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Late Shepparton vet had 'wonderful community spirit'

Former Shepparton veterinarian Angus Cunningham died last week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

ALEXANDRA BOLKAS December 11, 2013 4:28am

Dr Angus Cunningham with Tess at Shepparton Veterinary Clinic in 2001.


Loyalty, kindness and compassion are words those close to former Shepparton veterinarian Angus Cunningham use to describe him.

The Shepparton Veterinary Clinic partner for 28 years died on December 2 after a three-year-battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 74.

Dr Cunningham grew up in Melbourne as the eldest of three boys.

He went to school at Scotch College before studying veterinary science at University of Sydney.

He secured his first job as a government vet at Wodonga, where he met and married his first wife Diana in 1965.

A year later they moved to the NSW town of Scone where in 1970 he had twins Fiona and Christopher and daughter Kate in 1972.

The family then moved to Armidale before settling in Shepparton in 1974, where he found work as a co-partner at Shepparton Veterinary Clinic with Don McCaffery, Julian Smithers and Mac Walker.

He worked there until his retirement in 2002.

His daughter Kate Hutchings remembers him as a kind-hearted father who was forever willing to help others.

‘‘One Christmas morning 25 years ago my dad went to the corner shop to get the paper,’’ Ms Hutchings said.

‘‘He saw one of the wooden cows around Shepparton had a broken leg.

‘‘So he went home, got his tools and fixed the cow.’’

Ms Hutchings said his kindness extended to animals great and small.

‘‘The circus came to town when I was six or seven and two lion cubs were sick and came to the clinic. It was pretty cool,’’ she said.

She said his interests lay in exotic animals such as deer and ostriches.

Ms Hutchings said on the rare occasion he was not working on weekends the family would go sailing or camping at Waranga Basin — a place they would spend every summer.

After Diana died in 2006, Dr Cunningham met his neighbour and second wife Sandy, who he married in 2011.

‘‘We had a wonderful seven years. We travelled to South America, India, Bhutan, Europe and Cuba,’’ Sandy said.

‘‘Community service was incredibly important to him, he had a wonderful community spirit and anyone would tell you he was a gentleman.’’

Family aside, Dr Cunningham was a Paul Harris fellow at Shepparton Rotary Club and a life and committee member of Shepparton Agricultural Society, which he joined in 1976.

He was a vet at the Melbourne and Shepparton shows and had passion for Scottish music and the bagpipes.

‘‘Nothing got under his skin, he was a real gentleman and a decent bloke,’’ Shepparton Agricultural Society president Lloyd Ohlin said.

Former Shepparton Veterinary Clinic partner Geoff Withers said Dr Cunningham was a capable surgeon and a dependable colleague.

‘‘He was always willing to spend time with an owner to ensure plans of action were understood,’’ he said.

‘‘He was always willing to offer advice or assistance whenever it was needed and was a good sounding board whenever someone had a difficult case.’’

Mr Cunningham leaves behind his wife Sandy, his children Fiona, Christopher and Kate and seven grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at Shepparton Uniting Church, Scot’s Hall, at 11am tomorrow.

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