Dr. Jacqueline Rost, 48, veterinarian, world traveler


Dr. Jacqueline Rost, a veterinarian who enjoyed sports and the theater, died Friday at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care after a four-year struggle with a rare cancer. The Catonsville resident was 48.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Pasadena, she was a 1975 graduate of Martin Spalding High School.

"As a child, she always loved animals, and for Christmas she wanted scientific toys that taught her about horses and cats," said her brother, Edward Schwanke of Severna Park. "One year she wanted and got a toy microscope."

She pursued this career after her marriage in 1978 to Robert Meisenhelder, whom she met while a Loyola College student. He was an Army lieutenant, and after her junior year of college, she continued her studies while living in Germany, where her husband was stationed.

She earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from Loyola College in 1982 and sang soprano in the school's choir. She initially studied genetics at Texas A&M University in College Station, but changed her major after being accepted into its veterinary program. She earned her veterinary degree in 1991.

She and her husband then returned to the Baltimore area and she worked at veterinary clinics in Towson, Rosedale, Columbia and Locust Point. For the past four years, she was at Westview Animal Hospital in Catonsville.

"She handled her disease with openness, grace, dignity and humor," said Dr. Fred M. Cohen, who hired her at the animal hospital. "She never lamented her illness."

Colleagues said she was loyal to her business and she had an affinity for pets and their owners.

"She connected very well with her clients," Dr. Cohen said. "She had a pretty unique sense of humor, which went along well with us in the office."

Family members said she would bring her work home with her and had four cats, Sweetie, Trill, Shadow and Rogue, and a sheltie, Tiramisu, all of whom she adopted when their former owners no longer wanted them or did not have the means to treat a serious condition.

During her life she owned numerous pets, including many cats, dogs, rabbits, a parrot, two bearded dragon lizards and a boa constrictor. She also bred Balinese cats.

Dr. Rost traveled extensively and one occasion sang with the gondoliers in Venice. She spent seven days on a pony and trekked across Iceland. On a cruise, she watched glaciers become icebergs in Alaska. She climbed Mayan pyramids in Central America, viewed Paris from the Eiffel Tower and snorkeled and made scuba dives in the Caribbean.

"She enjoyed curling up in front of a roaring fire with her pets and her needlepoint," said her husband, an analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. "She completed many different pieces of cross-stitch that had cats and dragons as the central theme."

While living in Germany, she began what was to grow into an extensive collection of crystal animals and mythological creatures. She was an avid reader of fantasy, science fiction and horror, and was a fan of movies in these genres. She enjoyed classical music and was a season ticket-holder at the Mechanic and Hippodrome theaters.

She was an enthusiastic Ravens fan.

Dr. Rost's sarcoma was diagnosed in June 2001, and she underwent treatment for a number of years. Her body was donated to aid in research of her condition.

In addition to her husband and brother, survivors include five nieces and nephews.

Plans for a Friday memorial service were incomplete.


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