An Oklahoma woman who was named the new president’s pet doctor died on Sunday in an airplane crash, leaving behind a son and daughter, the family confirmed.
Dr. Joel “Joel” Pol was named interim director of the American Veterinary Medical Association in November after former president Donald Trump appointed him as a surrogate to oversee the association’s efforts to expand its reach.
Pol was the first person in American veterinary medicine to be named to the position, the association said in a statement.
He was a pediatric oncologist and veterinarian.
He was a member of the Academy of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, the nation’s oldest veterinary college, as well as a former president of the World Veterinary Association.
“Joel Pol was a pioneer in the field of pet health care, with a strong interest in all aspects of pet care, and he loved his dogs and their owners,” the statement said.
“His work was never done, and we will miss him and his wonderful friends.”
Joel was born in the U.S. to Jewish immigrants in 1938, his family said.
He had previously worked in a veterinary clinic in Seattle and had been employed in the state of Washington as a veterinary technician for nearly 40 years, according to his family.
His wife, Dr. Linda “Jenny” Pol, died at the crash site in the northwest Oklahoma city of Fort Smith.
He is survived by his son and two daughters.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the cause of the crash.
The cause of death is under investigation.