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The Colorado 4-H Foundation provides positive youth development and education by raising and distributing funds in support of diverse Colorado 4-H programs.

Colorado 4-H Foundation Donor Spotlight   arrow

Cleon V. Kimberling, D.V.M.

For more than 60 years, Colorado 4-H youth have had a friend, mentor, and tremendous inspiration in Dr. Cleon Kimberling.

Affectionately known by most as “Dr. K,” Cleon’s life-long involvement with 4-H began as a young boy in western Nebraska. It was Colorado A&M and the pursuit of an Animal Science degree that drew him to Fort Collins in 1947. His graduation in 1951 opened the door to a job opportunity as the 4-H extension agent in Prowers County, following service in the Korean War.

After the war, Cleon entered CSU’s Veterinary School. He graduated in 1959 and launched a distinguished career specializing in sheep health that included additional higher education, assisted in the development of a rapid testing procedure which helped nearly eradicate a nationwide brucellosis problem in cattle, and the invention of the U.S.-patented K-R Spay instrument for cattle.

Cleon’s 40-year career at CSU as the state Extension Veterinarian afforded him the opportunity to work with 4-H kids in every corner of Colorado, as well as travel to an astounding number of countries across the globe, from Siberia to Africa to South America, where his expertise helped improve animal health in some of the poorest areas of the world.

“Life is all about service,” Cleon said, and noted that he’s always loved the guiding words of the 4-H oath. “4-H helps young people mature and lead productive lives.”

One of the many ways Cleon’s philosophy of serving others has been put into action is through the establishment of the Kimberling Endowed Scholarship for pre-veterinary students who have been involved in 4-H and exhibited an excellence in food animal production. Dozens of scholars have benefitted to date.  

Cleon credits serious goal-setting with his success in life, motivating him at age 65 to embark on an awe-inspiring cycling hobby that’s taken him biking thousands of miles across, throughout and around the U.S.

Dr. K is a humbling example of the kind of deeply fulfilling life that can be created through passionate service to others, a constant drive to set and reach new goals, and a deep sense of gratitude.  His mantra is one that individuals of any age would do well to adopt: “Every morning I get up, dress up, stand up and thank God for another day.”