Dr. Robert Lee Butchofsky DVM
Our beloved Dr. Robert Lee Butchofsky, born January 30,1924, aged 94, passed away peacefully on May 17, 2018. A long-time resident of Ruidoso, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, he was the son of Elizabeth Manning Butchofsky and Richard D. Butchofsky, who preceded him in death, as did his brothers Richard David Butchofsky and Jack Wilburn Butchofsky and his step father, Arthur Grob.
He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Marci Miller Butchofsky, his daughter Janet Lynn Butchofsky, son, Robert Lee Butchofsky II and his wife Kate, and their children, Mary Kathryn Butchofsky, and Robert Lee Butchofsky III. He is also survived by niece Mary Linda Butchofsky Endlich and her husband Edward, Jackie Butchofsky Butler and son Cody Wade Butler, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, other extended family members and many dear friends.
Bob was known by many people across the state of Texas and New Mexico. To his Aggie friends, he was Butch. To most of his veterinary clients, he was Dr. Bob or simply Doc. More recently, he was GPB (Grandpa Bob) to his family and the Grandkids that he cherished. Bob referred jokingly to himself as "Solonovovich - but be careful how you pronounce it".
Bob was born and grew up in Ysleta, Texas, the youngest of 3 brothers. Bob's father died when he was very young, Bob was too young to remember him. Bob and his brothers Dick and Jack were raised in very humble surroundings during the Great Depression. Times were tough. However, all 3 boys were excellent athletes, especially in football, and all of them graduated from Ysleta High School, with Bob graduating during World War II in 1942. His mother was the school nurse and kept a strict eye on her sons and was their fiercest advocate, but those boys were tough and if they weren't fighting each other, you would be wise not to get on their bad side. Years later, in 1957 the three brothers shared the honor of being named Outstanding Exes for Ysleta High School.
Bob entered A&M College of Texas (Texas A&M) in 1943 and was a very proud Aggie. He was a member of the Corp of Cadets where he rose to the rank of Cadet Colonel. Bob played running back and linebacker in football during a time before facemasks were worn. He lost several teeth and broke his jaw but was tough as nails and had to be given he only weighed 165 pounds. Since he was at A&M during the War, the upper classmen were overseas fighting and only the young football players were left behind in school - Bob's class was dubbed the Kiddie Korp as a result and additional players were chosen from the Corp of Cadets to fill the roster for the 1943 season, which ended with a trip to the Orange Bowl. His senior year he became Co-Captain of the team. He was offered a professional position by the Washington Redskins in 1946, but he declined, preferring to pursue a career in Veterinary Medicine.
He was not an outstanding student, but he worked hard was able to earn his degree in 1946.
Upon graduation from Texas A&M he took a veterinarian job in Lafayette, LA the only open position he could find. In 1946, Bob married Jacquelin Blandin, a University of Texas grad who hailed from Wichita Falls, Texas and in 1951 their daughter Janet Lynn was born. Bob served in the military, stationed in Baltimore, Maryland and then returned to El Paso, Texas where he built and established The Animal Clinic on Alameda Street in El Paso, where he practiced for 40 years.
Today, veterinarians are largely sub-specialists, usually with a focus on a certain species. Bob was a throwback to another time. He treated any and all animals - large, small, kicking and biting, or tame and stoic. He loved being around animals and had a 6th sense for what was wrong and rarely needed any costly diagnostic testing or blood work to find a suitable treatment. He was also an expert as an orthopedic surgeon and he viewed each case, usually an animal struck by a car, as a puzzle. If he could just get the bone to heal, the animal would regain functional use and be able to walk - perhaps with just a slight limp. He saved many animals that other vets would have given up on. He routinely treated large and small animals, but also saw his share of exotic animals -either owned from individuals or perhaps passing through town with the circus. He operated on tigers, treated an abscessed tail of a black panther, sewed up ostriches, and even helped a baby elephant who was having difficulty with his tusk growing in. Being the child of a vet in those days couldn't have been more fun - especially since he poured his life into his work and routinely worked 7 days a week as well as taking calls for emergencies.
Bob loved kids and had a great sense of humor. One of his favorite tricks was when children came into the clinic while their puppies were having their tails docked. After the procedure was done, usually while the parents were walking out of the exam lane, Bob would hand the kids the "leftover" tails and tell them if they took the tails home, planted them in the garden and watered them, then a new litter of puppies would grow. I'm sure this caused more than a few problems for unsuspecting parents.
His tricks weren't limited to dogs. Another favorite was showing kids the nasogastric tube he would use to treat horses with colic. The tube could be seen as it slid down the horse's neck. If the children were appropriately amazed, and if it was a tame horse, he would ask them to "go hold up his tail and keep an eye out in case I go too far and the tube comes out the other end."
