Dr. Rodney A. Melchert, 67, of Absarokee, Mont., passed away Nov. 17, 2014 at his home.
Rod was born Nov. 18, 1947 in Kansas City, Kan. He grew up in Overland Park, Kan., and graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School in Overland Park, Kan. He continued on to attend Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.
Rod served in the United States Army on active duty from 1968 through 1972. He graduated from the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School and Flight Training Academy and served as a captain in Cobra pilot in Vietnam, where he fought many battles and received many medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star. Rod continued to serve in the Army Reserves until 1983.
In 1973 Rod was accepted to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University where he earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1977. In veterinary school he met Terry Hicks. After graduation, he moved to North Hollywood, Calif., where he practiced at Parker Pet Hospital in North Hollywood, Calif.
Dr. Melchert and Dr. Hicks decided to become partners and purchase a veterinary clinic and they embarked on a search which led them to Palm Desert, Calif. On July 1, 1979, they opened Palm Desert Pet Hospital and worked together for 27 years. Together they built the practice into a very successful, reputable veterinary hospital and made many good friends along the way. Rod retired in 2006 and Dr. Hicks continues to operate Palm Desert Pet Hospital.
In 1998 Rod married Susan and in 2006 they moved to Montana to fulfill their dream to raise quality American Quarter Horses for the equine performance industry. They have been living on their beautiful horse ranch, Stillwater Quarter Horses, in the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains since.
Rod lived a big life and was considered a leader of men, a hero, a loyal friend and a caregiver to animals. He loved deep-sea fishing, golf, hunting and travel. He went on some incredible long-range fishing trips, he hunted and fished the Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. Golf was a usual Saturday celebration -- or Saturdays were for pheasant hunting with his bird dogs. He enjoyed gardening and he was an accomplished bridge player. Rod also loved to cook.
Rod was predeceased by his father Rodney Melchert, his mother Mary Hough Melchert King.
He is survived by his wife Susan of 17 years, his son Rodney of Havre, Mont., his son Rusty of Seattle, Wash.
According to his wishes, no services are planned. A memorial donation to a charity of your choice or donation of blood in Rod’s name would be appreciated.
Rod’s family thanks you for your prayers, comfort and support through this difficult time. Your thoughts and care are greatly appreciated. May Rod rest in peace.