Obituary: Sarah “Sally” Lou Buxkemper
(August 29, 1932 – March 14, 2017)
Sarah “Sally” Buxkemper, owner of RX Ranch in Rowena, Texas died on March 14, 2017 at the age of 84. She was a scientist and an artist at heart, who spent her life working for what could be rather than accepting the status quo.
While she spent most of her life in West Texas, she was born August 29, 1932 in Sistersville, West Virginia to Amalee and Robert Thomas Jones, Sr. and was raised in Michigan. Early on, Sarah developed a love of the outdoors, horses and cattle when she spent her summers visiting and helping on her grandmother Lucy Kuhn’s farm in Rowena, Texas and on her granduncle Stanley “Boots” Kubela’s ranches in South Texas and on the Texas Coast.
She graduated from East Grand Rapids High School with honors and attended Michigan State University, where she was the only woman on the livestock judging team. Wanting to be an Aggie, she transferred to Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State University) and became only the second woman to earn an Animal Husbandry degree in 1954. In the early 1960s, Sarah took over operation of the family farm and ranching operation in Rowena.
She was also the first woman trained by the American Breeders Service to administer artificial insemination in cattle. This initiated a lifetime of experimenting with a variety of breeds to improve quality and weights in cattle. She was an early pioneer in composite cattle, which are now very recognized and heavily used in the beef industry. She was instrumental in developing and promoting Simbrah (a cross of Simmental and Brahman breeds) and SimAngus HT (a mix of Simmental, Angus and Brahman breeds). Her quest for knowledge and her interest in genetics led her to the University of North Texas in the late 1980s, where she researched the bovine genome.
She obtained a Master of Science in Molecular Biology in 1998 and continued to study genetics and use it in her breeding program. She was often asked to be part of lectures and programs to discuss genomics. Throughout her ranching career, Sarah traveled internationally to Mexico, South Africa, various countries in Central and South America, Australia and Czech Republic exchanging agricultural ideas and building relationships. She believed in service and lent her time over the years to the Ballinger ISD School Board, American Simmental Association Board, Texas Simmental/Simbrah Association Board, American Breeds Coalition, Farm Bureau, National Beef Cattleman’s Association, Beef Improvement Federation, Texas A&M Animal Science Advisory Council, 4-H and FFA.
She was a strong supporter of youth in agriculture and developed the San Angelo Livestock Show Futurity, which was a competition measuring an exhibitor’s livestock skills and cattle knowledge rather than the quality of their animal. She also served as coach and advisor to numerous youth in the American Junior Simmental Association program.
Sarah was recognized for her contributions to agriculture with numerous awards including: National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, American Simmental Association Golden Book recipient, Pioneer Award from BIF, and many other honors.
Always humble, Sarah would say that she got her greatest joy not from awards, but from doing what she loved every day of her life. As a mother and grandmother, Sarah instilled her can-do spirit and cultivated curiosity and independence which she valued so much. Whether she was catching toads, traversing across the country with a carload of children, grandchildren, and their friends, or providing sporting or camping tips, she was always teaching.
She is survived by her children, Edgar Artecona and his wife Robin of Alvarado, Texas, Ana Hudson and her husband Terry of Miles, Texas and Lucy Humble and her husband, Monty of Austin. Her grandchildren include Ryan Artecona and his wife Philamena Bradford, Amalee (Artecona) and her husband Todd Mueller, Jake, Matt and AnaClaire Henderson, and London and Duncan Glenn. Sarah will be missed by many and her legacy of knowledge shared, encouragement given and belief that anything is possible will endure in those that had the privilege to cross her path. She served as an inspiration and mentor to many and earned the respect of all. A graveside service will be held with immediate family on Saturday, March 18 in Rowena and a celebration of Sarah’s life will be scheduled for a later date.
The family requests that contributions be made to the American Simmental Association Foundation, One Genetics Way, Bozeman, Montana 59718, as a special fund will be named in her honor.
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