James Richard Bozeman

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James Richard Bozeman, M.D., 84, of Lafayette, died peacefully at home Thursday, following his customary early morning trip to Reds, the grocery store and lunch preparation as he readied for his afternoon nap. He was born on October 17, 1933 in Huntington, Texas. He was Lafayette’s first cardiothoracic surgeon, performing the city’s first open heart surgery on Valentine’s Day in 1972 at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital. Dr. Bozeman was a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (SLI) and Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Following his internship and residency in general surgery at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, he completed a two-year fellowship in thoracic surgery at Baylor University-affiliated hospitals in Houston Texas. During his tenure in Houston in the mid-1960s he worked with a small group of doctors who were, in the words of one historian, “ushering heart surgery from a niche field into mainstream medicine.” He had the good fortune to train under the tutelage and mentorship of cardiac legends Drs. Michael E. DeBakey, Denton A. Cooley, George C. Morris and E. Stanley Crawford. They were world renowned for their pioneering techniques for surgery on the heart and blood vessels and, as he liked to remind, their relentless attention to detail. This superior training and attention to detail guided him as he operated on and cared for countless patients in Louisiana and Texas in a career spanning over forty years. Dr. Bozeman was known as Richard growing up among the red dirt roads of northern Louisiana and later Jimmy, Jim, Doc and BOZE, always BOZE. He even answered to Cornbread. He was always making cornbread and countless dishes and specialties he prepared for family and friends: greens, beans, gumbo, duck, quail jambalaya, bouillabaisse, BBQ, pies, fig preserves and hot sauce. Equal to his passion for cooking was his love of eating, entertaining, hunting, fishing, gardening and holding court. Always holding court. And fishing? “Fishing obsessed” fit. He was deeply loved and respected for his boundless generosity, and integrity, his work ethic and lightening wit. He was a great provider and always, always the first to reach for the check. At 84, though he was tired and frustrated by a slow and uneven movement and lack of stamina, he had much left unfinished, and was not yet ready. He was focusing on eating more vegetables and brown rice in the last two weeks in a quest to shed a few and lose his ever present suspenders. On this late May day, his vegetable garden is flourishing, his citrus are budding and the figs are almost ready for picking and preserving. He had his secret fresh shrimp supplier lined up for the coming season. His flag currently flies proudly in his yard in prep for Memorial Day. He was looking forward to watching his beloved LSU baseball tigers after his afternoon nap. BOZE was not yet ready. Neither were we. He was preceded in death by his parents, Maxie Herrington and the Rev. Robert Armstrong Bozeman. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Judy; children, Denise, Monique, Rick, Rachel and Stephen from his marriage to Betty; siblings, Martha, Bo and Mary; stepchildren, Stephen, Brian, Amy and Lee; nephews, Lloyd, Ross and Robert Charles and their spouses; and grandchildren, Casey, Jason, Adam, Jake, Josh, Emily, Ryan, Annabelle, Olivia and Claire and Judy; and Jim’s beloved dog Abby. The family offers special thanks to Drs. Ed Nagem, Jim Mc- Carthy and John Mickey for their care and everlasting friendship. Funeral Services were held May 29 in Delhomme Funeral Home Chapel of the Flowers led by Asbury Methodist Church pastor Richard Humphries. Personal condolences may be sent to the Bozeman family at www.delhommefuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, please make donations the National Rifle Association, the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana or Ducks Unlimited.

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