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Passing of Dr. Richard (Dick) J. Montali, DVM, DACVP, DACZM

Doug Whiteside  | Published on 5/27/2018

The ACZM is saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Richard (Dick) J. Montali, a great friend and colleague to many in the profession.  Dick was a significant contributor to the field of zoo and wildlife medicine for over 4 decades.   He was one of eight Charter Diplomates of the ACZM, recognized for his contributions to the pathology of non-domestic species in the early years of our specialty.  He helped shape and build a strong foundation for the College in its formative years.  

His initial pathology training was at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine – Dept. of Comparative Medicine, providing him with excellent training and early exposure to the “One Medicine concept” with studies in human, veterinary and zoological pathology.  He worked tirelessly throughout his career to break down barriers between clinical medicine and pathology and make them a continuum, with both benefiting from his efforts.

Dick was truly one of the founders of modern investigative zoological pathology.  He authored over 200 peer reviewed papers and proceeding publications, many of which were seminal in nature.   He was internationally recognized for his highly collaborative work.  His investigations and publications spanned broad areas from mycobacteriosis affecting all vertebrate groups, to canine distemper virus and vaccine strategies in carnivores, to disease agents affecting individual species or genera such as Callitrichid hepatitis virus and elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus.  He documented and catalogued the pathology and health issues in many iconic, as well as lesser known species, including elephants, rhinos, giant pandas, red pandas, lion tamarins, maned wolves, black footed ferrets, tree kangaroos, tiger quoll, Bali mynah, cuttlefish, and many others. 

Dr. Dick Montali made a tremendous and long-standing impact on zoological medicine through all of the young pathologists and clinicians he mentored and trained.  He trained at lease 13 pathology residents at the National Zoo, many of which are working at major zoological institutions or are still involved in some way with zoo and wildlife pathology and disease investigations.  He also was involved in the training of over 65 pathologists at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, as well as countless veterinary students.  He instilled in many clinical veterinarians the importance of pathology being done correctly.   Dick was heavily involved with the C.L. Davis Foundation for the Advancement of Veterinary Pathology which brought a very interesting, and always well attended, pathology case presentation workshop to the annual AAZV annual conference for both pathologists and clinicians.

Dick has been honored by his zoological and pathology colleagues over the years, receiving the AAZV Emil P. Dolensek Award in 1999, the ACVP Distinguished Member Award in 2010, and the ACZM  Murray Fowler Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.