Van Eldon Brimhall
Van Eldon Brimhall passed away suddenly at his home on Friday, February 5, 2021, at the age of 92. “Doc,” as he preferred to be called, was born in Jacksboro, Texas, on November 29, 1928. Upon his passing, he was returned to the town of his birth to lie in rest beside his beloved mother.
Van’s humble beginnings, along with his mother’s encouragement, gave him a drive to succeed and become the best he could be. At age 16, with high school graduation behind him, high hopes, and $50 in his pocket, he hopped a freight train west to California, the land where dreams were made. His cousin Tom Russell and wife Sue provided a caring home so Van could begin college classes. He worked as a commuter bus driver for students, where he met and fell in love with the pretty young Lois Marie Harper. Throughout his young adult years “Miss Sue” continued to be an enthusiastic supporter, both of Van’s education as well as for his choice to marry that pretty lady. This past December, Van and Lois celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Following military service during the Korean War, Doc continued his education at the University of California at Davis while, with Lois’ support, helped rear their young children. He graduated in 1960 with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and embarked on a career as a large animal veterinarian, focused on commercial cattle operations. He was instrumental in developing a binding agent that allowed him to create an individualized feed regimen for each ranch based on its animals’ specific nutritional needs. He was an active, life-long member of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association.
Upon his retirement, Doc and Lois enjoyed spending time with their four children and six grandchildren. The large family frequently traveled together to the mountains of Colorado and the Texas seashore, and many special memories were created at the family’s lakehouse in central Texas. The grandchildren especially enjoyed “Papa Doc’s” tales of a genuine cowman’s life on the range.
Van was predeceased by his parents, Charles Oscar and Mary Elizabeth Thetford Brimhall, his older brother James Benjamin Brimhall, and his sisters Othella Brimhall Protzman and Yvonne Brimhall Perritt. He is survived by his wife, Lois Marie Harper Brimhall, and his children James Michael “Max” Brimhall, William Charles Brimhall and wife Paula, Patricia Lynn Brimhall, and Elizabeth Ann “Lisa” Brimhall Coker. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Benjamin Brimhall, Austen Brimhall Shannon, Cody Brimhall, Travis Brimhall, Merida Brimhall, and Makenzie Coker and his great-grandchildren Landon Braun, Kailey Braun, Benson Brimhall, Micah Brimhall, Lilly Brimhall, Keagan Shannon, and Scout Shannon.
Doc enjoyed numerous friendships throughout his life. He was a friend and mentor for the veterinarian-turned-cowboy poet Baxter Black; their special bond extended throughout their lives. Doc also enjoyed his special friendship with George Richardson, whether they were discussing business deals, working cattle, or spending evenings together spinning tales by the fire at their west Texas deer camp. He was particularly fond of his “adopted daughters” and treasured friends Dona Richardson and Merilynn Wick who were especially doting to him in his later years.
Van’s loved ones appreciate the guidance provided by Coker Funeral Home of Jacksboro during the challenging days following his passing. The family has chosen to postpone formal services until the Covid pandemic eases so that they may gather safely with one another and family friends. In the meantime, they welcome your remembrances and special stories on the funeral home’s website.