Services for Dr. Deorsey Earl McGruder will be held on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, 6000 S. Hampton Road, Dallas, Texas. Burial will follow after the Repass, at Laurel Land Memorial Park. 6300 S R L Thornton Fwy. Dallas, Texas 75232
Deorsey Earl McGruder Jr. was born May 1, 1937 in Muskogee, Oklahoma to Deorsey Earl McGruder Sr. and Sadie Mae Seals McGruder. He was the oldest son in a family of nine children.
Deorsey graduated in 1955 from Manual Training High School. After attending Langston University, he became the first Black resident of the state of Oklahoma to enroll in the Oklahoma State University School of Veterinary Medicine. He received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. In spite of the turbulent racial environment of that time, Deorsey and his classmates considered one another family, and maintained many close relationships throughout his life.
Deorsey married Vera Etta Evans on December 23, 1963. The wedding was officiated by Rev. Douglas in her sister, SaAlice’s, home in Wichita, Kansas. He was a faithful member of New Hope Baptist Church (Dallas, Texas) where he served on the Fidelia Usher Board and was an active member of the men’s Sunday school class.
Deorsey was an entrepreneur throughout his life. He began throwing and printing the newspaper (Oklahoma Independent) when he was eleven years old. Deorsey had the largest paper route and was recognized as an outstanding newsboy. Deorsey raised chickens. Once a month he would sell the plucked and dressed chickens to those on his route.
His first assignment after graduating vet school was to teach in the Large Animal Clinic at Tuskegee Institute (Alabama). He was the first to utilize sterile techniques in the field. While waiting to successfully complete his licensing boards in veterinary medicine in Texas, Deorsey worked with the USDA. After being licensed, Deorsey opened Southern Oaks Animal Clinic on May 1, 1966. Doing so, he became the third African-American veterinarian in Texas and the first African-American veterinarian in Dallas.
As a veterinarian, Deorsey had a tremendous impact on pet health in the city of Dallas and the state of Texas. He was the first Black treasurer of the Dallas County Veterinary Medicine Association (DCVMA). His work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) prompted members of the DCVMA to begin, as routine, to provide free first examinations to pets that had been adopted from the SPCA. Deorsey had a column in the Dallas Post Tribune that focused on pet health. He also worked with Senator Royce West to establish legislation that, in the interest of public health, would require rabies vaccinations be administered by licensed veterinarians.
Deorsey and his son, Edward, used interferon therapy on pets with parvovirus (a virus similar in structure to HIV). They learned that it increased the survivability of the pet. Interferon therapy later became one of the treatments to used with patients with HIV.
His presentation on pet care eventually led to him being awarded a life membership in the PTA. Deorsey mentored many young people who were interested in veterinary medicine, especially through Dallas ISD and its High School for Health Professionals. He provided high school student interns with hands-on training. Appointed by the late Governor Ann Richards for his expertise in veterinary medicine, Deorsey served six years as The Honorable Commissioner for greyhound and horse racing.
Deorsey was a life member of the Cotillion Idlewild Club of Dallas. In addition to presenting his daughter, Diana, he was able to celebrate with his granddaughter, Geneva as she was presented last year. Deorsey enjoyed photography and traveling. He also enjoyed getting away with the family in their motor home. Deorsey loved his family. He filmed thirty years of Mary Lois School of Dance recitals when Diana and Anita were dancers. He proudly recited the Hippocratic Oath with other veterinarians as Edward earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. He explored his family's oral history and developed a detailed genealogical map with Anita over many years. Through their research, family members have received cards denoting them as citizens of the Cherokee Nation.
Deorsey believed that mentoring his grandchildren and immersing in joy were vital aspects of life. Thus, he created a chat group to directly encourage them. He also used social media to interact with friends and family. Essentially, he was a lifelong learner and enjoyed technological advances.
Deorsey maintained a life of service. He used his available time, at work and during retirement, to call sick and shut-in members. He was the dining room DJ at his residence. Though he did not initially want to be a part of the resident council, he decided that it was important to represent those who had no family or no voice. Not only was he a member, he was the president. Deorsey also ensured that those who wanted to vote in local, state and national elections, were afforded the opportunity – even in the long term community. Because loved to make others smile, he provided birthday, Christmas and Valentine's Day cards to resident peers.
Those left to celebrate his life include his children -- Diana Yvonne (Anthony) Harper, Edward Deorsey (Patricia) McGruder and Anita Kay (Vernell III) McGruder Johnson; brothers Sterlin Henry (Kerri) McGruder Sr., Learner Monroe (Carolyn) McGruder; sisters, Sadie Mae McGruder Stokes and Barbara Ann (Wayne) McGruder Teague; sisters-in-law Valadean (Harold) Gardner and Charlotte June Bates; brother-in-law - Claud Dean (Elayne) Evans; grandchildren, Anthony Ray Harper (Morgunn) II, Geneva Suzette Harper, Raymond Deorsey Harper, Antonio Dean Harper, Andrew Ramon Harper, Donovan Edward McGruder, Chandler Hollis McGruder, Vernell Johnson IV and Carrington Symone Johnson; Goddaughter, Makia Cook; and a host of nieces, nephews and friends.
Deorsey is greeted in heaven by his wife, Vera Etta Evans McGruder; father, Deorsey Earl McGruder Sr.; mother, Sadie Mae Seals McGruder; siblings: Viola McGruder, Gladiola McGruder Lankford Wilma McGruder Silmon and Geneva Kay McGruder Moore.
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