Cover photo for Dr. R. Dale Hembree, Jr.'s Obituary
Dr. R. Dale Hembree, Jr. Profile Photo
1956 Dr. R. Dale 2024

Dr. R. Dale Hembree, Jr.

August 26, 1956 — January 10, 2024

Dr. R. Dale Hembree Jr., Abilene veterinarian for nearly 40 years went to be with the Lord on January 10th, 2024, while at home on Possum Kingdom Lake in Graford TX.

Dale was born in Odessa TX to Richard Dale Hembree Sr., and Peggy Jo (McShan) Hembree and raised in Midland TX.

After graduating from Midland Lee High School, Dale followed in his father’s footsteps and attended Texas A&M, eventually earning a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Dale graduated three times from Texas A&M, each time earning the distinction of Cum Laude or higher.

While at Texas A&M he met his first wife, Marsha (Hembree) Fowler, and the two married and moved to Abilene where they owned Judge Ely Animal Hospital and Abilene Pet Regency. They had one daughter, Courtnee Chelle Hembree, who also followed her grandfather and father’s footsteps and graduated from Texas A&M with a master’s degree. The family attended Abilene Bible Church, where Dale served as a deacon. 

Dale served on many boards, including the Abilene Zoo where he served as Zoo Veterinarian and Zoo Curator.

He was a long-time member of Abilene North Rotary, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow, served on the board of directors for KACU, worked on several student programs mentoring young men without fathers, served as the president of the Humane Society in Abilene. After selling his veterinary practice, Dale continued to see lifelong clients and exotic animals at Dearing Veterinary Clinic. He was also a professor teaching pre-veterinarian classes at Abilene Christian University. While he was there, he helped start a Spay and Release feral cat program, a pre-vet club for students and was honored to have 100% of his students who applied, accepted into veterinary school.

In 2011, Dale married his love, Kaye Copeland. They shared a love that was God sent. They had a very adventurous marriage traveling in their 5th wheel, motorcycle riding with friends as members of the Christian Motorcyclist Association in Abilene and enjoying their puppies and parrots. They attended Lytle South Baptist Church and were active in the Big Country Emmaus/Kairos community while living in Abilene. Upon retiring in January 2023, Dale and Kaye moved to Possum Kingdom Lake to enjoy the fishing and boating life.

Despite his numerous accomplishments Dale was most proud of being a son of God, and believer of Jesus Christ, therefore his family and friends are sure of being reunited with him once again.

Dale was preceded in death by his parents, Richard and Peggy Hembree of San Angelo TX.

 He is survived by his wife, Kaye, his daughter, Courtnee of Midland TX, his sister, Michelle Cobb and husband Andy of Crawford TX, his brother Robert and wife Wendy of San Angelo TX, his niece, Danielle of Amarillo and nephew, Michael Wilcox of Abilene TX and grandnieces and nephew Payton, Sawyer and Quinn Wilcox of Amarillo TX

As a veterinarian and lifelong animal lover, Dale owned just about every pet imaginable, but is survived by 3 dogs, GracieAnne, BayleeBug and Tubby Jo, and two parrots, Luna and Cosmo.

Dale’s visitation will be Thursday evening, January 18th, from 6-8 pm at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene Tx.

Memorial services will be held Friday morning, January 19th at 11am at Lytle South Baptist Church, 1125 East Industrial, Abilene, Tx with Brother Rodney officiating with Dale's close friend, Pastor Joe Boney.

Honorary pallbearers will be members of Christian Motorcyclist Association.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given in memory of Dale Hembree to Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, Texas 77840. Please designate Richard Hembree Sr. Memorial Scholarship in the memo line. This is a scholarship that Dale set up in memory of his father who loved Texas A&M. As Dale spent his life dedicated to helping animals, please also consider giving to a local animal shelter in his name or taking care of a stray animal in need.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. R. Dale Hembree, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 18, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

The Hamil Family Funeral Home

6449 Buffalo Gap Road, Abilene, TX 79606

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Friday, January 19, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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