of Flippin, AR
November 11, 2020
Gary A Ponder DVM, known affectionately as Doc, died peacefully at home as the sun was rising on November 11, Veterans Day. He was surrounded by his loved ones. Gary was born on May 2, 1952, in Walnut Ridge AR. He graduated from Pocahontas High School 1970. After graduation, he served in the Navy for 4 years. When he was honorably discharged, he took a job as a wrangler on a horse ranch in Napa, California, where he met the love of his life, Antonette Kate Brajkovich (Toni). They shared a love for horses and courted on the horse trails in Napa. Toni and Gary were married in San Anselmo, CA on October 24, 1976. They moved back to Walnut Ridge, AR and Gary began his studies which lead to his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Louisiana State University in 1985. After getting his license, Gary practiced in Russellville before opening the White River Veterinary Clinic, in Flippin. Gary and Toni raised three children, Clinton Russell, Tanya Leigh, and Nicholas Joseph in Flippin. Gary took care of his community's farm animals and pets; he loved going out on farm calls no matter the weather or time. You could expect to see his truck at the clinic at all hours to take care of clients and their beloved pets. Over the 34 years as Doc in Flippin, Gary found time for family and friends. He loved to fish on the White and Buffalo Rivers, deer hunt on his farm and elk hunt in Colorado. He always tried to attend his children's soccer matches. Gary stayed in contact with his Navy buddies and they had reunions every two years in Maine where one of the guys was a lobster fisherman - so they feasted on lobsters. His sisters and brother lived nearby, and they enjoyed holidays, birthdays, graduations, and other special events together. Gary and Toni continued their love of riding horses; you could often find them camped along the Buffalo National River with friends. Erbie was Doc's favorite place to camp. He loved his horse Spook because he was always a challenge to ride and he loved playing cowboy. During these last few years as his health was failing you would find Gary at home reading his favorite book, Lonesome Dove, or watching the western channel. His second home was Northern California, he and Toni made sure they visited regularly, the children grew up close to Toni's parents Mimi and Poppy, and their Californian aunts, uncles, and cousins. Gary is survived by his wife Toni, son Clinton (Lauren Wayson), daughter Tanya and son Nicholas; a sister, Janet Little (Mitch Little) of Hoxie, AR, sister-in-law Susan Ponder Brown (Morgan Brown), of Imboden, AR; his sister in law Patricia Brajkovich (John Nelson) of Windsor, CA; brother in law Thomas Brajkovich (Rita) of Thousand Oaks, CA; father in law Peter Joseph Brajkovich of Greenbrae, CA; nine nieces and nephews, and nine great nieces and nephews.Gary was pre-deceased by his parents John A Ponder (Junior) and Anna V Morrison Ponder; his mother-in law Gladys M Brajkovich, his sister Mary Ann Ponder, brothers David L. Ponder and Terry E. Ponder, and nephew David Scott Ponder. Due to Covid concerns, a celebration of life will be held later. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to ASU Foundation c/o Pre-Veterinarian Discretionary Fund in Memory of Gary Ponder PO Box 1990 State University, AR 72467 Hospice of the Ozarks or Have a Heart Pet Shelter in Yellville, AR.Arrangements are by Roller-Burns Funeral Home in Yellville
Ricky and I were so saddened upon hearing of Gary’s passing Toni. Seems like yesterday we were all in vet school together. You and Gary made those years so special. We were blessed to have you as our friends and support, sharing many good times. We will always treasure our friendship. May Gary Rest In Peace with our Lord and May He bring you comfort Toni. ❤️🙏🏻
Served with him in the NavyHe was a good manSo sorry
Our pets loved this man.He was gentle and had a vast amountof vetenery knowledge.So long Partner.............
Didn’t know Gary, but after reading the obituary, I feel I know him. When I leave this life, I hope I’m half the veterinarian, veteran, and exemplary citizen/family man he was. RIP Good man.
