are two people born in Massachusetts but became the most honorable, dedicated, and loyal Illini in history. Those two individuals who came from similar backgrounds were former Coach Ray Eliot and Dr. Erwin Small. Thank you Dr. Small.

  9. It was truly a sad day in the history of the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine with the passing of Dr. Small. I have many memories of him as we all do. With every alumnus I meet, I say, "I am going to give you a name and you tell me your story." "Erv Small". Immediately, they smile and tell a personal story. A small token of his impact on this College and our profession.

    Chuck Wiedmeyer DVM, PhD, DACVP
    Class of 1994

  10. Dr Small taught me the understanding that while Veterinary Medicine is a profession, we at Illinois are also a family. We may have family squabbles, but it is because we want the best. We love each other, those that are coming after us, and the animals who count on us to improve their health, help alleviate their suffering. And sometimes even help their human owners to learn that life does go on, because it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
    May God bless you and your family. My life is much richer and improved because Dr Small was not just a 'small' part of it, but because he was willing to share his life with us.

    Raymond J. Ramirez DVM
    Illinois class of 86

  11. Everyone remembers Dr. Small because of his deep commitment to the profession and all that it meant to become a veterinarian. He taught us that if our profession is to prosper, it will do so only through the efforts of leadership from within the profession. I remember clearly the day in orientation when he told us that we would join the AVMA in vet school and we would join the ISVMA upon graduation--and if we did not, he would come visit each & every one of us--and we knew he would, thus U of I had 100% AVMA enrollment of graduates for the majority of its history. After his retirement, Dr. Small was still present for us. He made us all feel welcome to the College, and made sure we knew he knew who we were. IL Vet Med is what it is today because of his devotion to the College.

    He will live forever in our hearts and memories.

    Lisa Chassy Skelley, DVM '94, MS '01
    Knoxville, TN

  12. Memories of Dr. Small....you mean the guy who they named the Small Animal Clinic after at U of I? Well, I finally realized by the time I became a VM-4 that this was not true...but it should have been!!! He was the absolute best. Everything from his Illini cheers and sports updates at the Alumni receptions at AVMA to his stories during Derm class....you know the one about the women who pulled up her shirt in the exam room to show Dr. Small the Sarcoptes lesions on her breasts. Or his story of how he tricked students into tasting a urine sample to diagnose diabetes mellitus.

    he was the real leader of the college regardless of his title at the time. I remember when our class did our senior movie, Dan McCormick dressed up as Dr. Small and played the part of the guy from Hill Street Blues who sent the officers out on rounds after the morning roll call...in this case it was sending us out on ambulatory rounds.

    Dr. Small knew where ALL his students ended up after graduation and could hook you up with anyone when you were looking for a job. Students and the University were everything to him. Though I knew his end was coming it did not stop me from having a tear well up when I got the news.

    All I know is that when Dr. Small goes to meet St. Peter at the pearly gates, old St. Pete will be in Orange and Blue in honor of Erv. Oskee Wow Wow Dr. Small. You will be missed.

    John Ciribassi
    Class of '84

  13. Attendant to every admission to the U. of I. College of Veterinary Medicine was an extraordinary benefit unmentioned in the letter of acceptance.

    The day you became part of the College, you also became a very important person in the eyes and heart of Dr. Erv Small. From that moment forward, you were family to him.

    Erv was a true and reliable friend - always faithful - to not only his Marines, but to his Illini DVM corps as well.

    Ed Lewis
    Class of '72

  14. One of the things that made Dr. Small so extraordinary is that he supported students seeking alternatives to the "traditional" physiology labs. I will never forget his compassion to those students desperate to learn required course-work, but without taking an animal's life to obtain it. This was very rare in the established UI faculty, and I admired him greatly for it. I am sad to hear of his passing, and will remember him fondly.

    Linnaea Scott, DVM
    Class of 2002
    Pasadena, CA

  15. Dr. Small was an inspiration that could explain why I spent more than 30 years on active duty in the US Army to include active duty now at age 69. He was always a Marine first and I’m delighted to read that his final resting place will be in Arlington National Cemetery. In 1962, I spent the summer working and living at the U of I small animal clinic in the converted beef barn. Doctor Small’s hobby was his profession and he was often at the clinic at all hours day and night. There was never a more dedicated professor and mentor. The U of I College of Veterinary Medicine today owes more to Doctor Small’s professionalism and devotion than any other factor. Semper Fidelis

    William K (Kent) Kerr, COL, VC, Class of 1964
    CMR 488 Box 321
    APO AE 09088
    Tel: 011 49 162 296 1627; DSN (314)493-4423
    Email: kent.kerr@us.army.mil or kentkerr@msn.com

  16. Gary Ellison Class of 75July 8, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    Dr Erwin Small had such an indelible effect on so many of our lives. Not only did he dedicate his professional life to the college, its students and organized veterinary medicine he also gave us our true common bond as U of I alumni. He took time to send us notices when classmates of ours passed. He took time to update us at alumni reunions and give grand tours whenever we returned to the college never forgetting our name or the year we graduated.

