Memorial for 'Doc Tony' set Thursday at Fort Worden
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
PORT TOWNSEND -- Veterinarian Anton Rogstad, who was known throughout East Jefferson County as "Doc Tony," will be eulogized at a celebration of life service at 5 p.m. Thursday in McCurdy Pavilion at Fort Worden State Park.
Rogstad, 52, died at his home in Chimacum on Aug. 1 after a heart attack.
The service will be officiated by the Rev. Pamela Douglas-Smith of Unity Church of Port Townsend.
Smith is a friend of the Rogstad family, which included Doc Tony and his wife, Jeanette.
The couple had no kids of their own but informally adopted five children, according to Smith.
According to Sgt. Phil Henry of the Department of Fish and Wildlife who was both a colleague of and a friend to Rogstad, "the animals were their kids."
Several people recalled Rogstad's easy nature with animals, saying that he would "get down on the floor and look the dog in the eye" to establish a bond with the animals.
Rogstad operated Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital on Chimacum Road and the Pet Townsend animal clinic, which helped to finance the rescue operations.
Along with his wife, he ran TJ's Wildlife Center in Chimacum, which handled thousands of wild creatures with 40 to 50 volunteers and six veterinarians involved.
Rogstad was in the process of selling the veterinary practice to two other vets, Dr. Jeff Highbarger and Dr. Abbie Doll, at the time of his death, although he had planned to continue the operation of the wildlife center along with his wife, according to Smith.
"It was almost as if he knew something was going to happen, and he wanted to make sure everything was going to continue on the right track," Smith said.
After hearing through a broker that Rogstad was interested in selling the practice about four months ago, Doll and Highbarger visited Rogstad to inspect the operation.
"We thought we were interviewing him," she said.
"But it turned out that he was interviewing us."
The two doctors agreed to buy the practice and moved from their homes in Florida to Chimacum two weeks before Rogstad died.
With the help of Dr. Robert Nathan, who was already working in the Chimacum clinic, the new owners began seeing all or Rogstad's patients when the clinic reopened Aug. 3.
An informal service was held on Friday at H.J. Carroll Park in Chimacum for family members and a select group of animals.
Thursday's service is held in an auditorium with a 1,200-seat capacity, but no animals will be allowed.
However, there will be six tables set up where attendees can contribute to memory books, according to Smith.
"He was an amazing person who really made a difference," Smith said.
"He took care of the animals but also took care of people and helped them through any crisis they were having with their pets."
Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: "Dr. Tony," as he was affectionately called by our 4-H animal club members, was an important contributor to 4-H animal activities in Jefferson County. His abiding love for animals and the people who cared for them will be sorely missed. We in the 4-H family feel fortunate to have known such a dedicated and caring person as Dr. Tony. We feel doubly fortunate that the children of our county had the chance to work with Dr. Tony and to see what a special person he was. We believe that the positive example that Dr. Tony set for our young people will inspire them to serve in the future.