Dr. Harold Arbuckle receives Agricultural Service Diploma

By Laura Green

It was a complete surprise to Dr. Harold Arbuckle when he heard his name announced to receive the 2012 Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies – Agricultural Service Diploma recipient.


“It was a complete surprise but an honour” commented Harold in the phone interview, who had been sitting in the audience of the March 3 Embro Dinner Theatre with his wife Sharon.

Dr. Harold and Dr. Sharon both Doctors of Veterinary medicine moved to Embro in 1970 and opened their clinic of large and small animals. They raised their family of two sons and two daughters in the village and later on their farm in the west part of Zorra Township. Harold retired from practice two years ago from the Tavistock Veterinary Services.

The first organization Harold joined was the Zorra Caledonian Society. In 1976, he became president.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 318, Embro was another community organization that he was involved with in his early years. Both Sharon and Harold were members of a bowling league from the branch.

Phoebe Campbell, who wrote the presentation address, first knew Harold when she started helping with 1st Embro Cubs.

“Like the rest of us, Harold became involved in the Scouting movement because his boys were involved,” she said. “He is a determined man with strong convictions, which motivates him to do what he feels is needed.”

He was involved with the Zorra COPS committee which stood for Community Orientated Problem Solving. The project he was the driving force behind is called “Do you really know who you are talking to?” - an internet safety project for students that is still used today.

Another aspect of safety and children is animals and rabies. Harold would speak to students at Zorra Highland Park School, Scouting and Guiding groups and 4-H clubs about the topic of rabies and other animal health issues. He often would be a judge for the pet show at the Embro Fair.

When the Arbuckle children attended Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute, Harold helped with the Adventure Club on its week-long canoe trip to Killarney Provincial Park. He went as their medic for about six years.

Harold began his theatre career with the Embro and Zorra Agricultural Society Dinner Theatre. It was the group's second dinner theatre and the play was “The Tomorrow Box.” He still remembers one scene when the daughter-in-law’s sister a radical feminist lawyer is about to throw a pie in his face and someone from the audience yelled, “Do it”.

Since then, Harold has acted or directed or worked as stage crew for Dinner Theatre, Thistle Theatre, St. Marys Little Theatre and ITOPA (Ingersoll).

“Harold was a charter member and “one of the main movers and shakers” that started Thistle Theatre at the Embro Town Hall in 1995. As treasurer for many years, and being the “penny pinching Scot” that he is, he has made sure Thistle Theatre is financially stable. As Thistle Theatre’s technical adviser he is the go-to man for anything involving the town hall. As a committee member of Oxford Creative Connections he was able to promote Thistle Theatre with in the theatre groups in Oxford County.”

Harold was the chairman of the Town Hall Centennial Committee in 1992 to help get the town hall back on its feet after 100 years, so that it could be a viable, usable space for the community. Harold was also a member of the Embro’s Millennium Celebrations committee.

His most recent endeavour is being a choir member with the new Thistle Singers.

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