April 8, 1944 — February 2, 2019
QUEENSBURY — Dickson Graves Haviland, 74, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 8, 1944, he was the son of the late Richard Sands Haviland and the late Mary Dickson Graves. As a young boy, he was nicknamed “Sandy” because of his sandy blonde hair. This nickname stuck with him throughout his life. He was known to all who loved him by this moniker.
He was raised in Glens Falls and to this day would fondly recount his mischievous youth. He played football at Northwood Academy in Lake Placid and at Glens Falls High School, where he graduated in 1962. Sandy went on to study at Dean Junior College and the University of North Dakota before enlisting in the military. He served as a private first class officer in the United States Army 11th Artillery Division. Sandy completed a tour of duty in Vietnam and remained an extraordinarily proud Vietnam War Veteran for the remainder of his life. During his time in Vietnam, he became dedicated to fulfilling his dream of becoming a veterinarian.
He returned home more determined than ever about his future. He completed his undergraduate degree at St. Louis University and his master’s degree at the University of Missouri before moving to Guelph, Ontario Canada to attend veterinary school. His time in Guelph was productive, earning his doctorate in veterinary medicine from The University of Guelph Veterinary School in 1976, and building his family with the birth of his two daughters, Kristen and Kate.
Sandy and his young family moved back to the States where he worked as a veterinarian. He spent the majority of his professional career owning and operating his own practice, Mohawk Valley Animal Hospital in Amsterdam. He initially worked as a mixed-animal veterinarian, going on farm calls in the morning and seeing appointments for dogs and cats in his hospital into the evening, before converting his practice exclusively to small animals. He lived right next door to his hospital and used to tell everyone that his commute to work was 254 steps.
Sandy was proud to have been chosen as the official veterinarian at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, where he watched the United States men’s hockey team win the gold. After nearly 30 years of small business ownership, he sold his practice and moved back to his hometown of Glens Falls. Far from ready to retire, he volunteered his time at the SPCA of Upstate New York, reconnected with childhood friends and forged a new community of friends.
Sandy had a tremendous love of the Adirondack mountains, cultivated from summers spent at his family’s camp, Di-San Lodge on Rainbow Lake. He was most contented sitting in a rocking chair on the screened-in porch of camp listening to the crickets and bull frogs, enjoying the sound of the rain on the tin roof, or playing the card game, Michigan. He taught his daughters the importance of shedding your shoes and embracing the pine pitch; thereby coining the term “rainbow feet” among family.
Sandy had a lifelong fondness of classic cars stemming from the 1962 Corvette he bought with his own money upon graduation from high school. It was promptly stolen in Boston, and he would spend the next 30 years casually looking for it. In 1996 he found the exact same ‘62 Corvette for sale and bought it. He joked that he didn’t get as good of a deal on the car the second time around. Sandy could be spotted on a sunny spring day driving along Adirondack backroads with the convertible top down wearing his wide brimmed brown hat. The license plate reading ‘3VETSN1’.
Sandy embraced his most recent nickname of “Pops”. He was adored by his grandsons and they brought out the kid he was at heart. He shared giggles with them as he gave them rides on his tractor, played with them and the electric trainset from his youth, or spurred on their shenanigans when sitting around the table for a meal.
Sandy is survived by his two daughters, Kristen Haviland and her husband, David Sierra, of San Rafael, California and Kate Haviland and her husband, Edo Berger, of Boston, Massachusetts; four grandsons, Zachary Sierra, Theodore Sierra, Elan Haviland-Berger and Noah Haviland-Berger. He is also survived by his three siblings, Dianne Bone of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Carolyn Martin (Roger) of Cape Coral, Florida and R. Grant Haviland of Fort Edward; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Singleton Sullivan Potter Funeral Home, 407 Bay Road, Queensbury.
Funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls.
A celebration of Sandy’s life (and probably his most favorite part of this process) will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Adirondack Bar & Grill in Queensbury.
A private family burial will take place Monday, Feb. 11, 2019 at Saratoga National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Sandy’s family asks that you make a donation in his name to K9s for Warriors (k9sforwarriors.org), a service dog organization that provides trained service dogs to military veterans at no cost to the veteran. This organization embodies the two most important and impactful aspects of his life, his love of animals and his pride as a veteran of the United States Army.