DAYTON, OH Jan Abshire, 67, a native of Guthrie, Oklahoma, died peacefully Saturday, March 29 in Dayton, Ohio. He was married for 31 years to Linda Abshire, of Yukon, Oklahoma, who preceded him in death by 13 years. He is survived by his son, Jonathan Abshire, of Dallas, Texas. Jan was a gentle, loving father and dedicated his life to the care and well-being of his fellow man. He grew up in Edmond and Guthrie, Oklahoma, and was drafted for service in the Vietnam War after high school. During the war, he served as a combat medic in the Army Security Agency, helping to rescue pilots and aircrews lost on missions over Laos and Cambodia. He returned to Oklahoma with a passion for healthcare, and eventually became head of the Respiratory Therapy department at St. Anthony Hospital. When the AIDS crisis began in the early 1980s, Jan felt called to help and returned to Central State to finish his college degree. He was then admitted to the a School of Public Health at Yale University, where he received an MPH in Epidemiology. Over the next 25 years, he contributed to important advances in the prevention and treatment of AIDS, our nation's bioterrorism preparedness following the 9/11 attacks, and expanded our early warning systems and our ability to respond to new variants of the pandemic flu virus. Jan was a gentle soul, who laughed easily and often and believed in the great power of love and goodness that resides within all people. He will be forever missed.
Published in The Oklahoman on Apr. 1, 2014