In Memoriam: William J. Zontine, DVM, MS (1920-2007)

Bill was born in Chandler, Colorado on December 30, 1920. After receiving his DVM from Colorado State University in 1942, he was commissioned as a first Lt. in the Army second Cavalry Division, stationed at Camp Lockett in Campo, CA, where he met his future wife, Ione, who was in the Army Nurse Corps. He served in North Africa, France, and Italy, earning the Soldiers Medal and four Battle Stars, as well as the Bronze Star for his ski patrol rescue of troops in the Alps. He later retired as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force Reserves. In 1946, he started the Zontine Veterinary Hospital in Lancaster, CA, serving the needs of Antelope Valley until 1971 when he sold his practice. He then moved to Los Angeles where he obtained a Masters Degree in medical physics from the UCLA School of Medicine and developed an interest in radiology. He self-funded a radiology residency at UC Davis from 1971 to 1974 and became a Diplomate of the ACVR in 1974. During his residency, he often referred to his typed class notes from CSU, especially relating to large animal lameness problems. He coauthored a book on Techniques of Veterinary Radiography with Joe P. Morgan and Sam Silverman. He also wrote a classic article on dental radiography in Veterinary Clinics of North America (1974), edited by Peter F. Suter, as well as presenting papers throughout the United States and Canada and authoring more than 70 scientific publications.

After finishing his residency, he served as Staff Radiologist at the AnimalMedical Center in New York City for 2 years and then in 1978 moved to Huntington Beach, CA, where he established a consulting practice out of Grand Avenue Pet Hospital in Santa Ana, providing radiology consultations to hundreds of practices in Southern California. He also started a film supply business selling X-ray film to veterinarians.

Bill retired from practice in 1989, selling his practice and film business to Brett Kantrowitz. After retirement, he continued his passion for golfing, boating, fishing, skiing, traveling, and visiting friends. Among his accolades that he received throughout his career was the prestigious CVMA Distinguished Life Membership award in 1988. Bill was an active member of the SCVMA (since 1948), AAHA, CVMA, AVMA, and SVMA.
Ione preceded Bill in death in 1997. Bill is survived by his four sons: Lee of Richmond, New Zealand, Donald of Whidbey Island, WA, Dennis of Turlock, CA, and Chris of San Jose, CA, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Bill was outgoing, warm, and considerate with a passion for teaching and spreading his wisdom to everyone. His comradeship, style, intelligence, and leadership helped veterinarians evolve as interactive colleagues rather than competitors. He was a soldier, veterinary pioneer, radiologist, mentor, skier, and friend. He was truly a veterinarian’s veterinarian.

Our profession has lost a giant. Dr. Bill Zontine, you will be forever missed.

JERRY M. OWENS
San Rafael, CA
Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2008 49 (5), 494.