11/16/2012 3:22PM

Donald Fishman, veterinarian, dies at age 78

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario – A funeral service will be held at noon on Sunday for Dr. Donald Fishman, a longtime veterinarian and fixture on the Ontario racing scene who died in Niagara General Hospital at age 78 on Thursday.

The service will be held at Steeles Memorial Chapel, 350 Steeles Avenue West, Toronto.

Harvey Swartz, a lawyer and horse owner who was a good friend of Fishman’s, said the colorful veterinarian will be sorely missed.

“He was a legend in his time,” said Swartz. “He was probably one of the most respected vets in Canada, and he was one of the last of the racetrack characters.

“The people loved him – at Fort Erie, in Toronto, in Florida. He had a large circle of friends.”

Swartz remembers Fishman as one of the first veterinarians to perform surgeries on-site at farms, in the 1980s.

Fishman’s clients included the late E.P. Taylor and Charles Taylor, for whom he worked as a private veterinarian at Windfields Farm, and he was later allied with trainers Mac Benson and the late Tony Mattine.

“He excelled at evaluating horses,” said Swartz. “He’d go to all the sales.”

Fishman also acted as a mentor to other local veterinarians, including John Chris, Robert McMartin, and Greg de Gannes.

“He was the first veterinarian to do orthopedic surgery on a Thoroughbred in Ontario,” recalled De Gannes, a veterinarian and trainer based at Woodbine.

Fishman’s survivors include his wife, Lea Vivot Fishman; sons Uri, Erik, and Louie; and brother Stanley Fishman, a trainer and HBPA representative at Fort Erie.

Memorial donations may be made to the Longrun Thoroughbred Retirement Society or the Canadian Cancer Society.