To the clients and friends of Thornwood, this is Dr. Leali and I would like to say a few words about Marc VanOtteren. You knew him as “tall Marc” and I am certain that all of you have met him at the office. For you see it was 20 years ago that a very tall, somewhat awkward, shy, teenager, applied for a job at Thornwood. It was not long before I recognized that this boy had a golden spirit, a friendly manner, with an integrity that made him an excellent employee and in time, more, much more. Over the years I watched this boy grow into a man of not only integrity but also with a personal quality of character, trustworthiness and dependability. He became no longer an employee but a trusted, family member, a brother, a son.
As the years went by he assumed more and more responsibility in all areas of the clinic. He spent hours with me assisting in surgery, hours going with me in our mobile clinic, hours doing maintenance, hours performing lab work and hours in the kennel. He earned a degree as a human Radiology Technician. He had opportunities for employment elsewhere but he chose to stay with his Thornwood family. Thirteen years ago when my son, Keith, came to manage our Clinic, Marc and he spent hours in daily maintenance and doing projects while Marc would also fill in within the office. We fondly had an office saying that whatever went wrong, it was “Marc’s fault,” because in reality, we all knew that Marc was almost never at fault. Sadly, Marc was suddenly taken from us, from you, from his parents, loved ones and friends, on April 5th.
We all continue on in life enjoying our loved ones and friends. But there are those that will fall away and leave us with a deep wound that is hard to endure. The wound will scar and we will continue on, but we will remember a smile, a laugh, a help and we will learn to be more understanding, more grateful, more loving and perhaps most of all seek God more.
So I ask for your understanding that in the weeks to come as you visit with Samantha, or Heather, or Dr. Grusling, or John, or Michelle, or Keith, or myself, that you will forgive us if we are not as happy, or find it hard to smile, or if you see a tear or sad expression as we look around Thornwood; because you see, “it will be Marc’s fault.”
Dr. Raymond Leali