May GOD comfort you in the way only HE can we pray. Memories of Gary and our days in the navy will always be precious to me. I regret we cancelled our reunion trip now but we can not go back . Move forward as our GOD direct. Toni and family you will always be in our prays .
Toni and family, we are so sorry for your loss of a Great man, and a Great doc. I have known Gary for around thirty years now, and He was our only vet. Not only was He our vet, He was our friend! He was always there for us no matter what. He has helped me out many, many times! Not only was He a good Cowboy, He was a Horseman, and a good one. He will be missed! HAPPY TRAILS MY FRIEND, TILL WE MEET AGAIN!
Toni, I’m so sorry for you and your family’s heartbreak. Gary was a kind and gentle man; I have fond memories of you two from Vet School days. Godspeed.
May God bless the Ponder family. I share in your sadness.
Toni,I am so sorry for your loss. I counted Gary as a friend and I was proud to have him as a colleague. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you.Bev
Toni and family...I am so sorry to learn of your loss of Gary. May you be blessed with wonderful memories in these hard days. You made a great couple!💖🙏
So very sorry for your loss.
There will never be another "Doc" Ponder. He was dedicated to his profession and cared for his community and its animals. Like others have said, it was fun stopping in the clinic and visiting with Doc and Lu. Never anything that couldn't be handled there and the conversation always made you leave with a smile. Toni and family, our condolesences to you all and may God give you peace at this most difficult time.
My sympathy & prayers to you Toni & your family! So sad to hear! He was such a good man! Hard working, fun loving, kind, generous, such a big heart for not only animals, but people. I’ve called on Dr Ponder through work for over 25 years, but considered him & Toni as family! We’ve had a lot of good times & laughter over the years! He will be missed!
Rest In Peace my friend. We’ll catch up again someday. My heartfelt condolences to Toni and the kids. Great guy, Great vet and dear friend. You are missed by many!
Toni and family we are so saddened to hear of Gary's passing. He was a fine man and vet!! Never was one to beat around the bush about our animals and let us know what to do. He will be missed by the entire community. Fond memories of a great vet will live forever. Danny & Joyce McCalla
So sorry for your loss. I’m praying for you and your family.
Prayers to your family
Rest in peace Gary.You will be missed
Doc was greatly appreciated by everyone who knew him. He always took time with our four legged friends and will be missed by all.
Our condolences to Toni and your entire family. It was a please getting to know Gary, he always had a good story to tell, we will miss him. -Daniel and Ruth Greer
My sincerest condolences to the Ponder family. Doc was a one of a kind person and I am so grateful for all of the care that he gave our animals over the years. Praying for you all.
I am truly sorry, he has left us too soon. He was a good friend and excellent veterinarian. He spent hours sewing the hide back on "Critter" after she tried to dive under my trucks right rear tire while still on a rope. He saved her life and she enjoyed another 10 years as my companion. I will cherish his wit and wisdom and remember him for the rest of my life. Phil Polk
Toni, Clint, Tanya, & NickWe were so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. Our families met years ago when two little boys became friends and they were the only two people in their lives that could understand what the other was saying!! There were lots of soccer games and always inquiries on how each other’s kiddos were doing whenever we came in the clinic. In fact most of the time Gary would just come out to the truck to give the dogs shots so we wouldn’t have to bring them in. He obviously meant a lot to the community of animal owners and the people that knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with all you during this difficult time of loss. Godspeed Gary
Toni and family,We are saddened for your loss of such a fine man and vet. We truly called him a friend. He will be missed by many throughout this area. May God's peace and love comfort each of you.Love,Steve and Peggy
Toni and all of Doc's family, so sad to learn of your loss. I have so many memories of times working cattle and horses with Doc, both pleasant and unpleasant, but he always got the job done. I used to kid him when I would call him early of a morning about his pleasant personality (as we know he was such a morning person) and he would never fail to complain about the conditions of my pens when we had a big bunch of cattle to work. Its always windy on this ridge, or its muddy, or its to dusty, but as I said he always got the job done and we managed to enjoy the day doing the work we both loved. He never failed to help me even when I was in the Big Bend country of southwest Texas or Colorado and had a sick animal, he was always a phone call away. God's speed Doc.