    For many of us he made the phone call that got us that first job or wrote those first letters of recommendation that started us on the road to specialization. Due to his help some of us were even able to obtain faculty positions at CVM's elsewhere. Yet as Dr Small so aptly reminded us when we departed from the U of I, "wherever you go you will always be an Illini".

    Thank you Dr Small for all that you did to help and inspire so many!

    Gary Ellison, Class of 1975

  17. Dr. Small in presenting his case for promotion from assistant professor to full professor was asked by a panel of deans from other colleges why he should bypass the rank of associate professor. The Sarge said that corporals received battlefield lieutenant commissions. The committee stated that happened during wartime. The Sarge stated that his experience for promotion was wartime. He was promoted as wished!!! He will be missed. Ron Kolar, DVM Class of 1960

  18. Erv was Veterinary Medicine at Illinois. He mentored every student and kept track of our lives and families after graduation. He gave everything to everyone he encountered.Words cannot describe the loss to the profession and the college- there will never be another.
    I can stll see him with the cigar going down the hall speaking to every student making us feel better and recognized. He held our hand if we needed it and got us our first job when we graduated. He ran interference if we got in trouble. We are all blessed to have had him a part of our lives. He was a lifetime friend.
    Bob Reich
    Class of 1972

  19. I was sad to hear that my beloved uncle passed away. He was a loved member of our family and clearly loved by many friends and colleges. I know his memory will be with us forever and he will continue to contribute to veterinary medicine through those he taught and inspired. Uncle E, you will be greatly missed.

  20. I thought all along that I was going to be a small animal clinician somewhere in the Chicago area, but Dr. Small and fate intervened. I was in class in the old small animal clinic and bored by the eastern European accent of Dr. R. when Dr. Small burst into the classroom and announced that he nedded a strong back (and he may have mumbled something about a weak mind). i reaise my hand in a flash and went with him to be handler of my first of a long string of wildlife and unusual pets. Eventually Dr. Small's actions ld me to a career as veterinarian for the Woodland Park Zo in Seattle and 40 years of privately owned exotic pets. I can see Dr. Small every day, bursting into that class as only he could. What a presence he was and what a mentor to us all.

  21. I never had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Small in the clinics, but I will always remember during our first year orientation how he lead us in the traditional and famous I-L-L, I-N-I chant in the Basic Sciences Building! Years later, when I had returned for grad school, I was eating a quick lunch in the cafeteria and he sat across from me and said in his gruff, Marine Corps voice, "Hey, Fick, howya doing?" I felt honored that he even remembered me and amazed how he asked questions that showed he followed the lives of all the students. He truly and without doubt cared about all those he worked with and was a true blessing to our lives and to the profession. I feel honored to have known him and consider him an icon to the college. If there is anyone worth emulating in this world, it is him.

  22. As a classmate of Erv's, I have many fond memories of our 4 years at U of I. Erv had to deal with a bunch of renegade classmates. Were we really going to strike the Small Animal Cl. as juniors, protesting early am cleaning of cages?? Erv talked us out of that one but was unsuccessful in getting us to clean up our act for our senior "pageant". That eliminated the opportunity for some future classes to perform - fortunately, we were not all expelled. We provided Erv with a lot of learning material on how to deal with veterinary students.

    Erv was my constant chaperone on Saturday night dates during junior and senior year. God bless you, Erv!

  23. My late husband, Harold McCutchan (DVM '54) was a long time friend and colleague of Erv. Indeed, U. of Illinois and Veterinary Medicine forms a family bond, a way of life and a true extended family. My family and I remember our family vacations to veterinary conventions all over the country--and always looked forward to Erv gathering with U of I alumni. His passing ends an era, but I hope he is not forgotten. Thank you, Erv and U of I College of Veterinary Medicine.

  24. Dr. Small was a role model and mentor to me while I was a student and is one of the key individuals responsible for my sucesses in veterinary medicine.

