Dr. Robert H. Elrod, Jr., a Toledo-area veterinarian whose lifelong interest in American saddlebred horses took him to shows throughout Ohio and three other states, died on Oct. 6 at Ebeid Hospice Residence in Sylvania.
Dr. Elrod, 84, died from multiple myeloma, his son, Brad Elrod, said.
He started his veterinary practice in the 5500 block of Central Avenue around 1960 and specialized in large and small animals, although later in his career he cared primarily for small animals, his son said.
“He loved doing the horse work, but it got to the point where he was getting banged around and decided to give it [large animals] up,” Brad said.
Before focusing on pets, he was called on by horse owners and farmers who needed his assistance caring for their livestock at all hours of the day or night, said his son, who recalled joining his father on farm visits.
He was a sole practitioner through most of his career, although he briefly worked with a partner, his son said.
His lifelong passion for horses was fostered by his father, the late Dr. Robert Elrod, a surgeon who raised and bred horses. The elder Dr. Elrod judged saddlebred horses and competed across the country.
Brad said his father at one point raised about 60 horses at a time at his stable in western Lucas County, son Brad said.
Dr. Elrod was successful in showing horses in arenas throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky, his son added.
“He could have been a professional horseman, but he did not want to spend the rest of his life in the barn,” Brad said.
“He was the consummate horseman and an excellent student of the bloodlines,” his son said.
During summers, Dr. Elrod would attend horse auctions in Lexington, Ky., where he would keep track of up to 75 horses a day, jotting notes in the program book to determine which horses to buy, Brad said.
Dr. Elrod was born in Toledo on March 11, 1929, to Robert H. and Martha Elrod. He married Kathleen Claire Mulholland on Christmas Eve in 1955. She died in 2008.
He graduated from Ottawa Hills High School and was drafted into the Army, serving in Germany during the Korean War era.
He briefly attended Vanderbilt University’s medical college in Nashville, his father’s alma mater, but decided after a year he wanted to practice medicine on animals.
He transferred to Ohio State University to complete his undergraduate studies. He received his veterinary medicine degree from OSU in the late 1950s.
Dr. Elrod attended Buckeyes football games and closely followed the team, said Allen Wilhelm, a friend.
Dr. Elrod was a founding member of the Reynolds Corners Rotary Club, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, said Mr. Wilhelm, a fellow Rotarian.
Mr. Wilhelm said he entrusted Dr. Elrod with the care of his cat and noted that Dr. Elrod also was a cat lover.
Despite his high profile in horse circles and in his veterinarian practice, Dr. Elrod shied away from drawing attention to himself, Mr. Wilhelm said.
“The one thing about Bob was, he was very, very private,” Mr. Wilhelm said. “His whole life was private. He was a gentle man who never wanted any attention.”
In keeping with his wishes, there will be no visitation and services will be private. Arrangements were by Thomas I. Wisniewski Funeral Home.
Memorials are suggested to the Reynolds Corners Rotary Club or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Dr. Elrod is survived by his sons, Brad and Michael Elrod, and four grandchildren.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.