Given the amount of time he spent at the Animal Clinic, it really isn't surprising that he would fall in love with someone who shared his love of animals and who was also trained as a veterinarian. In 1981, Bob married Marci Miller, also an Aggie, and they worked together at the Animal Clinic through the 80's and 90's.
It wasn't enough that Bob had the busiest veterinary practice in all of west Texas and southern New Mexico but in the 1960's Bob founded Paso Farms. He started with breeding, raising, and training greyhounds, most of which ultimately competed at the Juarez racetrack. All of Bob's dogs, and later his horses, had the first name Paso, so they could be identified as a Paso Farms animal. He had some great successes with Paso Jan becoming a world champion hurdler with 21 consecutive wins. In the late 70's and early 80's, Paso Jessie became the all-time career win leader.
Bob had a farm in Fabens, Texas, where he grew cotton and pecans, but in the late 70's he also started breeding and raising thoroughbred horses there, most of whom ran in Sunland Park, NM, Juarez, Mexico, or Ruidoso Downs. NM. Some of his all-time greats, as well as his favorites included Paso Peace, Paso Ray, Paso Popeye, and many, many more.
Bob and Marci have shared a loving life, filled with adventure and a shared love of animals, including numerous dogs, horses, pigs, goats, racoons, and even a few bears in Ruidoso who almost became household pets. They sprinkled each day with a steady dose of humor. They thrived together in El Paso, Ruidoso and also in Montana but Ruidoso ultimately became their favored home.
A lifetime member of the El Paso Veterinarian Association, in 2005 Dr. Bob was honored as the first Legend of Veterinarian Medicine, an honor he proudly accepted.
Bob was really a renaissance man. He never met a problem he wasn't interested in solving. He was a brilliant veterinarian and miraculously saved many animals from premature death. However, he was also interested in genetics and breeding, and then in training both his dogs and horses for peak performance. He was a farmer, an architect and builder, and in later life became a sculptor. He took pride in "figuring things out" and built a wonderful greyhound house at his Fabens farm. He also, in his late 60's, designed and spent almost 3 years building a beautiful house in Montana that he and Marci lived in throughout the late 90's and early 2000's. You would frequently see him staring at something intently and just know that he was working through a problem or thinking of a better design for something that "just wasn't quite right".
One of the keys to Bob's longevity in addition to having Marci, was he lived everyday with a positive mental attitude. He lived by the Golden Rule and was one of the kindest and gentlest people you would ever meet. It's relatively easy to go out of your way for a friend, but Bob routinely helped acquaintances or strangers or anyone down on their luck. He has passed down much of his philosophy to those he loved - whether related to athletics, academics, or career, he reminded us frequently, usually reinforcing his point by waving his index finger to us and saying that it all starts "with a good foundation". Bob had a good foundation in everything that he did.
Bob's legacy extends to all 3 generations of men named Bob Butchofsky. The first-generation Bob was referred to as "The Legend" for receiving the Legend award as a veterinarian. The second-generation Bob was known as "The Founder" for being the Founder and CEO of Mati Therapeutics. The third generation Bob became "The President" for being elected President of the University of Arizona rugby team. All 3 Bob's are or were, gifted athletes (at least that's what they will tell you). All three of them were or are leaders in school or in their careers. The Founder and The President will tell you that their success, comes in large part, due to the positive influence and love from the Bob we are honoring today.
Bob also inspired his daughter Jan with a sense of curiosity and adventure to become a travel photographer. He inspired his granddaughter Kathryn by his ability to overcome hardships and in persevering with a positive mental attitude.
Bob has enjoyed good health for most of his life. However, recently he has required healthcare support. The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Bob's caregivers, Dorothy Yankee, Connie Witt, and Teresa Roberts and the amazing staff of healthcare professionals at Presbyterian Lincoln County Medical Center. We are most grateful for the love and support of his dear friends whom he considered family, as well as members of his church family at Angus Church of the Nazarene.
A Celebration of Life Memorial will be held at the Angus Church of the Nazarene, 103 Bonita Park Rd, Angus, NM on Monday, May 21 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Robert Lee Butchofsky to the El Paso Veterinarian Medical Association Scholarship Fund. Donations may be payable to: Texas A&M Foundation and mailed to: East El Paso Veterinary Hospital, 3370 Wedgewood Dr. El Paso, Texas 79925. Please state in Memo: EPVMA Scholarship/Robert Lee Butchofsky.
The family can't begin to express how much we will
miss Bob. But we also know he led a wonderful life and
we celebrate his life and will continue his legacy in all
that we do. We pray, as Bob enters The Kingdom and
after he greets old friends, family, and gets to meet his
Father for the first time, that he will have time for a
sunset ride on Paso Peace.
May the Peace, which passes all understanding, keep your
hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and
may the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit, be with you, and remain with you, always.