When Dr. James (Jim) Mailer of Stettler, Alta., passed away on July 20, 2011, he left a generous gift of $200,000 to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM). The legacy was his way of giving back to the institution that had laid the foundation for his successful and rewarding career as a veterinarian.
Jim’s generous gift supports research funding and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students in WCVM. Additionally, the James Peter Mailer Student Bursary Fund was created to support veterinary students who wish to enter mixed animal or large animal practice.
“It was important for him to give back to the college for all that he was given as a result of his education,” explains his daughter Brenda Mailer. “And he wanted to contribute to those areas that will help to keep building the veterinary profession.”
Brenda describes her father as a man who lived his life well – a dedicated veterinarian who made a difference to his profession and to his community, but most importantly to his family. After graduating from the WCVM in 1977, Jim and his wife Joyce moved to Stettler where he began his career at the Stettler Veterinary Clinic.
“With Mom’s help he dedicated himself to the practice,” Brenda recalls. “He never turned down a call, no matter what time of day or night or how much sleep he had. I remember that he’d look so tired, especially during those heavy calving seasons, but he always just kept going. It was so important for him to provide good customer service.”
He also looked forward to mentoring and working with the veterinary students, either as summer students or as new graduates. “Many of the students who worked with dad have told us how appreciative they were of his dedication to their learning experience,” says Brenda. “They tell us that he was a fantastic teacher who would help them to self-discover the answers rather than just tell them what to do.”
His daughters, Brenda and Sheree, remember their father’s sense of humour, his flair for calligraphy and photography and his keen interest in politics and world affairs. But most importantly, they remember him as a man who enjoyed life and loved being a veterinarian.
“To this day, anyone who knew our dad tells us what a wonderful veterinarian he was,” says Brenda. “He was a kind, generous person, and his values and wisdom will stay with us forever.”