Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes

205 East Middle Street, Williamston, MI


Mary Dee Sist

30 marzo , 194719 agosto , 2019

Mary Dee VanDellen Sist, DVM

Mary Dee Sist of Williamston was born on March 30, 1947 in Detroit, Michigan and was the daughter of the late Clarence and Clare Dee VanDellen. She passed away on August 19, 2019, after a brief illness. Dr. Sist was a veterinarian in the area for more than 45 years. Since 1992, she owned the Animal Care Clinic. She was a member of the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and was a specialist in Endocrinology.

Mary Dee was a 1965 graduate of Royal Oak Kimball High School. She graduated in 1969 from Michigan State University with Honors earning a Bachelors of Arts in Interior Design, and acquired her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at Michigan State University in 1973. In 1974, Mary Dee acquired her first Saluki and she encompassed her life. She was a healthy active dog that loved to course on her farm. She died prematurely, and in 1999, she founded Saluki Health Research Foundation to initiate, support, and carry out veterinary research into diseases and health problems of dogs, with an emphasis on the Saluki breed.

She was prominent in the veterinarian profession for her extensive canine research, especially in cardiac parameters and pathology as well as cancer of the blood vessels, thyroid hormone, autoimmune disorders, and neurological disorders. She was published in many journals including those of the American Veterinary Association and American Kennel Club. She was a featured presenter at the Saluki World Congress in Helsinki, Finland in June 2008.

Her farm, Tazi Farm Salukis, is world renowned. Her dogs are with owners and have been shown all over the United States and around the world including: Switzerland, Prague, Germany, Finland, and Egypt. She has been nationally recognized by the Saluki Club of America and her contributions will be missed.

She also raised sheep, horses, donkeys, and poultry. Always a researcher and teacher, she included interns and friends in her research in synchronized lambing practices. She was and was an avid gardener and a member of the Lansing Orchid Society. Her orchids, zinnias, and daisies were the beauty in her day, and she was invigorated by her world travels, photography, helping her patients, and especially her dogs.

She will be sincerely missed by her dogs, family, friends, clients, patients, and colleagues. Mary Dee is survived by her beloved Saluki boys: Dehr, Bikr, Tiyee, Mehmet, and Morocco. A Memorial Celebration of Life will take place October 27 from 1:00p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Williamston Roadhouse, 3700 East Grand River, Williamston, MI 48895.


  • Memorial Celebration of Life domingo, 27 octubre , 2019


Mary Dee Sist


Karen Hudson

4 noviembre , 2019

Mary Dee was an extraordinary veterinarian. She cared for all of my pets. She was also a wonderful travel companion. A trip to Africa was the highlight of our travels. I miss my dear friend. Rest In Peace Mary Dee ♥️

Jan Senneker

31 octubre , 2019

We were deeply saddened to learn of Dr. Sist's passing. She had cared for several animals for us over the years, and we always appreciated her encyclopedic knowledge, clinical skills, and no-nonsense approach. It was especially enjoyable when she shared her passion for her dogs and the Saluki breed, and her resulting travels and experiences. Mary Dee, you will be greatly missed. In the words of James Taylor, "I always thought that I'd see you again..."

Leslie Nason

28 octubre , 2019

I still have two of your sheep.

Sandra Dunlea

26 octubre , 2019

I've known Mary since the early 70's. There are no words that adequately express my sorrow and condolences to her family. Mary was my "go to" friend on many Saluki health issues. We talked on the phone at length on many different genetic issues in Salukis. In her busy and hectic life, she ALWAYS took the time to speak with me on the phone. What an absolute, encyclopedic wealth Mary was, on Saluki health and genetics of Salukis. Her passing, is a tremendous loss, for those fortunate enough to have known her. Fly forever free, gentle soul and beautiful woman. You made a HUGE impact of myself, many people and most of all, Salukis benefited from your vast knowledge and research.May you rest in gentle and loving peace, amongst the cosmos and heavens. You are forever loved and missed, my beautiful friend.

Carol Lynn Ehlke

25 octubre , 2019

I first met Mary Dee in 2009, when we adopted our George, a Clumber Spaniel mix. She was very knowledgeable about this rare breed and always loved on him whenever I brought him in. She encouraged me to get another one some day and referred me to her friend who is a well known breeder of Clumbers. After he died of hemangiosarcoma suddenly at the MSU pet emergency room, she called me and spent almost an hour telling me about that cancer and consoling me. She was so caring and compassionate. When we adopted our Teddy, the rescue group told us that they had contacted Mary Dee and she gave us a terrific reference. This spring, I finally contacted her friend who breeds Clumbers and got one of their puppies. Mary Dee made a special trip into her office to meet our little Henry and give him his puppy shots, even though she was very ill. She was so happy to meet "our" new little wiggle butt! I called a couple weeks later to see how she was feeling and was so sad to hear that the lady I had become so fond of had passed. She always loved on our dogs over the years, and we always knew they were being cared for by the best vet around. In fact, if it weren't for her referral, it's likely that we wouldn't have our Henry now. Mary Dee made such a difference in our lives, and she will be very sincerely missed.

James Dowd

17 octubre , 2019

I met Mary Dee at Michigan State when we were both in undergrad studies trying to get into vet school. At the time she was breeding Afghan Hounds. I got one of her puppies and that was just one of our shared experiences. I became friends with her in vet school and we had a long and endearing friendship. She was a remarkable veterinarian and a great lady. I will miss her wit and wisdom which she had shared with me over the years.

Cari Lyon

4 octubre , 2019

I was very lucky to have known MaryDee for the last 8 years. I worked in her clinic, with her at VDL and we did nose work together. Much of my success can be devoted to her guidance and knowledge. She truly cared about the people and animals in her life. My rescue dog was once was terrified to walk into her clinic. With time, many treats and just “fun” visits, he walked in there with confidence. We will both miss you dearly.

meg willis

3 octubre , 2019

I have had the great opportunity to have known Mary Dee since she became my Moms vet in 1974, then my vet, for our multitude or dogs and cats. Not only did she become a caretaker of our animals, but also a personal friend who shared my love of lure coursing and breeding of purebred dogs (ridgebacks in my case). Mary Dee was a depth of knowledge that I counted on and will deeply miss.
I regret I won't be able to attend her memorial-but I'm sure she would understand, because I will be at the International Invitational coursing event running the lure (hopefully for salukis)
Tallyho Mary Dee

Linda Hart

2 octubre , 2019

I lived in Williamston from 1980-2008 and MaryDee cared for our many dog and cat pets, as well as my husband’s clients’ bird dogs and their puppies. She did everything from office visits, surgeries, and even came out to our kennels to save us having to bring our twenty-some bird dogs into the office for their annual exams and shots. Besides being so amazingly smart and knowledgeable, she showed how much she cared for all of our animals by making herself available 24/7 when we needed her. We loved hearing her lambing stories each spring and just know that she will be greatly missed by the many friends she made along the way. RIP, MaryDee ❤️

Melissa Gates

2 octubre , 2019

When I was a young girl my Dad took his hunting dogs to Mary Dee. He gave me a puppy that had become very sick. He told me we didn’t have money to treat her so she would die. Mary Dee treated her anyway, at cost to herself. She saved my sweet puppy and taught me how one should care about living creatures. I’m a physician now and I’m sure that experience helped me become who I am today. Thank you Mary Dee farewell.