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Popular vet Dr. Van Snow dies in plane crash

From the Newstrader - May 6th, 2010 - General News
Dr. Van Snow

Dr. Van Snow

SANTA YNEZ — More than 2,000 friends and family descended on the Santa Lucia Farm Sunday, April 18, to pay respects and honor Dr. Van Snow, a veterinarian and pilot who died in a plane crash near Borrego Springs 10 days earlier.

Dr. Snow, 58, was a prominent equine veterinarian and an early pioneer in shock-wave therapy to treat soft-tissue injuries and stress fractures in horses. He was an expert on lameness and was known for his work with stem cells and other groundbreaking therapies.

Dr. Snow was reportedly planning to compete in an air show and was practicing in his experimental Harmon Rocket when it crashed just short of the runway at Borrego Valley Airport in north east San Diego County.

“Van lived life to the fullest, and we are all going to miss him,” said his sister, Gayle Snow Stevens.

Dr. Snow was raised in Glennville, near Bakersfield, and graduated from UC Davis in 1978 with his doctorate in veterinary medicine. He moved to Virginia to specialize in equine medicine and then to the Santa Ynez Valley in the 1980s.

After working for Monty and Pat Roberts as the veterinarian at Flag is Up Farms outside of Solvang, Dr. Snow founded Santa Lucia Farm, where he bred and treated horses.

“I called Monty in Germany and he was devastated,” Pat Roberts said. “Our mutual friends are reeling with shock and sadness for his family. He was the best vet west of the Mississippi, a friend told me.”

Russ and Janet Westfall, who own, breed and train cow horses nearby, have stood a number of their stallions at Santa Lucia Farm and enjoyed time with Dr. Snow and his fiancee, Lindsey Creed.

“He wasn’t just our vet, he was one of our best friends,” said Janet. “He accomplished so much — everyday wasn’t just an eight-hour day for him. He just kept going and going. When he did something, he did it full force.”

Snow is survived by his children April, Amy, Hayley, Tye, Shelbie and Cody, as well as his grandchildren, father, brothers and sisters and extended family.

In lieu of flowers, contributions were made in Snow’s honor to the Snow Family Foundation, 1924 West Highway 154, Santa Ynez, CA 93460.

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