    FREDERICK H DRAZNER DVM, Dip. ACVIM (1978), Ill. 1972.

  25. He was a great guy and a huge presence.

    John Barlow
    Class of 1992

  26. The Veterinary profession has lost a great advocate, mentor and leader along with a wonderful human being.
    Dr. Small will be missed. However, he will be remembered by all that he influenced during his long and distinguished career. Just thinking about him brings back many fond memories and puts a smile on my face.

    John Mahoney
    Class of 1977

  27. I remember feeling reassured in the early mornings when arriving at the SAC, knowing that Dr. Small had been there before us - you knew because of the faint whiff of his ubiquitous cigar. I thought for the first 3 years of Vet School that the Small Animal Clinc was named for him - truth is, it really is. We were his kids, each and every student who passed through those halls, and he worried about us exactly as any parent would. I was in Dean Bailey's office one day - Dr. Small was there and was actually in tears over a student who was struggling with the work. He will be missed but his presence will live on at the University of Illinois.

    Connie Brunkow, DVM
    Class of 1989

  28. Dr. Small was an inspiration to all of those who aspired to the specialty of dermatology in the early days. As has been appropriately referred to as the "Sarge" ( I can still picture him with his "stogie" in his mouth and marine haircut, (whitch helped label him as "Sarge") and his total giving to each and everyone wanting to or believing in the specialty of dermatology. He became a great friend and a true grandfather of dermatolgy AND instrumental in the evolvement of ACVD through the preliminary stage of the AAVD which he continued to believe in as I do today. I am saddened to lose a very special comarade and friend that has been instrumental in where we are today. May we all learn from the dedicaion of this individual to not only what he has done for the ACVD but the evolvement and support of veterinary dermatology in all aspects of veterinary practice as well as his leadership at the local, state and national level.


  29. Doctor Erv Small was truly a leader who exemplified excellence in teaching and service. I had the privilege of traveling and working with Dr. Erv Small on many visits with Alumni groups throughout the State of Illinois. We shared many interests and he helped build continuing support for the Food for Century 3 program. His students became part of his family--a very large and prestigious family! He exemplified excellent in loyalty and dedication to the profession of Veterinary Medicine. He encouraged and instilled enthusiasm and professional integrity in the lives of thousands. Because of this is philosophies and inspiration will live on--and on--and on! I was priviliged to count Dr. Erv Small as a personal friend and smile in remembrance of him.

    My condolences to his family during this time of loss.

    John Campbell
    Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus, College of ACES, University of Illinois
    President Emeritus, Oklahoma State University
    Professor Emeritus of Animal Science, Univ of MO

  30. A Veterinarian. A Teacher. A Mentor. An Illini. A Friend.
    These were some of the descriptors that introduced the gala retirement reception for Dr. Small.
    We could add many more:
    Marine—Dr. Small continued patrolling as a civilian—this included patrolling the veterinary clinic each morning, straightening and cleaning rooms to be sure they were ready for the day’s work—in the 1980’s we always knew where he had been by a trail of cigar smoke.
    Founding Father—Dr. Small was one of the early supporters of specialization in veterinary medicine and served as a founding father for both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Dermatology
    Human-Animal Bond Advocate—Dr. Small was a strong supporter of the human-animal bond before others recognized its importance.
    International Supporter: Dr. Small promoted sharing knowledge with veterinarians worldwide.
    Cheer leader—all students during his era were taught I-L-L, I-N-I from day 1 at the university.
    Encourager/“People Person”—Dr. Small took a genuine interest in the life and success of each of his students. I would not be where I am today if he had not served as my mentor and friend during the early stages of my career and many of you would say the same.
    “Santa Claus” –to my children and many others (at the annual college Christmas party)
    Inspirer—Dr. Small truly made a difference in the professional careers and personal lives of thousands of students, because of this his legacy will live on in our lives and in the lives of those we touch because of his inspiration.

    I want to express my sympathy to his family during this time of loss.

    Karen Campbell, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVD (because of Dr. Small!)

  31. Guest book entriesJuly 9, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    Gale Taylor
    Houston, TX
    July 7, 2009 8:08 PM Erv Small was a classmate in veterinary college, a good friend, a uniquely loyal member of the veterinary profession, a mentor to hundreds of veterinary students, and once and always a U.S. Marine to the core. I consider it a privilege and honor to have known this kind and gentle man.


