Graveside services were held on Wednesday, Nov. 26 at Visalia District Cemetery for Robert W. Blaswich, 87, of Visalia. He passed away on Nov. 22.
He was born in Armona and his family moved to Visalia when he was one year old. They owned the property in Visalia now known as Hyde Park and as a young man he worked for Hyde Ranches and as a mule packer for Earl McKee. As a teenager he practiced roping locally at all the local arenas.
In high school he met and dated Betty Stephens and they married in Las Vegas, Nev. in 1940. He and Betty had many wonderful years together raising three wonderful sons. Betty preceded him in death in 1990.
He taught his sons at an early age to love and respect the animals. They all followed in their father's footsteps winning many team-roping championships and he watched with pride as they would compete and win as team ropers. He was a gold card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The story is that he joined the P.R.C.A. in 1947 when they caught him roping without membership. They figured if he was winning so much, he should have to pay the dues for membership. He was also a member of the Diamond Walnut Association.
He and his sons ranched and farmed locally raising cotton, walnuts and cattle. He rode, broke and trained many horses for other ropers in the area, and was known for his horsemanship and his humane treatment of animals.
He will be most remembered for his love of his family, horses and his love of team roping. He was known worldwide for his team roping championship. He has won many trophies, saddles and belt buckles. He roped with Earl Nelson, Hap Lambert, Allen Bach, Clarence Ritchie, Hoke Evans, Frank Blaswich and his sons, Jim, Rick and David. He roped with many local cowboys, too numerous to mention.
He was honored this year at the Salinas Rodeo, the 50th anniversary of winning the team roping with Earl Nelson. He also won the Salinas Rodeo 25 years ago with Allen Bach.
Locally, he competed at the Visalia Rodeo grounds, Three Rivers Lions Roping, Chowchilla Stampede, and the Salinas Rodeo.
He has won many championships all over California, Nevada and Arizona and was still roping at the age of 85. His eyes would still light up when we would sit around and talk about the "good ole days" team roping.
In 1996 he met Helen Clark, she said it was love at first sight. They were married in August of 2000 and in the last few years have traveled throughout California and Oregon in their RV.
He is survived by his wife, Helen of Visalia; sons, Jim Blaswich and wife Noreena of Visalia, Rick Blaswich and wife Julie of Lemon Cove and David Blaswich and wife Phyllis of Hollister; sister, Madelyn Kaufman and husband John of Santa Rosa; step-sons, Donald Clark and wife Joanne of Portland, Ore., Thomas Clark and wife Emelia of Fresno; step-daughter, Jennifer Peters and husband Bruce of Pennsylvania; grandchildren, Billy and wife Lorie, Bobby, Brian, Andrew and wife Nicole, Jeremy, Sheri and Lisa Blaswich all of Visalia; step-grandchildren, Eric Clark and Stacy Clark both of Oregon, Elizabeth Peters of Fleetwood, Pa.; great-grandchildren, Brenden Boesch. Austin Blaswich, Vencent Jacobs, Tyler Blaswich, Lacee Jacobs and Karlie Greene; step-great-grandchildren, Chasity O'Neal and Josh O'Neal as well as two step-great-great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Frank Blaswich in August of this year; his parents, William and Mary Blaswich.
Remembrances may be made in Bob's name to the American Cancer Society, 211 N. Encina, Visalia, CA 93291 and to the American Heart Association. Special thanks to the nurses and aides at Kaweah Delta Hospital as well as his doctors Robert Havard, Victoria Gerken and Dr. Warner. Arrangements were under the direction Hadley Funeral Chapel, Visalia.