Baxter Black, DVM: 1945 - 2022
Baxter Black, the veterinarian turned cowboy poet, storyteller and philosopher of rural life in America, died Friday, June 10, at the age of 77.
In January of this year a Facebook posting by his wife Cindy Lou revealed Baxter was suffering from blood leukemia and a form of dementia. He had been in hospice care at his home in Benson, Ariz.
Baxter was born at Brooklyn Naval Hospital, Brooklyn New York, but grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was a Future Farmers of America president and president of his senior class in high school. He also began riding bulls in high school and continued in college and competed in rodeos in the 1960s.
Baxter earned his undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University and completed veterinary school at Colorado State University in 1969. He was a practicing large-animal veterinarian from 1969 to 1982.
It was in the 1980s when Baxter began entertaining audiences with his poetry and storytelling. His descriptive prose and self-deprecating humor made it obvious to all that he was a genuine cowboy who had survived many of the jackpots he described.
Baxter wrote over 30 books of poetry, fiction—both novels and children's literature—and commentary, selling over two million books, CDs, and DVDs. He made appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and was a Morning Edition commentator on NPR for more than 20 years.
“I like what I do,” Black said about his life. “I have a great home to come home to, a couple good horses, a few cows, a good dog, and friends everywhere I go. I’m square with God and I make a living entertaining people I care about.”