Local News

Apr 9, 2010 9:35 PM by Ariel Wesler

Santa Ynez community mourns death of local veterinarian

A Santa Ynez man dies in a plane crash in San Diego County.
Investigators say 58-year-old Van Snow was piloting his home-made plane when it went down near the airport in Borrego Springs.

Snow lived in Bakersfield before moving to Santa Ynez where he became a well-respected veterinarian in the community.

In the Santa Ynez Valley, flags flew at half mast for 58-year old Van Snow, a well-know veterinarian, who specialized in horses.

"He would come out to the ranch and work on a horse, brake check him and help breed them, a complete line of veterinary work," said Paul Hamming, a local horse owner.

Snow moved to Santa Ynez more than thirty years ago from Bakesfield, where he grew up among a family of ranchers. Collegues say he's one of the best equine doctors in the business and respected him greatly.

"I would get calls from him in the middle of the night to come help him with things and I knew if I called him in the middle of the night, he would come help me with any thing at any time," said Dr. Mark Rick, Snow's friend and colleague.

In 1997, Snow founded the Santa Lucia Farm for reproductive care and lameness. Friends referred to him as a leg man.

"A lot of show people and a lot of performance people took their horses to doctor snow because not only was he very good at diagnosing, but he was very good at treating those horses to keep them competitive," Rick said.

Family and friends say Snow was adventursome. When he wasn't breeding horses, riding, or taking care of them, he was airborne.

"I watched him up in the air, right over our farm here," Hamming said.

A guy who never let life keep him down, even at the end.

"He said if I die doing this, I will die happy because I will die doing something I love, said Gayle Snow-Stevens, Snow's sister.

"His loss is going to leave a huge void in this valley and in this horse community," Rick said.

Go with God reads this sign as you leave Snow's farm. Perhaps a little reassurance he hasn't gone far.

No word yet on what caused the crash. Snow is survived by his fiance and six children. No specific date has been released for his memorial service.

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