Ruth Heaney

If there is an article and picture of interest to me, it is torn out and put in the file “of interesting people.” A story in the August 2023 Catoctin Banner was in that file, and my curiosity about the man standing easily among the goats and holding onto another goat prompted my phone call to him.

The person in the picture was Dr. Raymond Ediger. On the day I called, he was weeding, despite the 80-degree-plus temperatures. He did not hesitate to say “Yes” when asked if pausing during the weeding would be acceptable.

Dr. Ediger grew up on a “mini-farm” with a variety of animals, including chickens, goats, cows, dogs, and cats. His father was a mechanic but had a mini-farm that was just the right size for his family. Dr. Ediger remembers walking to the one-room schoolhouse and encouraging a dog (or dogs) to follow him home. Bobbie was the first dog Dr. Ediger was allowed to keep. To this day, goats, cows, and dogs are his favorite animals.

Fast forward to 1961, when Dr. Ediger earned from Washington State University both bachelor of science and veterinarian degrees. He was drafted a week after graduating. His final assignment was Fort Detrick as manager of the Laboratory Animal Facility. He and another veterinarian decided to live off-post, where the Links Bridge Winery is currently located. Eventually, the roommate married, and Dr. Ediger moved to Utica Park. The rent was $100 with no indoor plumbing. In 1968, the rent was raised to $125, but still no indoor plumbing. This was too much for him, so Dr. Ediger and his wife found a house in Utica. Today, Dr. Ediger, a widower, resides in that same house.

The year 1971 opened a new door for Dr. Ediger’s medical adventures. He earned an additional degree in comparative medicine through the American College of Laboratory Medicine. This degree focused on exotic, undomesticated animals and a comparison of animals to humans. By comparing animals to people, a better understanding of diseases can occur. The degree also allowed Dr. Ediger to serve on hospital accreditation boards.

Our conversation ended with some “hops” trivia. Hops were found on his farm. The Monocacy Hop is now being used at several Maryland micro-breweries. The closest brewery using the hops is the Liberty-town Milkhouse Brewery. Dr. Ediger surmises that some 200 years ago, the German settlers planted hops, which are still producing.

Dr. Ediger will be the Thurmont Lions Club’s guest speaker on July 24 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, located at 15 North Church Street in Thurmont. All are welcome at no charge to come join the evening fun, beginning at 6:30 p.m., as Dr. Ediger tells his life stories about people and animals. You do not want to miss this!

Dr. Ray Ediger, retired veterinarian, with his prize Boer goats and his beloved Boer buck at his Utica farm.

Share →