TWIN FALLS • Dr. Joseph Edgar Tugaw, 81, a prominent rancher and veterinarian in the Twin Falls and Salt Lake City area for more than 50 years, passed away Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in an aviation accident at his Dry Creek Ranch near Murtaugh, Idaho.
He was an only child, born into the ranching tradition to Joseph Theodore and Ruie Howell Tugaw on Nov. 12, 1930, and was raised on their beef cattle ranch near Okanogan, Wash. After graduating from Okanogan High School in 1948, he attended Washington State University, where he graduated with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1954. While attending WSU, he was affiliated with the Theta Chi Fraternity, where he developed many lifelong friendships. After marrying Mary A. Conner on Sept. 5, 1953, he worked briefly as a veterinarian in Portland, Ore., before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force to serve in Taipei Formosa during the Korean Conflict. After two years in the service, he joined his uncle and mentor, Dr. Edward A. Tugaw, in veterinary practice in Salt Lake City, Utah. A short time later, Dr. Clark Vanderhoof joined their practice to form Central Valley Veterinary Hospital and together, they grew the practice to include eight doctors, the first 24-hour emergency animal clinic in the Intermountain Region and several more satellite clinics in the Salt Lake area. Collectively, they became one of the largest veterinary hospitals in the western United States.
He has contributed his time and talents to local, state and national civic associations, including service as national president of the American Society of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, president of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association, president of the South Salt Lake Rotary Club, Utah delegate to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, president and board member of the Idaho Cattle Association, chairman of the Federal Lands Committee, member of the National Cattlemen’s Association Board of Directors and a member of the Bureau of Land Management’s Upper Snake River Resource Advisory Council. In 1999, Dr. Joe Tugaw was inducted into the Southern Idaho Livestock Hall of Fame and he was also named the “Idaho Cattleman of the Year” by the Idaho Cattle Association. In 1961, he joined Twin Peaks Masonic Lodge No. 32 (Midvale, Utah) as a charter member, where he was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Noble of El Kalah Shrine.
In 1963, Dr. Joe Tugaw, together with his uncle, Dr. Ed Tugaw, and his father, J.T. Tugaw, purchased the Dry Creek Ranch south of Murtaugh. In 1971, he purchased the Buckhorn Ranch, which was the beginning of several decades of commuting between the Salt Lake City veterinary practice and his beloved ranches. Joe was an experienced pilot for more than 60 years.
He and his wife, Joan, were married in 1984 in Salt Lake City. They later moved to Twin Falls, where they have resided since 1990. Joe loved to travel. He and Joan enjoyed several vacations, which included Asia, Hawaii and visiting family and friends. Joe was a man of great honor and integrity and a friend to all. He never met a stranger, and he was deeply loyal to his family and friends and a man of his word.
Joe is survived by his wife, Joan Tugaw of Twin Falls; Mary Tugaw-Harmer of Salt Lake City, mother of his children, Joseph A. Tugaw of Del Mar, Calif., and Julie (Rick) Prentiss of Plano, Texas; daughter-in-law, Kathy Tugaw of Centerville, Utah; stepchildren, Jodi (Brandon) Byce of Twin Falls, Jil Lee of Twin Falls and Brent (Christy) Bush of Maricopa, Ariz.; 14 grandchildren, Brandon, Chelsea, Dallon and Shelby Tugaw, Morgan and Ryan Prentiss, T.J. (Maria) Bowthorpe, Conner and Sydney Lee, Jade, Jason and Josie Byce, Sophia Bush and Isaak Boyd; and great-granddaughter, Scarlet Bowthorpe.
Joe will be greatly missed by his family and friends and all the lives he has touched. He will be in our hearts forever. The family requests donations be made in Joe’s name to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, 500 Huntsman Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108-1235.
The funeral for Joe will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship, 960 Eastland Drive in Twin Falls, with Pastor Greg Fadness officiating. A private family burial will take place at Sunset Memorial Park.
Services are under the direction of Trent Stimpson and staff at Reynolds Funeral Chapel in, Twin Falls. Condolences may be left for the family by visiting www.reynoldschapel.com.