- Deceased's name: Dr. George Washington Pugh Jr.
- Age: 78
- Date: June 3, 2012
- Hometown: Ames, Iowa
Dr. George Washington Pugh Jr. DVM. Ph.D of Ames, Iowa passed away of cancer Sunday June 3, 2012 at Israel Family Hospice House in Ames. Dr. Pugh was an internationally recognized research leader in infectious animal diseases. In 1961, he became the first Black person to receive a license to practice veterinary medicine in Georgia, and the first Black research scientists ever hired or retained by the United States Department of Agriculture (Agricultural Research Service Division). An author and contributor to hundreds of research articles, his breakthrough work in immunity, immunogenicity and vaccines, brucellosis, pink eye, and other diseases led to substantial research advances. Throughout his career, he helped teach hundreds of veterinary and graduate students, launching them into careers around the world in microbiology and veterinary science and helping the National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames to international prominence.
Dr. Pugh was born April 15, 1934 in Hurtsboro, Alabama, the second son of the Rev. George W. Pugh Sr. and Cathel Dix. After graduation from high school in 1952, he enlisted in the US Army and served with distinction in Korea. After completing his military service, he became active in the Civil Rights Movement, participating in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and sit-ins to protest segregation. Using the GI Bill he enrolled in Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama where he received his DVM in 1961. After moving to Ames to work for the NADC, he began work on his doctorate and received his Ph.D in Microbiology from Iowa State University in 1971. Dr. Pugh’s scientific achievements resulted in several professional distinctions, including: membership in the veterinary honor society Phi Zeta (1969), the scientific research society Sigma Xi (1971), appointment as an honorary Kentucky Colonel, and an appointment as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. Dr. Pugh retired from the NADC in 1996 and became active in the Ames community. He spent his time gardening and participating in the North Grand Farmers Market where he always ensured that everyone went away with more vegetables and information than expected.
Dr. Pugh is survived by his wife of 49 years, Jeanette Pugh of Ames, children David (Rose) Pugh of Jacksonville, Florida, Deborah Pugh of Ames, Joseph (Melissa) Pugh of Stillwater, Minnesota, Jeanne Pugh of Woodbury, Minnesota, and three grandchildren Malcolm, Alexis, and Andrea. Dr. Pugh maintained close ties with his extended family and is also survived by his aunt, Annie Lou Anthony of Orlando, Florida, his brother, the Rev. Andrew (Louise) Pough of Alabama, his lifelong friend and late sister’s husband, Nathaniel Dubose of Los Angeles, California, and his mother-in-law Rosa De Souza of Washington DC.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Elizabeth Dubose of Los Angeles, California, and his first wife, Adrienne De Souza Pugh of Washington DC.
Dr. Pugh requested to be cremated and that his commitment to health and science continue after his death; in lieu of funeral services, Memorial gifts may be sent and designated to support the William R. Bliss Cancer Center. Donations may be sent in care of Mary Greeley Medical Center Foundation, 1111 Duff Avenue, Ames, IA 50010. On line condolences may be sent to www.grandonfuneralandcremationcare.com.