It is with great distress that we announce the passing of one of our founders and mentors, David Schoumacher, who passed away quietly in his sleep, March 24, 2023, at the age of 88.
David received two Emmy awards in his career as a journalist, reporting on the Vietnam war, Watergate, several presidential campaigns, the NASA space program, and the assassination of President John F Kennedy. He was the evening news anchor for the Washington Bureau of ABC News from 1976 to 1988.
David also served our country in the Air Force and the Air Force reserve, flying tankers and tactical bombers until 1971.
In 2001, a widower, he married a neighbor and longtime friend, Elizabeth “Wooz” Matthews and moved to her family farm, Thistle Hill Farm, in Hume, Virginia. After a close call involving a black Angus cow and a grandchild, they made the decision to look for a more calm natured breed to work with, and settled on Ruby Red Devons.
The foundation of the herd initially came from Jeremy Engh at Lakota Ranch, and Charlie and Martha Trantham. Wooz became the registrar for the North American Devon Association, volunteering hundreds of hours to register the purebred Devon’s across the country. David joined the board and passed on his wisdom regarding communications and marketing.
At one of the World Devon Congresses in England, David and Wooz forged a partnership with John Forelle and Nancy and Bill Walker, developing a plan to import embryos from purebred English Red Devon cattle whose lineages could be traced back hundreds of years. They became fast friends with international Devon experts, including Gavin Hunter and Ivan Rowe, Brian Drake, Margaret Elliot, and Juliet Cleave, as well as Ken and Pru McDowall from New Zealand. Eventually, David and Wooz bought out their partners, maintaining a vision for Thistle Hill ￼to become a repository for some of the best English Ruby Red Devon genetics.
David passed on his love for the breed and the business of cattle farming to his stepchildren Carolyn (Curt Humphreys) and Church Matthews. His grandson Church Humphreys ( the grandchild mentioned above who became the impetus for switching breeds) is carrying on the torch for the Devon herd at Thistle Hill, continuing the English lines, as well as introducing genetics from the grandfather of American Devon, Potheridge president.
We are forever grateful to David for his love, enthusiasm, and mentorship, and feel his loss greatly.