My husband Earl, myself and three girls moved here from Texas in 1981, and being animal lovers it didn't take long to get acquainted with Doc Ponder. He took care of horses, cows, sheep, dogs and cats that we had for many, many years. One incident occurred during a bad winter storm, and I had remembered that we had an appointment to take a cat in to be spayed. I was actually headed to the phone to call and cancel since the roads were not really safe, when the phone rang, and the voice on the line said, "Hi, this is Gary Ponder" thinking that he was wondering if we were coming in or not, I instantly told him that I was just planning to call and cancel. "Well, that's Ok, because I'm not in the office." I'm stuck in a ditch just down the road from you, and was hoping that Earl could come with a tractor to pull me out". I told him I would round him up and was sure he could come help him. As it was, our son-in-law happened to be here and went along. They pulled him out and he went on his way.I later called an made a new appointment for the cat, and we took her in to be spayed. When we went to pick her up to come home, Doc stuck his head around the corner to tell his wife that there was no charge. I was adamant that we pay him, so he came to the counter saying" Do you have any idea how much it would have cost me to call a tow truck to get me out of that ditch?" I had forgotten about all that , as had Earl, but Doc hadn't! He was a super nice person and a wonderful vet. He will be greatly missed! His family is in my prayers.
Prayers for your family, Gary was a great man, always ready to help any time day or night, warm or cold outside, he will be missed 🙏❤️
Toni and Family,We are so very sorry for your loss. Through the years Gary has cared for a lot of our dogs and horses, and I always enjoyed visiting with him and admired his skills and dedication to animals. We will surely miss him. God bless you and your family.Philip and Nancy Hurst
Doc was a great guy. Toni and family Im sorry for your loss. I enjoyed working with him at the clinic. I have many stories and memeories. He taugh me a lot.
We are so sorry for your loss. Gary will be greatly missed. He was always there when we needed him. We will never forget all he did for my family.
My condolences to the Ponder family. So sorry to hear of Doc's passing. He was a compassionate vet, and a kind man.
Toni, Clint, Tanya, Nicholas my prayers go out to you all at this time. Gary was such a special individual that touched so many throughout the years. He had a heart of gold not only for our animals but for the people that brought them to him. I will be forever grateful for him for taking care of all my animals. He was one of a kind veterinarian and will be greatly missed.
I have many memories of you making farm calls for my Grandpa, Ed Lynch. It hurt my heart to hear of your passing. My condolences to the family.
Toni ,Children and Family. Gary "Doc" Ponder, Will be missed by so many . Doc was Not only the local veterinarian, he was a Friend. Gary always had a story to tell you when you took your animals to his office or he came to your farm . So thankful to have learned a lot from him about cattle farming. R I P my friend
Gary was the best vet. He will be missed.
Gary was the type of person who stays in your heart for a life time. He.had a rough exterior which belied a heart of gold; tough as hide and tender as a marshmallow at the same time. I am so lucky to have had Gary and Toni as my friends. Gary, you and Wayne can find a good spot on the river and fish all you want now.
My sincere condolences to the Ponder family.
Doc was a good man and a skillful vet. We will never forget the time Terry took a nanny goat to theclinic that was in bad shape while in labor. Dr. Ponder performed a c-section right there in the parking lot and put some sulphur tablets in her and stitched her up like it was no big deal. That nanny went on to have many kids and lived a long time. Doc was very humble and he will be missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to Toni and entire family.
I'm so sorry to hear that Gary isn't taking care of our Marion County animals. He did it so well and with great spirit. He is already missed.
