Dr. James A. Countryman

By Troy Morris

Dr. James Countryman, distinguished alumnus of Oklahoma Panhandle State University, comes to the Alumni Hall of Fame with many professional and personal accomplishments.

Born in 1934 in Raton, New Mexico to Clarence and Ethel Countryman, he attended Hooker High School and was active there in football, baseball and Future Farmers of America (FFA). Always an outstanding student, Countryman was a member of the National Honor Society and was awarded his high school diploma in 1952. Then, he went on to what is now Oklahoma Panhandle State University for three years before his acceptance to the Oklahoma State University school of Veterinary Medicine where he earned his doctorate in 1960. He began private practice in Guymon in 1960 - a practice that he would maintain and manage for 41 years.

In 1961, he was united in marriage to Dorothy Sue Bassham. Jim and Dorothy have three children, Dr. Carol Kutteh, Germantown, Tenn.; Mark, Cypress, Texas; and Maria Tillinghast, Monument, Colo. Today, the Countrymans also have seven grandsons and one granddaughter.

Dedicated both to his profession of veterinary medicine and to his alma mater and its students, Countryman personally mentored 13 OPSU students who are now practicing veterinarians. Mentoring was a personal issue to Countryman who, along with his wife, made sure these 13 young people had jobs to keep them at OPSU. He hired them in his practice and took a personal interest in their school work and activities.

Dr. Countryman also served students of OPSU by hosting college athletes for more than a decade. Though athletic rules have changed, during the 1970s when student athletes were “left behind” during holidays, the Countrymans invited these students into their home, provided them with meals and a warm and personal holiday season. Not surprisingly, Dr. Countryman was a prominent Aggie sports booster and generally seen at sporting events of all kinds.

Countryman is a Lifetime member of the OPSU Alumni Association has been a Director of the OPSU Foundation since 1975. He also served the Foundation as President in 1980-81 and 2004-05.

Countryman was also a community supporter of both the Hooker and Guymon areas. Having been named a Star Chapter Farmer by the Hooker FFA during his student years, he was later named Honorary Chapter Farmer by the Hooker FFA as well as Guymon FFA chapters. He remained an active member Oklahoma State Veterinary Association as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association for several years beyond his retirement in 2001. Countryman was the initial inductee into the Hooker Hall of Fame in 1995.

Countryman served as a board member for the Guymon Schools (1971-75), Board of Control member of Memorial Hospital of Texas County from 1997 until 2009, a member (and committee officer) of the Guymon Kiwanis club for 45 years, a Texas County Development Corporation Director, a former member of the Guymon Chamber of Commerce, a Past President of the Guymon Band Boosters, and a strong booster and patron of the high school athletic programs throughout the area.

Active in the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Guymon for nearly fifty years, he has served the church in several capacities including Congregation President, Elder, Sunday School Teacher, and as a patron/sponsor of youth groups. He also served the world wide International Outreach organization’s missionary effort as treasurer for nearly four decades.

Over the years, Countryman has been a dedicated professional, a civic leader, and an active member and leader in his church. He has inspired many young people to strive to reach their goals and has always been a proud booster of Oklahoma Panhandle State University - the institution he credits for giving him a head start in life.