Jackson Hole homeowner Dr. Robert Hummel died Oct. 27 at home in Colorado. He was 83. His family provided the following.
Bob was born in Elyria, Ohio, to Claude Ivory and Constance Louise Hummel on Nov. 24, 1936. Stemming from humble beginnings he attended elementary and high school in Elyria, where his education was only beginning. A dual graduate of The Ohio State University (B.S. Agriculture and D.V.M., 1961), Bob also completed the Owner-President Management Course at Harvard University in Boston (1983-1985). During his time at Ohio State, Bob was an active member of the Alpha Zeta Fraternity.
Bob is an original example of an “alternative” career path in veterinary medicine. He began his career in 1961 as a technical service veterinarian with American Cyanamid Company. In 1967 he and his partner, Jim Loughlin, cofounded Great Plains Chemical Company Inc. in Greeley, Colorado. They later changed the name to Lextron Inc., which became one of the largest animal health product distributors in the U.S. with a heavy emphasis toward the beef industry. In June of 2011, after a merger with Walco International, the name was changed to Animal Health International Inc. In June of 2015 Animal Health International was sold to Patterson Companies and continues to operate under the Animal Health International name.
At the time of the sale of Animal Health, Bob retired at the young age of 78 to enjoy his homes in Jackson Hole and Santa Barbara, California, where he spent quality time enjoying both the snow and the sun with his wife and family. When he retired in 2015 the organization he created and developed was not only a major supplier of animal health needs to the cattle industry but was also supporting feed yard technology needs to over 65% of the cattle on feed in the United States. That included feed yard accounting, bunk and health management, mill and feed truck management, micro machines and grain conditioners.
Bob was a pioneer in the animal health industry, one of a handful of individuals who built the animal health distribution industry that is used today in the United States. His leadership and influence at Animal Health International, and the industry as a whole, was broad and deep. For those who worked closely with him the impact of his mentorship in business, and life in general, was profound. Bob was known for his tenacious drive, honorable work ethic, loyalty toward his business partners and associates, and passion for veterinary medicine. He was a man of many talents, but animal health was where Bob shined the brightest. In 2020 Dr. Hummel was honored with the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame Industry Leadership Award. Along with that honor Bob was awarded the Ohio State University Gerlach Award in 2007, the Ohio State University Distinguished Service Award in 2015, and the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award in 2017.
During his early days at Ohio State, Bob was profoundly affected by a generous $200 gift from a family friend. After receiving the gift Bob was instructed to one day “pay it forward.” Fulfilling his promise from that fateful day, Bob and Carole established the Hummel Family Foundation nearly five decades later. Since its creation in 2015 the foundation has helped with tuition for hundreds of students at University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Denver University, University of Northern Colorado, University of Missouri, The Ohio State University, Rockhurst University, Rockhurst High School, Notre Dame de Sion High School, Front Range Community College and Aims Community College.
Affectionately called “Big Bob,” he was rarely seen without his tortoiseshell glasses and an array of red sweaters. Bob had a love for fine wines and all things Ohio State Buckeyes. He will be remembered not only for his sharp business ethics and strong leadership but for his boisterous laugh, lively personality and hardy hellos upon entering a room. Bob was an honest man who told it like it was and never backed down from a challenge: traits that served him well in all aspects of his life. He was benevolent, strong-willed and a friend to all. Bob’s passion for education and generous spirit has touched the lives of many and will continue to do so for years to come.
Bob is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Carole, and by his two children, Robert “Rob” Hummel II and Jennifer Ostenson, along with his two spousal “children in spirit,” Patty Hummel (Rob) and Eric Ostenson (Jennifer). Bob and Carole have four beautiful grandchildren, Carley, Madison, Katie and Robert III “Bobby” Hummel, along with three step-grandchildren Kelsey, Taren and Cole Ostenson, who will all miss their Paw Paw dearly. Bob is also survived by his sister, Jean Hummel, of Columbus, Ohio. Bob preceded in death by his parents, Claude and Louise Hummel.
Due to COVID regulations, a private service was held Nov. 5. In place of flowers, donations may be made to The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, where a scholarship in honor of Dr. Robert C. Hummel will be established for veterinary students. Gifts may be mailed to: College of Veterinary Medicine, c/o Dr. Liesa Stone, 127G VMAB, 1900 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH 43210 or online at Give.OSU.edu/Hummel
Family and friends may sign the online guest book or leave a personal note to the family at AllnuttFtCollins.com.