    Roseanne Lorenzana
    Seattle, Washington
    July 7, 2009 6:42 PM If the obituary photograph had shown Dr. Small chewing on the end of a cigar, it would have captured a fond mental picture. Other memories which make me smile include that gravelly voice and "bark" that made me wake up and listen in class, his piercing sideways way of looking at you (sometimes with an elfish twinkle), and his infectious belly laugh. He has inspired hundreds. He certainly inspired me when I was a veterinary student at UICC.


    David Sisson
    Corvallis, Oregon
    July 7, 2009 2:58 PM My condolences to Irv's family. He was an honest, sincere and very great man. It was a pleasure to have known him and his kind heart.


    Bob Pearson
    Champaign Illinois
    July 7, 2009 11:22 AM Irv was always interested in helping people. I worked with him on several projects with the Agricultural Committee of the Chamber and I was always impressed with his people skills. He will be missed by all who knew him. Bob Pearson


    Christie Tucker
    Sidney, Il
    July 6, 2009 5:12 PM My thoughts and prayers are with Dr Small's family. I began working at the U of I Small Animal Clinic in 1982. Dr Small was still seeing clients at that time. I was "scared silly" by his "gruff" voice at first.....until I got to know him...what a kind and generous man he was !!!! I could always locate Dr. Small by following "the cigar smoke". ...this was before smoking in the building was prohibited... ... I will always have great respect and admiration for Dr. Small as a veterinarian .....He was "top dog" in my book.....and will be greatly missed by all who knew him . Semper Fi, Doc !!!!

  32. I really didn't interact all that much with Dr. Small when I stop to think about it and yet, he looms large in my memory of Vet School. He just made that big of an impression on those he came into contact with. His enthusiasm for the profession and for his beloved U of I was highly contagious. I remember the day he got to run out onto the field with the Fighting Illini - what a thrill for him and for those who loved him!
    And who could have gotten those incoming freshman off to a more rousing start then Erv? I-L-L, I-N-I!! I still go through that ritual with U of I students who come to work in my clinic. Thank You, Dr. Small for sharing your energy and enthusiasm with all of us. You were a rich man indeed for all the love and admiration you garnered from those around you. God Bless you and your family.

    Sue Nelson, DVm
    Class of 1992

  33. I graduated from KSU but spent most of my life practicing in Illinois. But I always felt like Dr Small was one of MY professors. He was always so helpful with any problems you ran into. One time when I was program chairman for the local Kennel Club he was nice enough to drive the 4 to 5 hours to come to Belleville for a talk. That night it was super super hot and the building didn't have any air conditioning! He gave the talk anyway (to a large audience) and NO ONE LEFT! I told him about a case of Demodex I had that was in a dog who was an important child replacement dog. He sent me bottles of a new experimental dip that saved the dog's life. I don't know if that was even legal but it sure saved an important dog's life. The drug he sent me eventually was marketed as Mitaban! I am pretty hard to impress but Dr Small sure did impress me!
    Tom Martin DVM Belleville Illinois

  34. Dr. Small first started chasing me down the halls of U. of IL VetMed many years ago...... I can almost hear his deep voice resonating, "Carlson I have a job for you!" He certainly was persuasive. He was my role model for the kind of veterinarian I would like to be. He also motivated me to become involved in organized veterinary medicine and subsequently the president of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association.

    He knew us all, our hometowns, our families and especially our talents. He always found something good to say about our colleagues and he warned never to say something in haste about a colleague.

    I have a wonderful picture of him and I at graduation, we are both laughing. That is how I will remember him, with that proud grin from ear to ear. After all, we were all his kids and he reveled in our accomplishments.

    He truly was a one in a million man. He was my Michael Jackson. I will miss him dearly.

  35. I cannot think of my veterinary education without remembering Dr. Small. He will be missed.
    Eman Jassim, DVM IL 1999

  36. My family and I wish to give our sympathies to Dr. Small's family. I have so many memories it's hard to narrow them down! I remember him playing the part of John Belushi in the "Blues Brothers" skit at the annual talent show and bringing down the house! I remember him reciting names of students that graduated many years ago, their families and all of their jobs. I remember his undying love for the Illini. I remember him giving my daughter a wind up toy dragon that some student had given him. I remember him as Santa Claus and then finding out he was Jewish! I thought, wow, that is really cool that he would go out of his way even if it wasn't his belief. I remember that he was always fair --you knew that he would treat everyone equally -- no matter who you were. I remember helping him pick out stuffed unicorns for his beloved nieces. I rememeber him chuckling at our little chorus singing "It's Doc Small's World After All" at his retirement. I remember how his face lit up at seeing so many people come to honor him. Of course, he still didn't "really" retire. God Bless You and your family and many, many friends.

