By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — Small town life has served the veterinarian practice of Dr. John Fields well.
After operating a successful practice in the 300 block of Main Street in Mt. Vernon for 34 years — near the Dairy Queen — Fields has announced his retirement, effective April 10.
"We looked at several different towns, and decided Mt. Vernon is where we wanted to live and set up our practice," Fields said of how the business started. "We didn't know a soul, but the people here were so nice. We just felt like we fit right in."
Fields said he looked for a location for his practice for seven weeks with a realtor, and finally the eighth week Fields ventured out on his own and found the Main Street location through a newspaper advertisement.
Fields, his wife Sharon, and two daughters lived in the house for 1 1/2 years — eventually having to move into another residence when the practice expanded.
Sharon Fields retired from Franklin Attendance Center five years ago.
Fields recalls that during that time he would include on invoices a description of no charge for entertainment. Turns out, his daughters had a nightly routine of putting on their tap shoes, go down in the kennel and sing and tap dance for the pets.
"I've totally enjoyed all my years in veterinarian medicine. My best memories are all the wonderful people who have brought their pets in. I'm a people person, and I enjoy so many of them that I consider them friends," he said. "I love going to other places and know other businessmen, know people and see people and clients. My wife and I both enjoy that and that's what we like about the size of Mt. Vernon."
Fields graduated in 1968 from the University of Missouri Veterinary School. He then enlisted into the U.S. Air Force and spent his military service time at a strategic air command at Loring Air Force Base in northern Maine.
"I had five sentry dogs that I took care of with seven enlisted men," Fields recalls. "Our main job besides taking care of those sentry dogs was we were in charge of food inspection for the base and the food ordered for the commissary. Back then they figured that since veterinarians were coursed in herd management we were probably more experienced to do that than other medical people."
Fields plans to stay busy during retirement.
"We love Mt. Vernon. We're going to stay here. We're both involved with First United Methodist Church and some of its ministries and likely to be more involved. I'm also in Rotary and United Methodist men. My passion is fishing, and I want to do more fishing," he said, adding that he and his wife plan to do more traveling.
Fields also said he plans to spend more time in his woodworking shop at his residence.
He indicated he plans to sell his building and equipment if he can find a buyer.