Johann Schultz Kehler: self-taught veterinarian; born on 5 May 1894 in Steinbach, Manitoba, to Jakob K. “Berliner” and Elizabeth H. (Schutz) Kehler. He was the sixth of 13 children in the family. Johann was baptized on 21 May 1918 in Chortitz, Manitoba. On 20 November 1921, he married Anna U. Wieler (1901-1991). The couple had 11 children, one of whom died young.
Johann grew up with his family in southern Manitoba at a time when agricultural communities were expanding. Contracting typhoid fever, severe arthritis, and sciatica as a young man, during the early 1930s, forced him to spend much time bedridden. He took this experience as an opportunity to study veterinary medicine through as many books as he could procure. He also struck up an acquaintance with two doctors of veterinarian medicine from the University of Manitoba, who encouraged him in his interest and eventual practice. Johann S. Kehler served as a veterinarian in and around Steinbach, Manitoba from about 1937 to 1959. He gained wide reputation for his skill when he successfully treated several cases of Equine Encephalitis, or sleeping sickness, which most people considered incurable. Another success came in his work with testing and culling tuberculosis-infected farm animals. Horse dentistry, delivering calves, and even treating people’s pet dogs and cats were part of his routine. Johann had no lack of work, but his income remained small. Difficult times for farmers meant that many of them were unable to pay Johann for his services. He retired at age 65 and died on 22 April 1962 in Chortitz, Manitoba.
Preservings No. 14 (June 1999): 87-88