ISU Extension swine veterinarian Jim McKean dies

AMES —Long-time Iowa State University Extension swine veterinarian James D. McKean, 67, of Ames, died April 10.

James McKean

AMES —Long-time Iowa State University Extension swine veterinarian James D. McKean, 67, of Ames, died April 10.

"The pork industry lost a great friend and the Iowa Pork Industry Center lost a great champion with the passing of Dr. McKean," said John Mabry, ISU animal science professor and former director of the center. "He also was a tireless supporter of the Iowa pork producer. Thanks to his leadership, the Master Pork Producer Program of the Iowa Pork Producers Association (a program designed to recognize Iowa pork producers with programs of excellence) more than two generations of pork producers have been recognized and featured."

Funeral services were April 22 at Saint Cecilia Catholic Church in Ames.

McKean was internationally renowned as a leader in efforts to develop tools and programs for disease surveillance, and he was front and center in efforts to eradicate diseases.

McKean was perhaps best known for his leadership in the eradication of Pseudorabies virus from the U.S. pork industry in 2004 and ongoing efforts to initiate an eradication program for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory syndrome virus.


McKean was well into the process of designing strategies for eradicating Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. He also was known for his leadership in helping establish and continuously improving the Pork Quality Assurance programs.

"Dr. McKean's tireless commitment to swine health and well-being will be greatly missed," said Lisa K. Nolan, dean of ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine. "His research and grassroots efforts with pork producers and his mentorship of young industry-oriented faculty reflected his devotion to the industry and vision for its future. Our college also has lost an outstanding colleague and friend."

McKean became a university professor in 2000 in recognition for distinguished service. He was ISU Swine Extension veterinarian since August 1974.

McKean was born in New York City and grew up in central Illinois. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in veterinary pathology from Michigan State University, and the Juris Doctor degree from Drake University.

McKean planned a career in large animal medicine because of experiences with pigs and cattle growing up, but an accident as a sophomore in veterinary school changed his course. While working in a corn processing plant to earn money for college, his left leg became caught in a feed auger, resulting in amputation.

After six weeks in the hospital and two weeks recuperating at home, he returned to college and finished his degree with his class.

While completing his DVM, he earned a varsity letter as a member of the University of Illinois' Wheelchair Basketball Team. He became a member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association just one year after his life-changing accident. During his career in the NWBA he won four national championships.

He served on the parish council and school board of St. Cecelia Catholic Church in Ames and was a member and past president of the Gilbert Community School Board.


McKean is survived by his wife, Ellen, of Ames; his son, Jim (Deborah) McKean, and their children, Ellie and Kailie, of Annapolis, Md.; his son, Brad (Carmen), and their children Madison and Marissa, of Fredericksburg, Va.; his daughter, Bridget (Marv) Konz, and their children, Addison and Grant, of Ames; and his daughter, Maura (Kory) Miller, and their children, Larissa, Kaylyn and Reed, of Ankeny.

Memorials may be sent to the Dr. James D. McKean Memorial Fund, First National Bank, 405 5th St. Ames, Iowa 50010.

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