Estate of late teacher bequeaths over $744,000 to help with canine care

Marilyn Ann Pocock died in November 2021, but her love of dogs will continue thanks to the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund

Marilyn Ann Pocock was a well-known dog lover throughout her life and although she passed away last year, that love for her four-legged friends will continue thanks to a very large gift from her estate.

A former physical education teacher at Eastview High School in Barrie, Pocock died on November 26, 2021 following a battle with cancer. His estate has donated over $745,000 to the Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund through the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Pet Trust to change the face of animal cancer.

Michelle Meadows was a former student of Pocock who later helped care for her.

“As a teacher, there was no question that she led the class,” Meadows said. BarrieToday at a rally on Monday at a southern home. “She was stern but fair and you could tell she cared about the students and the work. Later, I became her nurse when she got sick.

Pocock never married and had no children, so the field going to her love of animals came as no surprise to Meadows.

“As a nurse, I learned a lot about her. It was a bit strange dealing with her at first because she helped me learn a lot in high school,” Meadows said. “But his love for Splash and all animals has always been a topic of conversation.

“It’s certainly a lot of money, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that she gave it her all.”

Pocock had many dogs throughout his life and loved them all, but his last dog, a golden retriever named Splash, was his pride and joy.

Gayle Rushtin was a friend and the executor of Pocock’s estate. Rushtin’s family even took care of Splash.

Rustin said BarrieToday the decision to leave the large gift was an emotional one.

“More emotional than I expected. She dedicated her whole life to her students, then to her dogs and now she has dedicated so much to the future care of other pets,” Rushtin said on Monday.

Kim Robinson, director of the OVC, said it was definitely one of the biggest otherwise the the biggest donations the organization has ever received.

“It will have a huge impact on what we can do at the college that supports canine cancer research, learning and healthcare,” Robinson said. “We are blown away by this donation and very grateful for it.”

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