Well-known and equally well-respected equine veterinarian Dr. James K. Boutcher, 76, passed away Sept. 22 at his home in Versailles, Ky.
Boutcher served for years as the primary vet for 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and was the vet who recommended to Harold Snowden Jr. that he geld a terror of a colt named John Henry.
The native of Oldham County, Ky., devoted 40 years to being an equine practitioner in Central Kentucky and would not have traded a minute with the horses and people he worked alongside all that time, according to his wife of 53 years, Sally Meers Boutcher.
Boutcher was a lifetime member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, a former member and president of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, the Farm Managers Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Club, and the Thoroughbred Club of America.
A graduate of Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine, his practice took him all over the world, but it was his family, friends, and the people he worked with closest to home that he held most dear. Boutcher cherished being named a Chapter Farmer by the Woodford County FFA and was the founding member of the Woodford County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. When he had free time, he enjoyed shooting sporting clays and going to friends' dove hunts. He also was a member of First Christian Church in Versailles.
Besides his wife, he is survived by his daughter Mandy Morris (Shawn); son James Boutcher, III, (Erin); sister Patricia English (Sonny); brother Dennis Boutcher (Claudia); grandsons Bennett, Gray, and Charlie Morris, and Miles Boutcher; brothers-in-law Bill Meers (Mary Lou) and Dick Meers; devoted caregiver Aaron Blair, and faithful dog Curtis.
Boutcher was always available for any horse that needed his care, said Sally Boutcher, recalling one of so many nights he spent in a barn nursing a sick foal. On this occasion, the foal rose to its feet In the morning and announced his newfound strength with a whinny.
"You're welcome," Boutcher said as he patted the foal on the head. Then turning to the farm manager added, "This is why I do what I do."