    Barbara Huffman, VCM Deparmtent Office

  37. I am at a loss for words reading and thinking about a wonderful man like Dr. Small. He was the most dedicated, memorable, humble veterinary professor we had during our stay at the U of I Vet school.
    I say dedicated as I remember him stalking the halls of the SAC after 11PM at night while I was on small animal duty. The halls were empty, quiet, and dark. The air was still except for the tapping of his shoes along the tile and the smell of his stogie as he "tucked us all in".
    I say memorable as I remember an Otitis case of a friend's Shepard. He told me to properly clean and diagnose the ear infections that dogs get you have to get "down and dirty" as he stuffed his bare finger into the opening of the dog's external meatus and took a whiff. So I am intrigued to this day with dermatology.
    I say humble as he strongly encouraged me to contact a new group of veterinarians which was to become the Human-Companion Animal Bond Society dealing with the strong feelings we share with our pets. 25 years later they are leading the profession in Veterinary Behavior Consultation to improve the lives of our pets.
    He gave my husband and I our start in Pennsylvania, helped us relocate our practice back in Illinois 4 years later and never forgot the intricate details of our personal lives we shared with him--20 years later.
    May he who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and our mothers Sarah, Rebekah, Leah and Rachel bless Dr. Erwin Small and all of his
    "family". Amen.
    Elise Stern Ciribassi, DVM, class of 1984

  38. Erv was a class ahead of me

    During our clinic years, we both worked at the Small Animal Clinic, housed in the old beef cattle barn

    He was my senior, and later became the unofficial Clinic Director. Our wages at the time were 60cents/hour – plus all the experience you could gain

    During weekends and school holidays we had to take over the care and treatment of all hospitalized animals. We were running the dogs, cleaning the cages, administering medication and doing whatever the two Small Animal Clinicians, Dr. D. Maksic and Dr. A Schiller wanted to have done

    Occasionally, there still remained time for a coffee break at McBride’s Drug Store, which soon became a Sunday ritual.

    Erv was my senior, my mentor and my Big Brother. He also was my friend.

    One day he surprised me with a gift for our new born son Frank: a brand new Potty Chair purchased with S and H Green Stamps and faithfully used by Frank for many occasions.

    Years later, Prof. Dr. Small lectured the new class of veterinary students and pointed at Frank (Dr. Frank E Hoogeweg, U of I, College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 1981) and surprised him by telling his classmates that “this is the man I had given a Potty Chair, some time ago”

    You can imagine the roaring of the class – the blushing of Frank – and the twinkle in Erv’s eyes.

    Thanks, Erv for the Potty Chair – and for so much more.


  39. Curt H. Barthel DVM, Phd, DACVPJuly 16, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    After reading all these laudatory comments, there is very little I can add except "Thank you Erv so very much for the sterling education in academics and professionalism you provided all of us, many elements of which have guided me personally and professionally." Peace and blessings to you and your family. We (and our profession) will surely miss you.

  40. Bill Greentree, DVM, DACVOJuly 16, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Dr. Small was one of those truly great veterinarians who made both pets and people feel better. One of the wonderful things about him was that regardless of where you went to vet school, once you were at Illinois, he considered you part of the Illini family. None the less, I think Dr. Small took particular delight in reminding me of the score whenever Illinois defeated Ohio State in football or basketball.

    He was one of a kind and will be missed by everyone in his extended veterinary family

  41. I am one of the lucky ones who enjoyed Erv's presence thoughout my life. I listened to Erv's stories for hours at holidays, sat beside him at Illini games, and was honored to help him in his later years. He has taugh me so much about life and how to live it. His spirit will live on in how he has influenced my family and so many others.

    I know the Small family is reading these stories. Thanks to everyone for sharing some joy in this difficlut time for them.

