Goodbye, Doc: Well-known veterinarian passes

Dr. James Brester
Dr. James Brester

Well-known veterinarian James “Doc” Brester passed away at his home on Dec. 22.

Coroner Earl Piper confirmed Brester’s passing yesterday. The cause was a previously diagnosed heart condition. His wife, Paulette, called 911.

Brester sold the Bean Blossom Animal Clinic to the owners of the Franklin Animal Clinic in 2017 after owning it for more than 50 years.

Not only does Brester’s loss create a big hole in the county, Piper said, but it also creates a hole in the state, because Brester’s clinic attracted Hoosiers and their animals from all over.

A man of few words, his treatment of animals spoke for him.

Pet owners described Brester as an “animal angel” who never overcharged for treatments, even surgeries. For many, that made the drive to Bean Blossom worth it.

Brester also still made house calls when needed.

“It takes back you to the days when you actually had doctors who would come to the house,” Piper said.

“That’s the way he scheduled his day. So much of it was out to the farmers, doing the big animals, then he would spend so much time doing surgeries, then he would spend so much time doing clinical stuff.

“It’s kind of like, how did he keep up with it? I don’t know.”

When he retired in 2017, Brester said he did not have any big plans other than working in his garden, on his farm and possibly helping out a farm animal every once in a while. On his first day of retirement, he had already captured three calves that morning.

“I’ll be around,” he said. “I’m not going on any vacations. I hate vacations.”

When he retired, he said he wanted people to know how much he appreciated all of his clients, his family and his staff from over the years.

“If it hadn’t been for them, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I enjoyed having worked many days in life, because I enjoyed doing what I have been doing. Some people can’t say that, but that’s thanks to the clients and my staff and my family,” he said.

Did he agree that he’s an “animal angel,” though?

“No. I’m just a man,” he said in 2017. “I just got lucky to do something for 50 years that I enjoyed.”

Arrangements are being handled by Bond-Mitchell Funeral Home.

Piper said the services will private for family due to COVID-19 restrictions.