Toni, I am so sorry for your loss. I will be thinking about you and praying for your family in the coming days. Christy
No finer man. Being the only Vet, especially one that handled large animals, in a rural area had to be exhausting. But, as one of the commenters noted, Doc was always there when called. How he managed it, I will never know. Doc saved lots of animals and farmers. He also, by saving animals, saved untold lives in this area. A brutal loss for the area. He made lots of peoples lives better.
I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, Toni! Doc was so good to my animals... from the dogs of my childhood to the horses in my adult life. He would come to our farm once a year to do my coggins and vaccs! I'll never forget the last time, as my horse Trouble, rearranged Doc's items in the bed of his truck! Doc just smiled and said "it's okay, he may think twice before coming back to my truck again after he gets his shots!" LOL, always calm he was! Lots of wonderful memories, thanks for sharing him with all of his many patients/clients!
We are so sorry to hear of your loss.
Toni and family,Thinking of you often during this difficult time. Ponder was a great man and loved by many! Keeping all of you in our prayers.With Deepest Sympathy Love, Seth and Andrea
Doc Ponder saved my horse’s life. We had a wreck and he cut his neck on a piece of metal. Doc wasted no time in responding to the urgent call. He professionally cared for and stitched up my horse. All that was left was a tiny scar. I’ll forever be grateful to him. He cared and mended countless horses and cattle for my family and I. He will be missed! Our deepest sympathy to the family. We will keep you in our prayers.
GARY, IT WAS A PLEASURE KNOWING YOU ALL THESE YEARS. YOU NOT ONLY WERE A GREAT DOC AND A GREAT PERSON BUT ALSO A GREAT SON IN LAW. REST IN PEACE. YOUR FATHER IN LAW. PETER BRAJKOVICH
So sorry for your loss!! He was a wonderful vet, and a great man!!! He took great care of all my dogs over the years!! Even came to our house to give them all the shots!! Even stopped to have cup of coffee with my Dad!!!!
A great man who will be greatly missed!
My heart goes out to Toni and the children in this time of loss. Gary was as near and dear to me as any friend I have ever had. Our time in the Navy together created a brotherly bond that many won’t/can’t understand. He will forever be missed but never forgotten. He was a wonderful man, dad, husband and friend. Heaven just received a precious soul and his old pain and suffering is finally over. Rest In Peace my beloved brother. I’ll miss you so much.
I am so sorry Toni. Prayers for your family.
Sincere condolences on the loss of Doc. He was a kind man with a heart for animals. May he rest in peace.
We lived in Yellville area and he was our vet for 40 years, for cattle and our dogs. Good man he was there when you needed, day or night.
Gary was one of my most favorite people in this world!!! He has taken care of my cats....all of them, for years. He has even come out in the middle of the night for me and one of my cats!!!! I have missed him since he stopped practicing and I will miss him as a person too. Big hug Toni!!!
On behalf of the teacher education faculty at ASUMH we send our sincere condolences and sorrow for your loss. Thinking of you.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Toni and family! I am one of the Navy buddies having the pleasure of serving with Gary for the 4 years he served. I have many fond memories of Gary while we served as Navy Minemen back in the early 70’s! As mentioned in his obituary, we spent some great times with Gary and Toni along with our other very good friends in Maine where we made even more wonderful memories after more than 4 decades of being apart! Those reunions my wife and I will never forget! Our last reunion was scheduled for April of this year. But, unfortunately due to the Covid outbreak, we had to cancel! One trip that I now wished would have happened! Again, we send our deepest condolences and prayers for the family during these very difficult times! Rest in peace shipmate! Nate & Rose Miranda
Doc was always there when we called him! He would always say, now Karen you be careful you can get infected with what these animals have! Always looking out for us!!
New Gary for close to 40 years. a great vet. Used him many times when we farmed and raised animals. Enjoyed knowing him and he will be missed. My sympathy to his family. I know how bad the loss hurts.