Category Archives: Obituary

Obituary: Art Kennel

Arthur J. Kennel, M.D., 85, died peacefully at Charter House on December 12, 2014, after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was born to John E. Kennel and Anna Mary (Summers) Kennel on April 26, 1929, in rural Gap, PA. Arthur is survived by his wife Lois and sisters Naomi (Sol) Yoder of Amsterdam, and Leah Magal of Portland, ME. Also surviving is his daughter Susan Harrison of Toronto, Ontario, and son Kurt (Betty) Kennel of Rochester; five grandchildren: Andrew and Leila Harrison and Simon, Naomi, and Caleb Kennel. Preceding him in death were his brother, Calvin, and sisters Edith Graybill, Alta Stoltzfus, Erma Kauffman, Ruth Glick, Gertrude Yoder, Ann Mast, and Salinda Smucker.

Lois Kennel, Niki Kulklenski and Art Kennel at Hinterland's final Walkabout.  Photo by Kay Patterson.
Lois Kennel, Niki Kulklenski and Art Kennel at Hinterland’s final Walkabout. Photo by Kay Patterson.

Arthur (Art) graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1947. Although born into a long line of carpenters and skilled in the trade, he embarked on other employment adventures as well. In 1946 he contributed to alleviating post-war conditions in Europe by going to Poland as a sea-going cowboy. Again in 1951 he sailed with a shipload of heifers to Israel. In the summer of 1953 he drove with two friends from Pennsylvania to Alaska for work and adventure.

Art did undergraduate studies at Penn State and graduated from Eastern Mennonite College where he met Lois. He completed his M.D. at Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia in 1957. From 1958 to 1963 Art practiced general medicine in Jefferson, NC and Stuart, VA.  In 1960 he and his brother-in-law, Dr. Ivan Magal, established Stuart Clinic. From there he moved on to do Internal Medicine training at Mayo Clinic and a Fellowship in Cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania (1969).

After the births of his two children Art responded to a classified ad by the Medical Assistance Programs International which resulted in moving his family to Kinshasa, Zaire, from 1970-1972 where he became Chair of the Cardiology Department at the 1500-bed Hopital Mama Yemo (now Kinshasa General Hospital). Upon his return to the US he earned a Master of Science from University of Minnesota (1973). Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease he became a Mayo Clinic Consultant, Assistant Professor at Mayo Medical School and a Section Head of the Division of Community Medicine. He was a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, Sigma Xi National Research Society, and President of the Mennonite Medical Association and Rotary Club of Rochester. Arthur retired from the Mayo Clinic in 1995.

Arthur had many hobbies: travel, fishing, animals, gardening, photography, music, reading. The project that would enthrall him throughout his retirement began in 1981 when he began breeding and showing llamas. Kennelllamas, in partnership with Lois, was his passion for 30 years.

Art’s interest in scientific research provided opportunities for him to contribute to the llama industry by way of presentations at the University of Cajamarca in Peru, the University of Gottingen in Germany as well as with “People to People” in Australia and New Zealand. A two-term trustee of the Morris Animal Foundation, he reviewed grant proposals and the research agenda on camelids. In 2013 he was honored by the International Lama Registry for his impact on the llama industry.

Art was a man of faith and a leader in the Rochester Mennonite Church as long as he was able. In 2011 he completed his memoirs, Life, Love, Llamas and Laughs: My Story. (Masthof publisher).

The family wishes to express their sincere appreciation to the staff and volunteers of Mayo Hospice and Charter House for their loving care of Arthur. He has donated his body to Mayo Foundation for medical research.

There was a celebration of Arthur’s life at Charter House on December 23. An additional celebration will be held in Lancaster County in April, 2015.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to Medical Assistance Programs International, 4700 Glynco Parkway, Brunswick, GA 31525; Heifer Project International, 1 World Ave, Little Rock, AR 72202; Mayo Hospice, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905; or International Llama Foundation, Box 8, Kalispell, MT 59903.

Submitted by Lois Kennel


Obit: Dr. Murray Fowler

On May 18 of this year, we lost a dear friend, LLII contributor, advisor, mentor and amazing human:  Dr. Murray Fowler of UC Davis in Sacramento.

Shortly after, I received the following letter from another long time friend and LLII contributor, Eric Hoffman: 

You’ve probably heard that Murray Fowler died on May 18 after first suffering a stroke on May 9. There won’t be another Murray Fowler. He was an original with a positive way of doing things. For me personally Murray was a big deal.

My first contact with him was 1979 when I phoned UC Davis to find someone to talk to about conditioning a llama for a arduous trek. I still remember his advice: “Run three miles a day with the llama to get in shape and get to know how well you’ll get along.”  We worked on the screening protocols together (adopted around the world by every alpaca registry at one time or another) and more things.  As you know he was integral to stressing conformation in show standards. And, we wrote The Alpaca Book together. Murray was a giver, pivotal to many people in how their lives went forward. I last ran into about the Camelid Health Conference at OSU in Corvallis last July. He was hanging out with LaRue [Johnson] and proudly presented two papers to all veterinarian audience (except me).  [I was asked to join] Murray and LaRue [and one other vet for dinner]. We had a good time: many old stories and laughter. I’m glad I went, because I will remember how he was still so engaged in learning. He and LaRue were debating the pros and cons of one of the speakers that day and we discussed his help to Bob Frost who had died from cancer.

I’m sending you an article I wrote about him for the SF Chronicle Sunday magazine in 1984. This puts his contribution to zoo animal medicine and nonstandard animals in context of his bigger than life reputation he had which many camelid owners may not have realized.  In the course of the last week I ended up talking to Murray’s family when he was being moved to rehab. I communicated with them to offer support. A few old friends had remembered the Chronicle article and suggested it be resurrected. I asked Tricia, Murray’s daughter if she remembered the article and did she think it was a good tribute to her father. Audrey, Murray’s wife, had sent the article to all of their kids and the family really liked it.  At the time we were thinking Murray was in for a long arduous rehab (he couldn’t talk) and putting the article in print again might help lift his spirits. Shortly after my exchange with Tricia I received notice from her that Murray had died —  The tribute turned into a tribute-obituary. I ended up writing an addendum to the SF article describing in more detail Murray’s specific contributions to the camelid world and about his special qualities as a human being. Both will run in ICQ and it just went to press yesterday.

I’m sending the SF article for you to use if you want it. I know Murray had a relationship with Llama Life II for many years. Feel free to use the attached article.

Thank you, Eric!  We at LLII miss him, too!  To view the article, click here: Best_Vet