By Maria McKeon
It is with soul-searing pain and anguish that we announce the sudden death of our beloved Doctor Kathleen Lennon on March 13, 2023 (age 33). Kathleen was born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 24, 1989 (age 33). She was the daughter of Maria McKeon and Will Lennon, older sister to Craig and Kevin Lennon and “mother” to her always smiling dog named April May. She lived and set roots in New Albany, Ohio, however she spent most of her time travelling to horse shows in Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma and Florida. Kathleen was a renowned equine veterinarian working in the Quarter Horse show industry. While Kathleen came from an extended family, her true family was her fellow horse show family who watched over her in every aspect of her life.
Kathleen graduated from Loomis Chaffee School in Connecticut in 2007. She was admitted to Purdue University’s Vet Scholar Program as one of 3 students in the country, which led to her acceptance into the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, graduating summa cum laude in 2015. She was awarded the ACVS Foundation Student Surgery Award for Excellence in Large Animal Surgery and IAEP Award for Exceptional Proficiency and Professionalism in Equine Practice. Kathleen’s professors in veterinary school recognized her outstanding skill sets and encouraged her to pursue residency and become a board-certified equine surgeon. However, Kathleen pursued her true passion and became a renowned horse show veterinarian. Kathleen did her post-graduate externship at Elgin Veterinary Hospital and which she went to on private practice at The Pony Express Veterinary Hospital in Xenia, Ohio. After such hard work and dedication to the field, Kathleen started her own practice, Lennon Equine Services, in August 2022 and worked diligently to help her many loyal clients. Kathleen was a perfectionist and was so dedicated that she would relentlessly try to figure out solutions how to best help her patients. Ever the diplomat and kind-hearted soul, she worked as hard on a “back yard” horse as she did on a prize-winning champion. Kathleen never silenced her phone and was constantly called out in the middle of the night to rescue horses that needed veterinary care. Kathleen almost never took a day off because so many clients loved her brilliance and dedication that soon her practice quickly outpaced the number of hours in a day.
When she did manage to relax and slip away from work, she loved spending time with her mom in Sarasota, Florida.
Not only did Kathleen love the veterinary practice, but she loved competing in the show horse industry where she was an accomplished rider. Since she was 13, she had competed at the prestigious All American Quarter Horse Congress. Through the years she achieved higher goals including Reserve Congress Champion Hunter Under Saddle as being a two-time Congress Champion in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship, respectively. She was also an NSBA World and Reserve World Champion, as well as a Level – 1 AQHA Champion. Kathleen had a passion for veterinary medicine and show horses. But most of all, she loved the show horse environment which brings together an incredible mix of humanity, from the very young to the very old, from all over the country who share a common bond of hard work, humor, and kindness. She knew that if she ever needed help, a throng of horse show people would appear instantly to her aid. She cherished and thrived in that community.
When Kathleen was not in her scrubs and boots, she was just a girly-girl who sported bright colors, trendy clothes, bedazzled jeans, and sparkly western show clothes with an endless shoe collection to pick from. She was most known for her blue eyes and incredible luscious curls that either tumbled down her back or was thrown into a ponytail while working.
We all lost our sweet and kind Kathleen to suicide, an ever-increasing mental health crisis. No one saw it coming, because she was so incredibly stoic and private all the while shouldering the burdens of others. We all wish we could have wrapped our arms around our Kathleen in her time of desperation, pulled her back to us, and surrounded her with our collective love. Kathleen did know she was loved, but in the end her private stresses outweighed that love, and she made an incredibly sad choice to leave us. We are of course now devastated and heart-broken forever. We, like Kathleen, have been surrounded by the love of her friends, particularly Jennifer and Judd Paul, Sarah and Brian Bernatowicz and her fellow veterinary friends, Dimple Hall and Kyle Shipman who have held us up through these excruciating days. To her horse show friends/family we are forever grateful for your endless love and care for our beautiful Kathleen during her life.
If you are linked to a person on social media who works in veterinary medicine, you may have noticed a change of profile picture to include “NOMV” with the Rod of Asclepius. NOMV stands for Not One More Vet. Veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession. When you see the profile change, it is usually to honor another colleague that has succumbed to suicide. The rate is so high because they care so much about your horses, cows, dogs, cats and other animals. They feel failure if they cannot save or “fix” your beloved animal and never want to deliver bad news because, like you, they love your animals. They work endless hours for much lower pay and higher stress than any other medical profession. Please be kind to your veterinary help, including technicians, assistants, and doctors. #notonemorevet #NOMV #NOMVSS
There will be a visitation, service, and reception at Irongate Equestrian Center, 12298 Croton Road, Croton, Ohio on Sunday March 19th.
• Visitation period from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
• Service starting at 2:00 p.m.
• Celebration of Life Reception immediately thereafter.
Kathleen’s family would appreciate it if you would honor Kathleen by a contribution to one of the following in lieu of flowers:
1. NOMV – Not One More Vet – a foundation to prevent suicide by veterinarians.
Donations can be made here: https://www.nomv.org
2. Scholarship in the name of Kathleen Lennon to Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine to help alleviate the huge financial burden of becoming a veterinarian, for which there is little financial aid.
Scholarship memorial contributions may be made online at https://connect.purdue.edu/inmemoryofdrkathleenlennon or via mail made payable to Purdue Foundation sent to the College of Veterinary Medicine Development, 625 Harrison St., West Lafayette, IN 47906 in memory of Dr. Kathleen Lennon.
3. The Ohio Quarter Horse Foundation which provides a multitude of resources for scholarships, crisis funds, education, and health and welfare.
Donations can be made here: https://ohioquarterhorsefoundation.com/donate/