My father-in-law, Dr. Andrew Colando, passed away last evening. All members of his immediate family were with him on the day he died, and he went peacefully after a short illness.
His obituary details the key milestones of his life: a proud graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine; a founding board member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners; a 71-year association with the horse racing business as veterinarian, breeder, trainer, and owner. He began racing trotters at Yonkers Raceway on the weekends while still in high school and trained Uncle Miltie among other horses in his father’s stable before beginning his equine veterinary practice.
I first met Dr. Colando after he retired from his practice and had returned to the training he loved with his own stable of horses. Being the first in-law in a New Jersey Italian-Irish family was full of new experiences for a Southern-bred fellow. I didn’t have the years of experience with family banter that made the dinner table discussions so exciting. The closest I’d been to riding a horse was on the carousel at the county fair. But I loved Dr. Colando’s daughter and the family’s love was returned.
Our children – when they came along ten years after we were married – connected to their grandfather in wonderful ways. Claire has a love for all animals, but with a special affection for horses. When I’d pick her up from her riding lessons, she would ask for the cell phone and immediately call Pop-Pop to give him a blow-by-blow of her day at the stable. Andrew loves verbal jousting, and he and his grandparents would go toe-to-toe on political topics and other subjects of the day. We knew he was a true Colando when earlier this week he came out with a line so skillfully delivered that it made us all roll over with laughter until our eyes watered.
Dr. Colando lived a full life in his 86 years. He loved his family, his horses, his life-long friends, his cars and his travel to new and interesting places around the world. We all miss him.
More to come…