In Memory: Dr. Gerald Goetsch (PU PhD ’57), PVM Founding Faculty Member

Friday, January 22, 2021

The Purdue Veterinary Medicine family is deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Gerald Goetsch, professor emeritus of veterinary physiology and one of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s founding faculty members, who died Thursday, January 14.  He was 97.

A native of Colby, Kan., Dr. Goetsch attended Kansas State University on a scholarship from Sears and Roebuck, and, after one year of undergraduate work, entered K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He enlisted in the U.S. Army while attending veterinary school, and went on to earn his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1945. After serving as an animal inspector for the USDA and working in private practice in Kankakee, Ill., Dr. Goetsch returned to academia.  He served for a short time on the faculties of the University of Missouri and Oklahoma State University before coming to Purdue University for graduate study in what was then the Department of Veterinary Science.  He earned his master’s degree in 1955 and his PhD in 1957, when he joined the Purdue faculty as an assistant professor.  That was the same year when the state legislature approved the establishment of the new veterinary school at Purdue.  By 1959, Dr. Goetsch had risen to the rank of full professor and became the founding head of what was then the Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, a position he held until 1978.  The department later was merged with the Department of Anatomy to create the Department of Basic Medical Sciences

During his Purdue tenure, Dr. Goetsch played a major role in developing the physical plan and initial curriculum for the College of Veterinary Medicine.  He also served on various university, professional, and governmental advisory committees and completed two terms as president of the American Association of Veterinarian Physiologists and Pharmacologists before retiring in 1988.

In retirement, Dr. Goetsch enjoyed several hobbies that included golfing, bowling, and carpentry. He was particularly known for 16 child Lincoln Rockers that he caned and made of walnut. Some even were auctioned off as part of fundraisers for the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Beloved as an accomplished veterinary scientist and gifted administrator with a warm personality and caring demeanor, Dr. Goetsch will be deeply missed,” said Dean Willie Reed.  A private graveside ceremony was held at the Grand View Cemetery on January 16. Click here to read the full obituary, and to leave a message or share a memory on the Soller-Baker Funeral Home website.

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr |

Category: Our People

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