Harold LeRoy Chute
AAAP Hall of Honor

Dr. Chute was born on September 4, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the only son of Hilda Mae Stoddart and Kenneth Karl Chute. The family relocated to Nova Scotia and he grew up on a small farm with apple orchards and animals. He learned the value of hard work and savings in this environment and received his early education at a rural one room school house. He had to travel 12 miles to complete high school by 1940. After 2 years of unfulfilling odd jobs, he enrolled in the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. Two years later he had an Associate’s Degree which qualified him to enroll in the Ontario Veterinary College a year later. He married Marion Baker in 1947 and received his veterinary degree in 1949.
Harold was slated to take a job at the Nova Scotia Diagnostic Laboratory. Prior to reporting, he took a tour of northeastern U.S. diagnostic labs and poultry pathology departments. His final stop on the tour was the University of Maine at Orono where Dr. J. Frank Witter was located. He left there with an offer for employment as soon as he could start. He reported to Maine in October of 1949. He received a Master of Science in poultry pathology while on a sabbatical to the Ohio State University in 1952. By 1955, he had completed a DVSc through the Public Health department of the University of Toronto. His thesis was on infectious bronchitis vaccine and foretold later involvement in commercial poultry vaccine enterprises.
Dr. Chute’s arrival at Orono was near the beginning of a golden age for animal disease research at Orono and for the poultry industry in Maine. There were several family held integrations in Maine and the Department of animal Pathology under Dr. Frank Witter was newly formed, funded, and located in a new facility. Maine’s poultry industry was innovative and vibrant, beginning innovations in the late 1940s with a switch by Corbett to Arbor Acres White rock breeds. Maine rose to second to the Delmarva Peninsula in broiler production and the Lipman companies began international exports of poultry parts. Other Maine industry firsts included embracing USDA meat inspection, having complete vertical integration, and having name branded products. Cooperative research between the department and private industry resulted in firsts such as MG free broiler breeders, successful Pullorum eradication programs, diagnostic test development for several hatchery and poultry conditions, and development of an SPF egg program in-house. Numerous people who would in time be prominent in the poultry industry either got degrees or spent time in the department, including T. N. Frederickson, Dyarl King, Louis van der Heide, and Everett Bryant.
Nothing lasts forever. In the latter phases of the Maine poultry industry heyday, a Maine State Economic Development employee published a paper forecasting the demise of the industry due to rising transportation and fuel costs. It was called the Shaw report and was authored by David Shaw who would go on to found IDEXX. As the department in Orono declined, Harold’s talent in administration, finance and entrepreneurship came to the fore. He had already founded Maine Biological Laboratories with Kenneth Eskelund in 1957. He had earlier promoted a Maine SPF broiler production approach using no live vaccines but this proved erratic due to poor compliance. He had done early research on killed Newcastle vaccines and wanted MBL to produce safe live vaccines and potent killed vaccines.
This led to MBL’s leadership in killed vaccines. He also co-founded 2 other Eskelund run companies. He also founded his own chemical company which operated for 19 years. As his department diminished, he became active in development programs for the University of Maine central administration. Like many entrepreneurs of this era, he was active in charitable activities and garnered many awards and recognitions. He was active in several civic clubs and was on several bank boards. He served as Mayor of Orono.
AAAP owes him a particular debt of gratitude. He was heavily involved in the call to action by Grumbles and van Roekel to form the organization, was an original member, and served first as its Secretary, then later its President in 1963-1964, thus the 6th president of AAAP. He was active in the Finance Committee and was an original member of the History Committee. He was prominent in AVMA and other veterinary diagnostic organizations. He was active in several honor societies and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Dalhousie University in 1998. His was a remarkable life of achievement.