Early on in life, Russ and George Nyland had a special place in their hearts for animals. They grew up on a 200-acre dairy farm in Jefferson, Ohio close to Lake Erie. The brothers were very involved in 4-H, caring for and showing Holstein cattle (dairy cows). Remembering his childhood, Russ shared, ““I admired the two veterinarians who treated our cattle. Because of that exposure, I decided early on that I wanted veterinary medicine to be my profession.”
Russ graduated from Jefferson High School in 1957 and enrolled in the Ohio State University in the College of Agriculture. “I took courses that would make me eligible to apply to the School of Veterinary Medicine, and after three years, I applied and was accepted.” In 1962, Russ received his undergrad degree from the College of Agriculture, and graduated as a veterinarian in 1964.
George, although interested in veterinary medicine, took a different path and headed off to Case Western University in Cleveland to study architecture and civil engineering. However, during his studies, he realized he wanted a more independent vocation. Changing course, he applied to veterinary school at Ohio State University in 1964 and graduated in 1968.
During Russ’s third year at Ohio State, he met his wife, Shirley, who had transferred from the University of Delaware to Ohio State to become a bacteriology major. She grew up in Gettysburg, PA. After Russ completed his first year of veterinary school, and after Shirley graduated Ohio State, the couple was married. Shirley got a job at the Ohio Department of Health Lab and supported them until Russ graduated. They have three children, Peggy, Scott (who passed away) and Brad.
George and his wife, Marilyn, met each other in first grade. They were married in August 1964, the summer before George started veterinary school. They have two children, Craig and Kathleen.
Creating a Family Business
After graduating from veterinary school in 1964, Russ practiced in a small animal clinic in Youngstown, Ohio for 15 months. At one point, he had made a deal to buy a practice in Hershey, PA. However, on the night before settlement, the seller sent Russ a telegram saying he changed his mind. His wife, Shirley, had an aunt and uncle who lived in Lancaster and introduced Russ to Dr. George Mattern, who he joined in a mixed practice with both farm animals and pets. Russ worked with him for four-and-a-half years. About the work, Russ commented, “In that type of practice you are busy day and night; a sick cow cannot wait until morning.”
Since he had young children, Russ decided that a small animal practice would give him more time with his family. So, Russ purchased a vacant lot just south of Neffsville on the Lititz Pike and had a building designed by an architect who had designed other veterinary hospitals. In August 1970, Russ opened the Neffsville Veterinary Clinic, with the plan that George would eventually join in the practice, which he did in June 1972. George practiced 38 years at Neffsville Veterinary Clinic. “I enjoyed working with clients and animals all those years. I wouldn’t have changed a thing,” he fondly recalled.
The practice hired a third veterinarian in 1976 and continued to grow. In time, George’s daughter, Kathy, joined the practice and was with them for 23 years. Today, Kathy is currently practicing with her husband, Jeffrey, at Manheim Veterinary Clinic.
For Russ, retirement came in January 2005 and for George in 2010.
Life After Work
After fulfilling careers, both brothers enjoy their free time. As George jokingly explained, “I enjoy being extremely busy.” George, and wife Marilyn, spend time at their cabin on the Catawissa Creek in Columbia County. He enjoys hunting, fishing, cooking, woodworking and most of all photography and travel. Russ’ favorite pastimes are fishing, hunting, golfing and barbecuing, as well as vacationing with wife Shirley, family and friends. Before moving to MMC, he did a lot of gardening which included caring for 30 or more tea roses and growing veggies.
When asked why they individually chose Moravian Manor Communities, Russ shared, “When it was time to plan for the future, we visited the retirement communities in the area, some several times. MMC stood out because it was part of the greater Lititz community. We loved the idea of walking to downtown Lititz to shop, eat, and stroll through the Lititz Springs Park. We liked the attractive design of the carriage homes too and thought the staff was very accommodating and friendly. We’re very happy and have no second thoughts about our decision to move here.”
For George and Marilyn, “It was a great move for us. We moved onto the Warwick Woodlands Campus in March 2018. Marilyn and I both enjoy our neighbors, staff, and the location.”