Dr. Hans O. Ewert, a veterinarian who spent several years caring for the animals at the Toledo Zoo, died of heart failure Thursday in his South Toledo home. He was 82.
Dr. Ewert treated all kinds of animals for most of his life and never officially retired from his clinic, the Ewert Animal Hospital, 2814 Glendale Ave.
As the zoo veterinarian, Dr. Ewert could often be seen caring for a baby chimpanzee or a lion cub at his home.
"He was a guy who loved animals and worked hard at it up until the day he passed away," his son, Chris, said.
Born in Dresden, Germany, Dr. Ewert treated large animals in his home country for more than a decade before deciding he wanted to treat smaller animals like cats and dogs.
To pursue that change, he moved his family to Ohio in 1957, where he took classes at Ohio State University before receiving his state veterinary license.
Despite intentions of treating smaller animals, he was hired at the zoo soon after passing his state certification, his son said.
Dr. Ewert's daughter, Sybille Gendaszek, said that because the zoo did not have a nursery at the time, many of the baby animals would come to live at the family's home. It also was during that time that Dr. Ewert opened his own clinic, at first in his home and then in a building on Glendale.
"There were always such unusual animals in the waiting room. One day it was a sheep, another day a pony," Mrs. Gendaszek said.
Dr. Ewert resigned from the zoo in 1966 after creating some controversy with a memo alleging mismanagement of the institution.
He then dedicated the rest of his time to the private veterinarian clinic he created. In addition to the animal hospital, Dr. Ewert operated a pet shop and a self-service pet washing business.
Mike Gendaszek said that his father-in-law was so attached to his business that despite three retirement parties, Dr. Ewert continued working until the very end. He even spent several years giving the horses at Raceway Park physicals before races.
Although Dr. Ewert spent much of his time caring for animals, he also could often be seen on his sailboats. A longtime member of the Toledo Power Squadron and of the North Cape Yacht Club, Dr. Ewert spent many hours sailing with family and friends aboard his favorite boat, the Arcona.
Despite leaving Germany long ago, Dr. Ewert traveled back each year to meet with his friends for an annual class reunion.
Mrs. Gendaszek said that he was slated to make the trip again this September. He became an American citizen during a naturalization ceremony in 1964.
His marriage to Regina Ewert ended in divorce.
Surviving are his sons, Chris and Ulrich; daughter, Sybille Gendaszek, and seven grandchildren.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Coyle Funeral Home.
The family suggests tributes to Planned Pethood, Inc.