    Todd Lykins DVM
    Class of 1983

  42. I remember Dr. Small delivering our class orientation lecture in the fall of 1971. He told us three things, first that we were now attending a world class institution in the University of Illinois. Second, that from that day forward, forever and always, we would be ILLINI, and third, in his best 'Bostonian' accent "you'se got to get involved".
    I have tried to do as he instructed my class.
    I remember the Marine style haircut, and the cigars in his pocket.
    I remember the gruff sounding "Dr. Small here" when he answered the telephone.
    I remember witnessing his receiving the 'AVMA' award in Baltimore, the highest award AVMA gives to an individual. Dr. Small seemed more excited about meeting Gen. Colin Powell, and getting the General's autograph for one of the staff at the college.
    I remember his extraordinary memory as he was able to remember where we came from, our spouses name, where we were going to work and the college these new employers had graduated from.
    This tremendous memory began to fail him in the later years as I understand which is a shame, but did not dull the tremendous ability he once had.
    It is unlikely there will ever be another one like Dr. Small.

    Dr. Ronald and Mrs. Terry Gill
    Class of 1975

  43. I can still remember Dr. Small marching down the hallways of the clinic with the perennial cigar in his mouth, sometimes lit, sometimes not. The amazing thing to me as a student was that in spite of his stogie smoking habit, he could walk into an exam room and without touching the patient make the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus by merely smelling the air in the room, his olfactory sense not dulled a bit by the enjoyment of many cigars!

    As many others have alluded to, his memories of his students, their spouses and children was uncanny. I received a letter of congratulations from him both when I graduated from my internship (which he insisted I should do!) and again when I became a board certified diplomate of the ABVP seven years later.

    His was a presence not to be missed at every Illini alumni reunion at the major CE meetings and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He was a confidant, mentor and friend who will never be forgotten.

    John G. DeVries
    Class of 1973

  44. Andreas Wurzer Dr. Med. Vet
    Dr. Erwin Small was our travel friend and companion at various teaching and sightseeing trips to foreign countries arranged by the "International Veterinary Symposia". One of our trips took us to Morocco. The last evening in the Moroccan capitol of Marrakech, we had a farewell dinner and dance party in local garb where everyone was to wear Moroccan or Berber style clothing. Erwin asked my wife Hanna to help him pick out a fitting costume.
    Shortly after the trip and back in Champaign, Erwin appeared in the classroom dressed as an Arabian Sheik. Andrea, our daughter, was at the time a veterinary student and Professor Small was one of her teachers. Accompanied by hilarious laughter and in front of the whole class, he turned to Andrea and said, "See, that's what your mother did to me."
    The first time I crossed ways with Erwin was in 1955 when he was a sophomore student living in the barn-like Small Animal Clinic and I was a clinical instructor at the school. We will miss Erwin. He was our friend and one of the best in our profession!

  45. No one who attended the U of I College of Veterinary Medicine could ever forget Dr. Small. He was a teacher, mentor, friend and the finest, most enthusiastic representative and booster of the College. I will always be proud to have been one of his students and colleagues.

    Joe Helfand '68

  46. Dr. Small ( I could never bring myself to call him Erwin out of deference to his stature in my eyes) was an excellent instructor and
    instrumental in the launching of my surgical career. As a former Angell intern, he in turn strongly supported my application for an Angell Internship.
    I then was selected to remain as a surgical resident at Angell. From there, I was launched into a long academic career.

    I will miss his wit, his humor, and his gruff Marine (bulldog) demeanor that masked his true softer side. He left Boston with one “affectation”: a South Boston
    pronunciation of diarrhea as “diarrhearrr.”

    Michael Pavletic
    Class of 1974

  47. Dr. Small taught my father in vet school, and when I entered, he was always teasing me in the hallways. I had never met the man, but he cared enough about his '71 alumnus (my dad) to make sure his son was comfortable in the vet school. He treated everyone with dignity, and raised everyone's morale with his spirit both within the vet school and the entire University. What a man. I will never forget his kindness.

    -Chris Dupuis, class of 2003

  48. Dr. Small deeply etched his image on all of us, his sense of duty, pride in our profession,and our university.

    He really did plant the roots of our identites as doctors of veterinay medicine.

    He was the perfect man for the job- the quintessential dean of his students if ever there was one in the whole wide world!He faithfully performed for so many years teaching and giving guidence to his students and the college.

    He truly loved America, Illinois, and his students.

    One of the "Greatest generation" has passed on.

    In my mind the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine is Dr. Erwin Small and always will be!

    Thank you Dr. Small for your contribution to my life and those of my classmates and colleagues.

    Stan Wolfe DVM
    Class of 1982

  49. The greatest gifts Dr Small gave us all were his time, guidance, friendship, and enthusiasm.

    He cared deeply for all of us, our profession, the Marines, Illinois, and the USA.

    That is why we cared so much for Erv. We have lost our hero, but his legacy of caring will last forever in the hearts of those he touched.

