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Obituary: Dr. Alex Hogg

Dr. Alex Hogg, a past president of the AASV, passed away on Tuesday, July 18, following a prolonged illness. He was 86.

Dr. Hogg served as Secretary/Treasurer of the American Association of Swine Practitioners in the mid-1970's, and was president of the association in 1979. He also served on the AASP Board of Directors representing District 8. In July 2005, Dr. Hogg was honored as the first recipient of the AASV Foundation Heritage Award. The award was established to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievements in swine veterinary medicine.

A wake service for Dr. Hogg will be held at 7:00 pm on Friday, July 21st at the Heafey-Heafey-Hoffman-Dworak Funeral Home, located at 78th & West Center St., Omaha, Neb. The funeral is scheduled for 10:30 am on Saturday, July 22nd at his "White Pines" property located at 5706 County Rd. 38, Fort Calhoun, Neb. Burial will be at the Blair cemetery in Blair, Neb.

The following history of Dr. Hogg's life was submitted by his family:


Alexander Hogg was born to David and Agnes Hogg on April 15, 1920 in Borgue Scotland, near Kirkcudbright on the Solway Firth. His father told him that on a clear day, you could see the Isle of Man. Alex recalled that there never was a clear day. As with other Scottish boys named Alexander, his name was pronounced "Alec" and his nickname was "Sandy". The familial name of Hogg is common in Scotland and means "young female sheep" in Gaelic. He had two sisters: Annie, who is the eldest and Janet, his younger sister, who died of melanoma in the age of 34. The family lived in a house called "The Clash" on a dairy farm named "Upper Senwick" as did his paternal grandparents before them.

When Alex was still a baby, the family moved to another home near Borgue where he later attended school. It was there that he developed a fondness for the poetry of Robert Burns, Scotland's Premier Poet and a love for the Scottish highlands. The house burned to the ground during the night when Alex was six years old. His family escaped with only the clothes on their backs. David Hogg borrowed $500 and moved his family to the United States through Ellis Island in New York City.

They first settled in Sand Springs, Oklahoma where the shy and quiet children were often teased about their last name and Scottish brogue. Alex and his sisters quickly learned "Oklahoma English." They soon discovered that they could be better accepted among their classmates by excelling in the American sport of basketball. Their parents owned a creamery in Stroud, Oklahoma where he and his sisters wrapped butter before and after school. At the age of 10, Alex obtained his first paying job selling newspapers on the streets of Dallas, Texas. By the time Alex graduated from high school he had attended 13 different schools in Oklahoma, Texas and Florida.

As a young man, Alex supplemented his formal education by reading the entire encyclopedia. Following high school, he and sister, Annie, completed two years at the Business College in Chillicothe, Missouri. They were both very active members of the basketball teams. It was here that young Alexander, as a student instructor, discovered his life long love of teaching. In later years his broad education, especially in history, geography and business would make him a fascinating teacher and lecturer.

After graduating, he married a fellow student, Earlene Rose; they were divorced in later years. Alex and Earlene have one daughter Janice, who excelled in basketball while growing up in Coin, Iowa. Her daddy proudly attended every one of her games. The difficulties she faced as a woman in athletics and science gave Alex an appreciation for women in those fields and in business. Jan and her children, Alexandre and Michelle, live in Paris, France.

In April of 1941, Alex volunteered for the United States Navy. He began as a 3rd class petty officer at the Navy recruiting station in St. Joseph, Missouri, where he could have spent the remainder of the war. However, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered again, this time for sea duty. He said: "I wanted something good to tell my children when they asked what I did in the big war." Yeoman Hogg served four years in French Morocco, the South Pacific, Hawaii and San Diego and remained a patriotic American for the rest of his life.

After returning from military service, Alex attended Veterinary School at Kansas State University on the GI Bill, where he received the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Thereafter, his career spanned five decades beginning with a mixed practice in Coin, Iowa. After 20 years, he left private practice to attend Iowa State University, where he obtained his Master of Science degree in Veterinary Pathology. After graduation, Doctor Hogg became Swine Extension Veterinarian and Professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. There he developed numerous statewide Extension programs including some of the first farrowing schools for women. His seminars delivered science based and practical information to help swine producers to resolve health and production issues on thousands of farms.

During his academic career, Alex was highly appreciated not only as an excellent scholar, gifted professor and generous colleague, but also as a charming and gracious human being. He loved to mentor and help students and faculty, many of whom remained close in later years. He enjoyed putting people at ease by telling jokes, which were accentuated by a twinkle in his blue eyes and by his crooked Scottish grin.

Doctor Hogg presented his scientific work at professional meetings on five continents: North America (United States, Canada), South America (Brazil, Venezuela), Europe (Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and Romania) Asia (Thailand) and Australia. He felt a special empathy with the people of Eastern Europe and tried to bring them a part of the world they had lost under Communism after World War II. Alex collaborated on numerous scientific projects with international colleagues. He initiated exchange programs with many of them, inviting them to participate in sabbaticals at the University of Nebraska.

Doctor Hogg became an internationally recognized expert in swine disease with over 300 publications and presentations to his credit. He was instrumental in the eradication of hog cholera from the United States and received numerous awards. The American Association of Swine Veterinarians Foundation recognized his lifetime of achievement in swine veterinary medicine by unanimously electing him as the first recipient of its "Heritage Award."

After retiring from the University, Alex remained an enthusiastic learner. He became a Technical Services Consultant for MVP Laboratories, where he was instrumental in the introduction of computers. At the age of 75, he graduated from the Executive Veterinary Program course at the University of Illinois at Champaign. He was always generous with new information, practices and knowledge, passing much on to his colleagues over the years in presentations and in his international newsletter, "Hogg Sense."

Through his association with MVP Laboratories he became acquainted with Mary Lou Chapek. They shared a common interest in adventure and walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back when Alex was 70 years old. They visited 50 states, 60 countries and all 7 continents. The couple became engaged on a study cruise to their last continent, Antarctica. After their marriage both Alex and Mary Lou enjoyed restoring and protecting native land adjacent to their home near Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. He named their land Bonie Brae, which means "beautiful hill" in Gaelic.

Alexander Hogg was a true gentleman in every sense of the word, always opening doors for his companion, insisting they go first and he never raised his voice or used profanity. Compassion for all living things was a part of his nature. Even after his many successes and accomplishments, Alex remained characteristically shy and humble. He seemed to be the embodiment of the man that Samuel Johnson described when he said: "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."

As our beloved Scotsman is laid to rest, we know that his heart and his spirit are not here. They will forever be in the highlands of Scotland. It is for us who remain to be grateful for his influence in our lives and to celebrate a truly remarkable man.