Woodward County Obituaries

Jack DeForest Fetzer
21 Mar 1922 - 12 Apr 2007
Woodward News
13 Apr 2007
Page 3

Long-time Woodward County, Okla., medical doctor Jack D. Fetzer died April 12, 2007, at Epworth Villa in Oklahoma City. He was 85 years old. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2007 at the Quail Springs United Methodist Church, 14617 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City.

Jack DeForest Fetzer was born in1922, in Helena, Okla., the first of 10 children born to Dale and Ruth Fetzer. He grew up in Helena and was graduated from Helena High School in 1940.

He did his undergraduate work at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, finished pre-med at University of West Virginia, Morgantown, W.V. In 1948, he received his medical degree from Baylor University, Houston, Texas. He served in both World War II and the Korean War.

In1943, he married Viola Pearl Richards in Helena, Okla.

At the beginning of World War II, he was a student at Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater. He joined the U.S. Army Reserves and, following basic training, the army sent him to finish pre-med at the University of West Virginia and then to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. At this time, the couple had two children, Joan and Leon. After graduation in 1948, he was stationed at Ft. Mason in San Francisco, Calif. Dr. Fetzer was transport surgeon on Army ships transporting dependent families to Japan and Okinawa. He made eight crossings of the Pacific. The ships had no surgical suite and he once performed an emergency appendectomy in the ship's medical office assisted by only nurses.

In 1950, Dr. Fetzer was transferred to Sandia Base in Albuquerque, N.M., to await discharge which was unexpectedly delayed by the Korean War. He was sent to Korea where his unit's efforts to establish a hospital north of the 38th parallel was thwarted by the Chinese invasion. He was evacuated back to Pusan, Korea, where he was in charge of a 102 bed ward at the hospital which his unit established there. While in Korea, Dr. Fetzer spent his recreation time at a nearby leprosy colony as doctor and softball player. After 14 months in Korea, Dr. Fetzer was discharged in 1952 with the rank of Major.

Dr. Fetzer established his family practice in Woodward, Okla., in July, 1952, where the Fetzer's third child, Larry, was born. Before retiring in January, 1990, Dr. Fetzer maintained an active medical practice for 37-1/2 years and cared for many Woodward County residents. He delivered 2,689 babies. He was a member of American Board of Family Practice and served on the Oklahoma State Medical Licensing Board for 14 years. In 1969, he was president of the Oklahoma chapter of the American Academy of General Practice.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Viola P. Fetzer, now of Oklahoma City, Okla.; children, Joan L. Gaston of Burke, Va., J. Leon Fetzer and his wife Judy of Breckenridge, Colo., and Larry D. Fetzer and wife Lynn of Sugar Hill, Ga.; grandchildren, Jon L. Fetzer and wife Alpa of Denver, Colo, Aynsley B. (Gaston) Kealiher and husband Brandon of Burke, Va., Tyler C. Gaston and wife Elizabeth of Seattle, Wash., Erik D. Fetzer and wife Melissa of Denver, Colo., and Garen D. Gaston of Chicago, Ill., Sara K. Waren and Elizabeth A. Fetzer of Sugar Hill, Ga.; great grandchildren, Annaleise M. Kealiher and Brogan Q. Kealiher; two brothers, Paul Fetzer and wife Nina Lou of Lake Charles, La., and Dr. Dean Fetzer and wife Nancy of Yukon, Okla.; two sisters, Ruth Ross of Helena, Okla., and Jean Hughes and husband Ben of Carmen, Okla. Dr. Fetzer was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Richard and Robert; sisters, Treca Moore, Donna Belle Packard, and Mary Dale Foster.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in his name may be made to the: American Diabetes Association, PO Box 1131, Fairfax, VA 22038-1131.

Burial will be in Helena, Okla.

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