    I just know he is in heaven, caring for animals, and that is a comfort.

    Thank you Erv, for all you have done.

    John M Ehrhardt DVM
    Class of 1983

  50. Although I recall many great teachers and instructors in my college days in the early 60's, none had more impact on me and many more students than Dr. Erwin Small. He may have been just an instructor, just a clinician, but for hundreds of Veterinarians and Pet lovers in Illinois, he was a colossal figure. His passing is a great loss for all of us. Good-bye Dr. Small!

  51. Nancy Lerner, DVM (Illinois 1968)July 23, 2009 at 10:50 PM

    Over the years I've met many veterinarians who were not Illinois grads, of course, but so many times when I mentioned the U of I their first comment would be, "Oh! Did you know Dr. Small?" He was that famous! We all know why!

  52. We were classmates, 57. Erv, Larry Clark and I often studied together. Clark and I always said we taught him everything he knew! Oddly enough all 3 of us were in the Marine Corps, maybe that is why we were able to get through in those early years. Erv had an uncanny knack for connecting with folks. Famous and on down. He was indeed a unique character, it is a personal loss. Now Larry and Erv are both gone, both were an enormous credit to this ,the most wonderful profession. (Clark was a medical missionary to Nicaragua for many years, I often went along)

    Ed Short, 57

  53. Bill Smith Class of 1965

    With the passing of Dr. Erv Small, this is an end of an era in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. He was a dedicated veterinarian, gifted teachear, very capable administrator, passionate supporter of our College and the University of Illinois, and a gentleman with tremendous heart and love for the lives of the people he touched. Early in our study, Dr. Small was one of the first professors who we came to know because of his affiliation with several student organizations. Because of his role as advisor and the importance he placed on organized veterinary medicine, his attitude was not whether or not you would be a member, but which ones do you need to support and be a part of. He demonstrated a compassion for veterinary medicine and a strong work ethic to our students. He was a strong advocate for all of our students. He knew all of the students and their families and where they came from. He followed our graduates in the same manner, knowing where they were working and details about their families. He frequently visited them when he was on vacation or attending a meeting. Our students and graduates were Dr. Small's extended family.

    Dr. Small was an outstanding mentor for our faculty and worked continuously to improve our College in every way he could. He had a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience with our College and the University of Illinois. He was a strong stabilizing force to our faculty. He demonstrated a loyalty and commitment to our College unsurpassed by no one. Many of us became better teachers and faculty as we worked side by side with him and strived to improved because of Dr. Small's ambition and dedication. He always treated people kindly and with great respect. He was a champion of what is right and backed down from no one when he thought they were wrong. Dr. Small was a very strong advocate of organized veterinary medicine. He instilled in our graduates the importance of this aspect of veterinary medicine. Dr. Small made a strong impression on all who met him. Almost any place I go, whether it is to a veterinary meeting or just in my interactions with people in the Champaign-Urbana area, almost everyone knew of Dr. Small.

    I have been richly blessed by knowing Dr. Small while I was a student, as an alumnus, and as a small animal faculty member during my tenure at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary medicine. God bless Dr. Small's family and the Lykins family who were his adopted family. Dr. Small has left an outstanding legacy to our College, the University of Illinois, our faculty, and our alumni. Bill Smith '65

  54. July 08, 2009
    I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Small. His name was ironically in direct opposition to the "bigger than life" essence that he projected in all phases of his being.

    Once we depart from an institution in which we have spent such a long and significant part of our lives, we somehow expect it to always remain the same. My former College of Veterinary Medicine will never seem the same to me without his physical presence in those hallways. As students he knew us all by name, always had something to say to us at least in passing, and actually truly knew something about each and every one of us. WE were his Corps!

    I can't help but recall the time that someone put a cigar in the mouth of the 3-D bronze plaque of Dr. Small that hangs in the open stairwell of the Small Animal Clinic. Had the plaque been of anyone else it would have been a typical sophomoric prank. However, in this case it was simply a tribute to how truly he was known, loved and respected, and the addition to the artwork actually completed it!

    Dr. Small, I thank you for playing a great role in making me the veterinarian that I am today. And Sgt. Small, USMC (ret.), a hearty "Job Well Done!". You will be sorely missed sir.

    Semper Fi !

