Robert “Bob” Wallace
Robert Bartley Wallace died Wednesday, April 13, at his adobe home in Bosque Farms.
A lifetime of hard work and horse wrecks had caught up with him but, to the end, his blue eyes flashed bright and clear whenever he started spinning a yarn. Bob, as his spurs said in silver on the heel, was 83 years old. He spent most of those years in a saddle.
Bob was born Aug. 2, 1938, in Clarksville, 20 miles south of the Red River in the east Texas timberlands. His parents were Inez Porterfield and Harold Samuel Wallace. He had an older brother, George, and a younger brother, Ben. Their mother passed when they were young, and his father married Ella Ruth Livingston.
When Bob was 12, his father moved the family to west Texas, where Harold would serve as the police chief of Midland. At the time, the city was still a rough-and-tumble cattle town, trying to establish itself as a bona fide center of commerce for the booming Permian Basin oil fields.
It was there that Bob discovered a love for horses. He told of an old cowpuncher who would ride past the Wallace property on his way into town. The cowboy would whistle, and Bob would run out and hop on for a ride. After being horseback, Bob knew he had found his calling.
He was a senior at Midland High School when his cowboy career got an abrupt start. The east Texas boy kept getting into scrapes with his city-slicker classmates. Eager to get his son out of town before he got into serious trouble, Harold pulled some strings and Bob landed his first ranch job working for Clarence Scarborough at one of their properties around Vega, Texas. He relocated two years later to the Scarborough’s Five Wells Camp, north of Midland.
Bob met Johnie Louise Houston at Five Wells, where her uncle worked as a manager. The two were married in June 1959. They moved briefly to Colorado, but returned to west Texas in 1963 to manage the Scarborough’s Norwood Camp in Andrews County.
While living there, they had two sons. Samuel Scott Wallace was born in 1964, and Skeet Doyle Wallace came along five years later. Bob and Johnie bought 20 acres outside of Andrews, where Bob had dreams of running his own horse-training facility.
The Wallaces moved to “the Bean Farm” in 1973. Five years later, the dream had failed to materialize like Bob had hoped. He and Johnie divorced, and Bob spent much of the next decade in the Panhandle, entering ropings and training cutting horses. By the mid-’80s, he had drifted west to New Mexico, where he met Dolly Braught.
The couple married and his family grew to include his stepson, Donald Braught. Dolly and Bob founded Wallace 5-0 Quarter Horses. Over the next two decades, they filled their home with trophies, buckles and saddles won at horse shows across the country, including the 1991 American Buckskin Registry Association World Championship. He served as the president of the New Mexico Buckskin Horse Association and was involved with many organizations throughout his life from 4-H to the American Quarter Horse Association to youth rodeo programs in Valencia County.
Bob enjoyed fried burritos at Bennie’s and watching rodeo. He was a great whistler and mesmerized his grandkids with his auctioneering skills and cowboy jokes. He was rarely without a toothpick in his mouth or tucked into the band of his cowboy hat.
He cooked biscuits in a Dutch oven over coals. If you were lucky enough to taste them, you knew no other biscuit comes close. Bob was a dreamer.
He considered his many friends at Valencia County Cowboy Church his family, and helped the church secure the piece of land where their sanctuary now sits. The lottery, when he won it, was going to be spent on the ones he loved, including his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That winning ticket never came, but Bob was lucky enough to spend his lifetime doing what he wanted.
“All I ever wanted to be was a cowboy.” Bob Wallace was one.
A celebration of Bob’s life was held with the church family he loved Sunday, April 24, at the Valencia County Cowboy Church. The family requests anyone wanting to remember Bob with a memorial to send donations to his church at: Valencia County Cowboy Church, P.O. Box 1372, Peralta, NM, 87042.
While Bob loved his family and friends in New Mexico, his final wishes were to be buried next to his mother in Clarksville, Texas.
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