Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Robert “Bob” Moses McCully

Robert “Bob” Moses McCully, 89, passed away peacefully on Friday, March 24th, 2017 at his home
in Silver Spring, MD.

Robert was born on August 19th, 1927 in Louisville, Ms. to Benjamin Marion McCully and Alma Porter. His older sister was Dyalthia. He enlisted in the US Merchant Marine in 1945 immediately after graduating from Louisville High School. With World War II over, he enrolled in pre-vet studies at Mississippi State College in Starkville and then at Iowa State University in Ames, where he completed a degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1953. He did a 2-year Internship at the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, MA and joined the US Air Force in 1955. His initial assignment was at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) on the campus of Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC, where he completed a 3-year Residency in Veterinary Pathology. Ultimately, this was to be his one and only duty station during his 20+ year US Air Force career. He married Elaine Norwick of Fall River, MA in 1956.

In 1963, he and Elaine and their 4 children travelled to South Africa, where he was stationed for the next 6 years. He worked in the Department of Pathology at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in Pretoria. While studying foreign animal diseases for the US government, Bob accompanied local guides, game rangers, and scientists on their expeditions to Kruger National Park and elsewhere in southern Africa, doing field autopsies on culled hippopotami, elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, and other hoofed animals, and cataloguing diseases that few non-Africans had ever seen. He published over 40 peer-reviewed articles dealing primarily with the pathology and parasitology of African wildlife and domestic livestock. In 1969, he returned to the AFIP to manage the exchange program with Onderstepoort until 1975, when he retired from the US Air Force with the rank of Colonel.

From 1976 onwards he lived mostly in South Africa. All 6 of his children, Sheila Jo (Caldis), Tara Lee (Marshall), Robert Benjamin, Bradford Wayne, William Arnold Theiler, and Noel Beth, attended the University of Cape Town. In South Africa, he continued to interact with former colleagues at Onderstepoort, attending rounds, assisting in autopsies, and collecting photographs and data on almost every disease of local livestock. His ongoing dedication to pathology was evidenced by his electronic publication of “The AFIP-Onderstepoort Program Color Atlas of Foreign and Domestic Diseases of Pastoral Animals and Other Selected Species” in 2007, a volume that was 30 years in the making by him and his co-authors, and one that was ultimately financed, completed, and distributed by Bob himself. During his last decade of life, he spent time in South Africa, Washington DC, and Louisville, Ms. He remained vitally interested in veterinary pathology, his true passion, and regularly attended lectures and reviewed cases at the Joint Pathology Center, the ‘new AFIP’, with pathologists who graciously included him in their day-to-day activities.

Bob had a penchant for collecting old cars and acquiring ‘useful’ objects from local auction houses at
“bargain-basement” prices. He enjoyed working on large projects like digging out a crawl space by hand to make a large basement in his home in Silver Spring, or building a gravel road up a hill behind his home in Pretoria, moving one large boulder at a time. He was an avid storyteller and a man of letters. He wrote constantly, penning letters each day to family members and friends in his beautiful longhand, and adding detailed stories to his personal memoir, which now stands at 530 pages. Although he used the Internet, he refused to get an e-mail account, preferring pen and paper and a more personal approach, and encouraged those who wanted to communicate with him to follow suit. He loved his family and was very proud of his children and 13 grandchildren (Matthew, Hilary, Peter, Bradford, Theiler, Benjamin, Zoe, Keagan, Madeline, William, Liam, Jordan, and Suzie-Jo).

Bob is survived by his wife Elaine, and children Sheila, Tara, Robert, and Noel. He was preceded in death by his sons Bradford and William. A celebration of life service will be held at in the chapel of The Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, MD at 11:30 a.m. followed by a reception at the home of his daughter Sheila of Ellicott City, MD on Saturday 29th April, 2017. Memorial donations may be made to Winston County Library in Louisville, MS or Wounded Warrior Project, Jacksonville, FL or Prison Fellowship.