Catching Up: John F. Hasler

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Published on: December 16, 2015

Hasler_catching_upFive Things I Am Most Proud Of

Having been asked to provide some personal material for this column, I decided to follow Bob Rowe’s earlier submission as a template. As you will see, Bob and I share some notable career similarities, both chronologically and subject wise.

  1. My 46+ years of marriage to Marilyn Warkentin Hasler must be ranked ahead of anything I may have accomplished professionally. It has been anything but an easy road, but we have made it work (she deserves the bulk of the credit). Overall, it can only be considered a true success story. Together, we produced two kids of whom we are immensely proud—Brant, with a PhD from the University of Arizona, is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Anthea is an attorney in Madison, Wisconsin. Obviously, both of my kids are positioned to offer me valuable and probably necessary professional assistance in my declining years.
  2. As a post doc at Colorado State University, Peter Elsden, George Seidel, and I developed a nonsurgical technique for embryo recovery. In a remarkable coincidence, this was published in the same 1976 edition of Theriogenology in which Bob Rowe published a very similar approach he helped develop at the University of Wisconsin.
  3. Starting in 1977, while working for a Canadian ET business, I carried tubes of Holstein embryos in my pocket from Toronto to Hungary several times, where we transferred them surgically into recipient heifers. I made many trips to Hungary and, of course, did not know that Bob was in and out of the country during that same period! After Alan McCauley and I started Em Tran Inc. in 1978, numerous subsequent trips to Hungary involved frozen embryos, which I transported in a nitrogen vapor tank as carry-on baggage.
  4. I was elected to the first board of directors of the AETA in 1983, along with, you guessed it, Bob Rowe! I served as the first treasurer, and after surviving those early, financially challenging years, I could not be more proud of the AETA. Subsequent to my service on the board, another five Em Tran and Em Tran-West alumni were elected to the AETA board, with three of them serving as president.
  5. In 1968 while working on my master’s at the University of Missouri, I was drafted by the army. My induction preceded the change to a lottery system, and I was drafted out of school in order to meet a quota for each regional draft board. This quota apparently could not be met in St. Louis county without drafting college students. Following basic training, I spent eight months in a research laboratory at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver and then one year, to the day, in the Medical Corps in Vietnam.


Five Things Many People Do Not Know About Me (and May Not Want to Know)

  1. Unlike Bob, I have no academic background in either animal science or the cattle industry. In October 1973, while I was still a student at the University of Illinois studying reproduction in arctic lemmings, Marilyn and I spent a week at my brother’s home in Ft. Collins and hunted deer in the nearby foothills. During that visit in Ft. Collins, due to a series of serendipitous events, I met George Seidel, who ended up offering me a postdoc to be served as an embryologist in the ET program that he had just initiated. My initiation included learning where to stand when a Wyoming range-bred cow heads for the barn door, the distinction between Holsteins and Herefords, and so on. The rest is history not to be detailed here.
  2. I was born in Los Angeles, where my mother and father were both working at the Northrop aircraft factory, building the P-61 Black Widow dual-engine fighter. In November 1944 my mother boarded a commercial DC3 plane with “little John,” headed for St. Louis to join my father, who earlier had moved to St. Louis to attend law school. In route, we landed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to refuel. While on the ground, the military commandeered the plane for the war effort. According to the story as related to me many years later by my mother, we then boarded a train for the balance of the trip. After my father’s death, I found the 1944 Albuquerque telegram from my mother in his files, informing him that we would be arriving by train about 1.5 days late!
  3. Like Bob, my wife and I collect Red Wing pottery, although not necessarily investment quality pieces. Following a 1971 commercial aircraft crash, one of my sisters and her husband, who grew up in Red Wing, Minnesota, were buried in a Red Wing cemetery. From that time on, I have been a collector of Red Wing pottery and an avid fan of the Minnesota Vikings. My favorite piece is a 6-gallon butter churn that retains its original lid and an old, well-used wooden dasher.
  4. I am passionate about a number of hobbies, including building furniture, turning wood on my lathe, big game hunting with traditional black powder muzzle loading firearms, gardening, reading history, and photography.
  5. Pretty much everyone knows that I am loud (I am hard of hearing and have resisted getting a hearing aid), sometimes snarky, and tall in stature! Does that by chance remind you of another elderly AETA member? Last month at the AETA/CETA conference in Niagara Falls, I walked up to the registration desk and was greeted by Jeremy Holzner with “Good morning Dr. Rowe.” You should have seen poor Jeremy’s face when I replied, “That is a compliment to Bob Rowe and an insult to me.” I later apologized to Jeremy for embarrassing him, while Bob and I enjoyed ribbing one another about Jeremy’s mistake.
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