    Fellow former Marine and Veterinarian,

    Sharon A. Davis-Overfelt, DVM, MBA
    Nashville, TN

  55. I'll never forget the first time Dr Small read the roll for our class. After calling out a few names - some of which were ethnically laced with -isk, etc., he stopped, looked up, surveyed the room, and said,
    "What's the matter here. Don't we have any f..... americans!"

    John Sohmer
    class of 79

  56. Dr. Small was such a great guy, I loved talking with him at the OTS house during my time at U of I, i had never met someone so dedicated to our profession and the OTS fraternity. Coming from a long line of veterinary medicine in my family I always felt like i was talking to a member of my family.
    Ben Welbourne DVM 2002

  57. Thanks for many remembered lessons, Dr. Small. Your classroom lesson on compassion, for instance, has been an influence on me since the afternoon I sat enthralled to hear you tell our class the importance of always keeping the patient first--as a vulnerable individual, never an inanimate object. You shared your own bad experiences recovering in the VA hospital to make the point. For that and so much more your influence lives on.
    Jack Bley
    class of '77

  58. Karin Weening Miller (Illinois'68)July 29, 2009 at 5:42 PM

    Dr. Small was a legend in his own time. He wrote me a personal letter of congratulations when I married a fellow veterinarian (not even a UofI graduate), and the notes from his class were my bible during my first years in practice. He knew how to hold an audience, and I was always eager to attend meetings where he was speaking. He was one of a kind, and made an indelible impression on the College and all who knew him.

  59. By reading the previous postings it is obvious that DR. Small had been a mentor to a large number of the Illinois vet students including myself who have since have become successful veterinarians. They have commented here about their fondness and respect for him as a man and as a leader and for his passion for veterinary medicine. That's what always came through to me when I talked to him. He was a very passionate man, especially about veterinary medicine. He was a very capable motivating force to us struggling students as well. I was one of the older members of my class and he continued to inspire me to keep up with the "kids". I have tried to follow his lead and have had the opportunity to influence the careers of many veterinary students by having them do externships at my hospital. It is very rewarding to see them reach their goals and beyond and to think I had a small part in it. I owe Dr. Small for the mentoring skills I developed. I will surely miss his gruff voice, his humor and his friendship.

    Richard Nye
    Class of 1976

  60. It may not have been his most recognized achievement but without Dr. Smalls help I never would have made it through Veterinary school. I have always felt honored to have known him and been a part of the profession he so dearly loved.

  61. As a youngster I saw Dr. Small as he treated my childhood dog at the original small animal clinic at the University of Illinois. As a later veterinary student, he was an inspiration, teacher, and mentor, always willing to sit and listen to a student's confusion and then calmly and directly lead one to the answer that was being searched for.

    I was always touched and impressed by his ability to know and remember the details of every veterinary student that he taught, and the unending willingness to help all those he knew.

    I will never forget him prowling the halls with his cigar in mouth straightening and cleaning the clinic with a few growls over the inability of some to "keep the place neat". The University of Illinois Small Animal Clinic was, afterall, as others said, the "Small" Animal Clinic, and he treated as his own too!

    I will miss Dr. Small and can hope to only impact Veterinary Medicine a fraction of what he has over his illustrious career.

    So long Dr. Small.....I'll see you up the road.

    James Speiser
    Class of 1977

  62. Dr. Small was very special friend to me , Brother Small was a Joy to me. I remember when he would Chet Chat with me doing the work day.Dr. Small would always come over and tell me about his Adventures and Life stories. The laughter he would produce was so Joyful. In the Nursing Home he would tell you about the current event and give his strong opinion about, What was Happening in this world. Seem to me it would help change your opinion or make it stronger if it was same as his. I will miss him but I am glad our path crossed.

  63. Dr. Small was always so easy to talk to and was genuinely interested in each of his students; that feeling was always apparent. I have many wonderful memories of him, in the OLD small animal clinic, and am so pleased that I took time to visit him when I attended my 40th class reunion, College of Veterinary Medicine, on the U of I campus in September, 2007.

    He made the comment that he would always keep tabs on "his family" even after graduation. When he had a speaking engagement in Michigan, he honored me with a visit to my clinic. What a pleasant and unforgettable surprise that was. He was a man of his word! Larry A. Borg, DVM, 67

  64. Dr. Small was on the admissions board when I was accepted to vet school. I believe my veteran status helped a little. He gave me a wonderful opportunity to pursue a profession that I am passionate and very grateful for. I just attended a Marine Corps gathering tonight in Youngstown, OH, and was with hundreds of his brothers-in-arms. He is missed.
    Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM
    Class of 1980

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