Dr. Clarence Edward Binninger D.V.M., 83, died Aug. 1, 2019, surrounded by his children. He will be greatly missed by many.
Born in 1936 in Browns Valley, Calif., Clarence was the youngest of three siblings. After graduating from Marysville High School in 1954 as student body president, Clarence joined the Army and served three years in Germany with an engineering unit.
After his time in the Army, he was the first in his family to attend college. He obtained his doctorate of veterinary medicine degree from the University of California, Davis in 1965.
He was later a resident in clinical surgery at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he taught clinical medicine, obstetrics and surgery, and also received the George Lynn Memorial Scholarship for research. He completed his master’s of science in 1967 at WSU, with a thesis on the surgical and immunological fundamentals of skin grafting.
In 1968, he moved to Saratoga, Calif., to practice veterinary medicine for a year, then a year in Potlatch. He then moved with his family to New South Wales, Australia. From 1970 to 1971, he practiced general veterinary medicine in Holbrook, NSW, where he invented and patented an intravenous technique for inducing cattle birth.
He returned to Idaho in 1971 and was in general practice in Orofino for five years. He operated satellite clinics in Weippe and Kamiah, making farm calls all around the Clearwater Canyon area in his Volkswagen van, which was converted to be a mobile veterinary clinic. Eventually, he purchased a property that was an old horse corral in Lewiston near the corner of 16th Avenue and Eighth Street, and opened Southway Animal Clinic in 1977. He retired and sold the practice in 1998.
Prior to retirement, Clarence served as president of the Idaho Veterinary Association and was a member of the National Veterinary Association. In 1998, he was the Democratic candidate for the Idaho state Senate for Nez Perce County. He acted in local civic theater performances and was a board member for a local children’s home.
Clarence was also a member of the Wildlife Disease Association, the National Wildlife Foundation and worked closely with Idaho Fish and Game for more than 25 years, volunteering countless hours treating and rehabilitating injured wildlife.
It was during his time at WSU in the mid ’60s that he developed a lifelong love of the mountains and rivers of the Clearwater region, and he especially enjoyed packing with his horses into the “high country” on elk hunts with family and friends.
In Lewiston, he also became a passionate steelhead fisherman, often keeping friends and family up late into the night making lures for the next morning because the commercial versions didn’t meet his specifications. When passing other boats on the river he would tell everyone, “Hide your lures,” so his secret home-built inventions wouldn’t be revealed.
Clarence was a thinker, designer, inventor and, most of all, a doer. He loved hang gliding, bird and big game hunting, fishing, river rafting, horse packing and traveling the world in search of new adventures. He was full of ideas and energy, always searching to improve something instead of accepting the status quo. He was forever working on ambitious projects, which he would often see through long after most of us would have given up. He was never constrained or discouraged by doing things differently.
Recently he also loved being “Grandpa Clarence,” and spent hours with his grandchildren, passing along his thoughts and curiosity about life.
Clarence will be remembered for his lifelong contributions to veterinary medicine and work on wildlife-related causes, but also much more.
Clarence is survived by his daughter, Valerie; sons Clarence, Michael, Steven and Jon; grandchildren Tia, Matt, Nina, Tamur, Flora, Bryden, Clem, Atley, Daxton, Landon; and great-grandchildren Charlie, William, Kira, Julianne and Charles.
Please join us for a celebration of life ceremony at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Lewiston Red Lion, in the Warrior Room. A light meal and refreshments will be served.