Remington, Charles W. 1932-2020

It’s easy to spot missed opportunities when bemoaning why St. Joseph is the way it is.

We’ve all heard about Kansas City and the railroad bridge over the Missouri River. It may or may not be true. Even if it is, remember that the railroad bridge closed almost 100 years ago, so it can’t be blamed for what went wrong in the age of the automobile.

Also remember that it works both ways, that the glass is also half-full. Look around, and you can see how circumstances, planning and hard work came together at just the right time — and St. Joseph is better today because of it.

There’s no better example than Wes Remington and his impact on St. Joseph’s animal health industry. Remington, who died late last month at the age of 88, leaves a massive legacy as both an entrepreneur and as a benefactor for civic facilities and betterment.

Remington joined Anchor Serum as a sales trainee in 1956 when meatpacking still drove St. Joseph’s economy. He eventually assumed the presidency and was among the first to see that St. Joseph was poised to become a city that didn’t just produce food for the dinner table, it could develop a high-tech industry that researches and creates the vaccines and pharmaceutical products that keep those animals safe.

Anchor Serum eventually was purchased by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, a German company. Today, BI remains one of St. Joseph’s largest employers and taxpaying companies.

In addition, Remington launched Med-Tech, a company with links to the industry’s first genetically engineered vaccines. He helped found Agri-Laboratories, which boasts the largest animal-health distribution network in the country, and was at the forefront of the generic animal-health industry with Phoenix Scientific. For all this, he was the first recipient of the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor for Life Science Achievement Award.

His business projects became an example of success building on more success, with St. Joseph’s economy growing into a hub for life sciences. Remington also used his success to make St. Joseph better. The Remington Nature Center on the riverfront and Remington Hall at Missouri Western State University both thrive today because of the generosity of Remington and his late wife, Patsy.

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it’s easy to overlook how Wes Remington made St. Joseph a better place. His impact cannot be overstated.