Fayetteville, Ark., farrier, farmer and state legislator Jim House passed away Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, after a farming accident. He was 70.
House was killed after a tractor he was driving turned over and landed on him Wednesday, Tontitown Police Chief Joey McCormick told KFSM.
“Jim was a lifelong public servant, from his time in the United States Army, to his leadership of the state’s health department and tenure in the Arkansas House of Representatives,” according to a statement from the Washington County, Ark., Democratic Party. “Jim cared tremendously about this county, about its people, and loved his wonderful family, who we hold in our thoughts and in our prayers tonight. Jim, you are irreplaceable.”
House gained notoriety for riding horseback while campaigning in northwest Arkansas for the District 89 seat in the House of Representatives. A member of the Democratic Party, he often brought a live donkey to outdoor events. House served in the Legislature from 2007 to 2011.
“There just aren’t many folks as decent and good to the core as Jim House,” according to a statement from Nicole Clowney, Arkansas state representative-elect for District 86. “Whether he was doing horseshoeing demonstrations for kids at the fair or campaigning in the freezing rain — he was never happier than when he was helping people and teaching them about all he knew to be good. He worked so hard for all of us.”
House was a proponent for improving emergency services such as 911 call centers, a statewide trauma center system and of a satellite campus of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Fayetteville. He was also instrumental in changing Arkansas state law to exempt a number of practices — including horseshoeing — from the state’s Veterinary Practice Act, which de¬¬fined the practice of veterinary medicine, among other things, as the diagnosis, treatment and an attempt to correct disease, defect or deformity.
“It’s the fact that it says no one but a veterinarian can correct a deformity,” House told American Farriers Journal in 2015. “Well, I’m sorry; in my mind, that catches horseshoers right in the middle. So, if you’re going to manage a toed-in horse, that’s where the veterinary medical association comes in. They don’t want us to say we diagnose anything. ‘Farriers make assumptions,’ a veterinarian told me. ‘Veterinarians diagnose.’”
Although horseshoeing played a large role in his bid to change Arkansas’ Veterinary Practice Act, his aim was to help farmers and ranchers.
“My legislative intent had to do with livestock owners and whom they choose to hire to do what they need done,” House said. “It had more to do with massage therapists, acupuncturists, equine dentistry and the routinely accepted livestock management practices like dehorning cattle, castration and vaccination — things that, at least in Arkansas, are done by many, many non-veterinarians for livestock owners.”
House was a 1974 graduate of Bud Beaston’s Oklahoma Farriers College and an American Farrier’s Association certified farrier. He was a farrier for 48 years.
A celebration of life was held Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at the House family farm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Association of the Friends of the Wichitas, P.O. Box 7402, Lawton, OK 72506