OBITUARY: Robert Chandler “Bob” Bledsoe

Robert Chandler “Bob” Bledsoe was born in El Paso (since it had a hospital), right in the middle of the Great Depression, on August 23, 1930, to Robert Irvine Bledsoe and Lolla Bunton Bledsoe. He was their only child and was raised in Marfa. Growing up there, Bob spent a lot of

time working on ranches owned by his dad and uncles –– his mother, Lolla, was 1 of 11 children, so Bob had a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins. He loved the outdoors, especially ranching, and participated in just about everything his community and school had to offer like playing in the band and most sports, including football when they still used leather helmets.

Bob spoke fluent Spanish. Spanish was his mother’s first language and Bob spoke fluent Spanish. His mother was born in Shafter, a small community outside of Presidio. Bob went to military school at NMMI in Roswell, New Mexico, after graduating from Marfa High School in 1947 at the age of 16. He graduated from NMMI in 1949. He earned his BBA and law degree from UT Austin, receiving his law degree in 1955.

At the end of his first year in law school, he was commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and called to active duty. He served during the Korean War in Louisiana –– at the Lake Charles Air Force Base –– training B-29 combat crews. He was part of the 51st Bomb Squadron in the Strategic Air Command. After two years of service, he resumed law school at UT.

Bob married Evelyne Louise McWhorter in 1951. They had four children: Robert Bledsoe Jr. who, with his wife Christi, lives in Trophy Club, Texas; Beverly Haight who, with her husband Vic, lives in Nampa, Idaho; Billy Bledsoe who, with his wife Barbara, lives in Midland, Texas; and David Bledsoe who, with his wife Karissa, lives in Midland.

After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin Law School, he worked for Baker, Botts, Andrews and Sheppard in Houston, then Hervey, Dow and Hinkle in Roswell, New Mexico. He was then offered a job at Stubbeman, McRae, Sealy, Laughlin and Browder, bringing him to Midland. Lastly, he formed a new law firm with five other attorneys which is today known as Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe and Dawson. 

Bob wrote the operating agreement for the Alaska North Slope which is still in use today. He wrote many legal articles discussing the AAPL Model Form Operating Agreement. Bob’s seminal article discussing the 1982 Model Form was the definitive analysis of the JOA and was the source for many additional provisions that became widely adopted. Bob successfully argued before the Texas Supreme Court in the landmark case of Luckel v. White, which is likely the single most important deed construction case in the last 50 years. In his argument, Bob told the justices that the answer was “as plain as pig’s feet.”