By Brian Park
Beloved San Juan Capistrano veterinarian Dr. Jack Mannix, who regularly contributed his time and services to local animal efforts, died Tuesday, December 4, of unknown causes. He was 60.
Mannix was found in his office at San Juan Animal Hospital, where he was taking a nap in between appoints. Fellow hospital employees say Mannix passed peacefully.
After practicing veterinary medicine in Carmel, Calif. for two years, Mannix and his wife Liz arrived in San Juan Capistrano in 1982. In 1986, Mannix bought San Juan Animal Hospital, where he served as head veterinarian since.
Co-workers said Mannix’s philosophy of veterinary medicine was based on his credo of personal care:
“One of the things he used to say was, ‘If this was my dog, how would I want him to be treated?’” said veterinary technician Brianna Taylor. “He always put himself into his patients’ position. He was really relatable in that sort of way.”
Taylor recalls several instances when Mannix went beyond his regular duties to help his patients, co-workers and their pets. Mannix often was a source of support whenever his co-workers had personal issues or concerns with their pets, according to Taylor.
“One of my co-workers’ dogs was in urgent care, and Dr. Mannix would call her every hour,” said Taylor, who has worked at the hospital for two years.
“We had a hit-by-car when I first started. The dog seemed like he was doing okay, but Dr. Mannix still took the patient to his house overnight. You usually don’t see that.”
Friends, co-workers and former patients of Dr. Mannix offered their condolences and personal stories on the hospital’s Facebook page, following news of his sudden death.
“For years, Dr. Mannix has helped us with our furry kids. His bedside manner is irreplaceable!” wrote Lori Kiser-Schlobohm.
“Dr. Mannix hired me at age 19 and my passion for veterinary medicine had begun! Working for him for 17 years made me who I am today. He was a great man, friend and vet,” wrote Deena Bicknell.
“So very, very sad,” wrote Mark Chapin Johnson. “Apparently God needed a special man in heaven to help him with his four-legged friends.”
Mannix was a passionate supporter of animal service efforts. He offered free or discounted services to two organizations: Guide Dogs For the Blind and the local nonprofit organization The Ark of San Juan. Mannix was also a donor to Tee Off For Dogs, an Orange County-based nonprofit that organizes an annual golf tournament in support of guide dogs.
Mannix and his wife also volunteered their time and services to the Boys Scouts, YMCA Indian Guides and Indian Princesses, Little League and local high schools, according to the hospital’s website.
“If you want to know the definition of love, it’s what Dr. Mannix had with his wife,” Taylor said. “Every time she stepped into the room, he lit up. We could see that.”
Mannix, a San Diego native and graduate of the UC Davis Schools of Veterinary Medicine, is survived by his wife, his three children, Ryan, Elin and Erika, and three grandchildren, Noah, Abram and Joseph. Mannix and his wife owned three pets: Riley, a Golden Retriever, Rusty, a Golden-Doodle, and Opie, an orange Tabby cat.
Funeral services for Mannix will be held at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School on Saturday, December 15, at 1:30 p.m. A reception will follow at Sillers Hall. Guests are invited to bring their pets to the reception but not into the church.
In lieu of flowers, the Mannix family has asked that donations be made in Mannix’s memory to the following organizations:
Guide Dog For the Blind
P.O. Box 3950, San Rafael, CA, 94912-3950
UC Davis Companion Animal Memorial Fund
Office of Development, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California
One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, 95616