The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Judge, mayor, veterinarian…and deacon

The resume of this Oklahoma deacon is nothing less than staggering:

It’s hard for Oklahoma State Veterinary Professor Dr. James Breazile, 74, to go anywhere because once he does, those who get to know him don’t want to see him leave.

Among his professions, he has been a mayor of a small town, a small-town veterinarian, a university professor, an ordained Catholic deacon, a city judge and an author.

xl.jpgBreazile grew up on a farm in Rockpoint, Mo., and attended the University of Missouri, where he received his bachelor of science and doctorate of veterinary medicine degrees during a six-year program in 1958. It was there that he met his wife of 52 years, Joan.


“I looked up and saw this dream walk through the door. I thought, ‘This person is beyond this farm kid’s arena,'” he said. They dated for four years and married between his junior and senior years in 1957.

The couple now have three children and nine grandchildren ranging in age from 14 to 28.

After graduating, Breazile looked for a town without a veterinary service and found it in Pilot Grove, Mo. While there, he was asked to be mayor.

“People trusted me. My qualifications were that I wasn’t related to anybody, and I didn’t owe anybody any money,” he said. Because an elected judge was ill, he served as a city judge for six months.

Shortly after, he then moved to Minnesota where he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota until 1963 when OSU beckoned for the first time.


He and his wife, Joan, and their daughter and first son moved to Stillwater, where his second son was born, while he participated in a research program and taught veterinary students at OSU until 1967. Then the University of Missouri stole Breazile away, inviting him to teach and eventually become head of the department of veterinary anatomy there. Breazile and his family stayed for 11 years.

In 1978, OSU coaxed him back. he taught in the physiological sciences department, later becoming interim department head and interim director of laboratory animal resources.

“I teach the best students in the world. Every year, they’re the brightest and the nicest people you ever met. The reason I teach is, how do you leave an environment where people are so nice and take care of each other? I love the information I teach, and it’s fantastic that the people I get to teach are marvelous people,” he said.


Breazile attended night classes to become an ordained Roman Catholic deacon. He served as an ordained deacon at St. John and St. Francis parishes in Stillwater, at Sacred Heart Parish in Fairfax and St. Ann’s Parish in Shidler on the weekends.

At times, he has been a rare creature, a Catholic evangelist, going door to door with Bibles and crucifixes, asking if there are any Catholics in the home. People were often so surprised, they invited him in to talk regardless of whether they were Catholic or not, he said.

“I marry, I bury, I teach and I preach,” Breazile said.

Continue at the link for the rest.

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