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Horsepower for animal care

Colleen and Tim Nornes’ hearts have always belonged to dogs and horses. The affinity began early on for Colleen, whose father, Dean Kingrey was a veterinarian. “We were always outdoors with our dogs and horses,” she says. “He grew up on a farm that had animals. He believed deeply in the importance of having animals in our lives and being committed to their care.”

Dean Kingrey, '52 DVM
Dean Kingrey

Kingrey, ’52 DVM, graduated in the second class of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). He served in the U.S. military as a dairy inspector during the Korean War, ran a large animal practice in Owatonna, Minn., and then opened a clinic that served large and small animals. In 1974, he moved to Georgia and taught veterinary technology at the University of Georgia until he retired.

Kingrey also raised English setters and pointers, and participated in field trials. Later, he owned golden retrievers. The Nornes, who are longtime horse and dog owners, got their love of English setters from Kingrey. After he died in 1995, they inherited one of his golden retrievers.

Colleen Nornes on her horse
Colleen Nornes on horseback

Colleen started riding in elementary school, was active in her local saddle club, and competed in Western horse shows. Later, she became interested in dressage and started riding off-track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) that she trained herself. Colleen also serves on the board of Transitions Equine, a non-profit organization that retrains and places retired thoroughbred racehorses.

“Many thoroughbreds are still very young when they’re retired from the track,” says Colleen. “So there’s a need to help them transition from racehorses to riding horses, match them with potential owners, and start them on a new path.” The Nornes currently own one horse—Royal Dust Storm—an OTTB Colleen trained at Transitions Equine.

Anytime the Nornes’ dogs and horses have needed emergency care, the couple has turned to the CVM’s Veterinary Medical Center (VMC). “One situation in particular stands out,” says Tim. “Our setter Chelsea was quite ill and couldn’t be saved. But because of the caliber of care she received at VMC, we knew we had done everything possible, which meant a lot to us.”

Tim Nornes with the Nornes' two setters, Chelsea and Annie
Tim Nornes with the Nornes' two setters, Chelsea and Annie

It all paved the way for the couple to make an estate gift to the CVM. “We’ve long supported charities involving animals,” says Tim. “We know the CVM will use our gift well and in the ways we want.” The gift is divided equally among four areas—the VMC Shelter and Rescue Animal Fund, the VMC Companion Animal Fund, the Leatherdale Equine Center Fund, and the VMC Nestle Purina Memories Garden Fund. “Each focuses on an area of importance to us,” says Colleen.

All VMC funds provide much-needed support for the center to provide care, make new discoveries in veterinary medicine, and train the next generation of veterinarians. “We always knew we wanted to give money to help animals,” says Tim. “That, coupled with Dr. Kingrey’s history at the U, made the CVM an easy choice. The combination of expertise and empathy that the CVM extends makes us most proud to support it.”

Photos courtesy of Colleen Nornes

Get involved

If you are interested in learning more about making an estate gift, click here, or contact Bill Venne, chief development officer at the College of Veterinary Medicine, at or 612-625-8480.

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 09:43
Horsepower for animal care