November 26, 1953 – February 8, 2020
Dr. Ralph Edward Nussbaum was welcomed into Heaven by his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on February 8, 2020 from Lubbock, Texas. Please join the family at Grace Presbyterian Church, 4820 West 19th Street, Lubbock, Texas for a Visitation on Friday, February 14 at 6:00pm and again for a Memorial Service on Saturday, February 15 at 10:30am.
Ralph was born Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1953, to Elizabeth Marie Gulde Nussbaum and Leonard John Nussbaum in Amarillo, Texas. He was an energetic child surrounded by five brothers, many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. He was an active participant at church, school, and Boy Scouts. He enjoyed various hobbies including model and radio-controlled airplanes, fishing, and volunteering at the family business, A-to-Z Tire and Battery.
In Ralph’s youth, Cardiologist Dr. Robert Gulde, his uncle, inspired him to pursue a career in medicine. After graduating from Tascosa High School in 1972, he attended Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri followed by Baylor University in Waco, Texas where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology in 1976. He was accepted into the Masters Program in Biology at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas before entering Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine at North Texas State University in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he graduated with his Doctor of Osteopathy in May 1982. Ralph began his post-Doctoral education by entering a Family Practice Residency at Texas Tech Regional Academic Health Science Center in Amarillo, Texas. In 1984, he was appointed Medical Director with the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Public Health Service, serving at the Bureau of Prisons in Petersburg, Virginia. He completed his tour of duty in 1986 at the USPHS Indian Health Service in Watonga, Oklahoma. He followed his service with an internship at Huron Road Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio which led to an Anesthesia Residency at the Cleveland Clinic, graduating in July 1990.
During his professional life, Dr. Nussbaum practiced medicine as a Staff Anesthesiologist in Brownsville, Kerrville, and McAllen, and the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, West Virginia. He was appointed Anesthesia Department Chief in Huntsville, Texas; Anesthesia Department Vice-Chairman and Assistant Professor in Lubbock; Department Associate Chairman and Clinical Director in El Paso; and Department Chairman in Tullahoma, Tennessee from which he retired in April of 2017.
In addition to his work as a clinical Anesthesiologist, Dr. Nussbaum was appointed Medical Director for both The Institute of Pain and The Institute for Hyperbaric Oxygen and Wound Medicine in McAllen from 1994 to 1996. In 1997, Dr. Nussbaum accepted an appointment as Medical Director for the Utah Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine to develop the only multi-place hyperbaric chamber in Utah.
Outstanding highlights of his thirty-five years of practicing medicine include:
-establishing a Pain Medicine Center and the Hyperbaric Oxygen and Wound Medicine programs in both McAllen, Texas and Lakeview, Utah which included oversight of the construction, staffing, marketing, training, installation and operation of the first multi-place chamber hyperbaric medical facility in Utah in just a year’s time.
-participating in the founding of the Covenant Medical Group Department of Anesthesia which included transitioning approximately thirty independent service providers into a cohesive department, from which he was elected the first representative to the larger medical group. He served as Director of Quality Assurance and Director of Compliance where he helped establish services and improved working conditions for practitioners leading to enhanced care for the patients.
-appointment as Vice Chairman for Clinical Services at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock where he participated in balancing the budget, taught medical students, set standards, and worked in the International Pain Institute. He obtained a Certificate in Healthcare Mediation through the TTU School of Law. He earned the Most Outstanding Faculty Award, (Chairman’s Choice); Most Outstanding Faculty Award, (Resident’s Choice); and Dean’s Unsung Hero Award.
-appointment as Associate Chair and Clinical Director for the TTUHSC Department of Anesthesia at the Paul Foster School of Medicine in El Paso, Texas where he participated in reorganizing the department including staffing, credentialing, budgets, equipment, team building, training, competencies, and education. Together with Dr. Will McIlvaine, he obtained reinstatement for the Anesthesia Residency and served as an instructor and mentor for the first three classes of residents.
In retirement, Ralph bought a farmstead in Tennessee where he worked with state conservation agencies to bring the historic site into the 21st century by implementing modern best practices while respecting the natural landscapes. StoryBrookeSprings Farm is establishing a beef cattle operation, a vineyard, a Soay sheep program, hay, pollinator and food-plot pastures, and has planted over 12,000 hardwood trees to reforest the steeper hillsides. Future plans include converting the century-old tobacco barn into an event venue, agro-tourism, and custom branding opportunities.
Ralph married his sweetheart from Baylor University, Dona Reba Laverty, on December 19, 1977 at Bellaire Presbyterian Church. Together they raised Matthew, Monica, Rachael, and John. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elizabeth and Leonard Nussbaum. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Dona; four children; his three grandchildren Calvin, Chase, and Julia; his brothers Michael (Joyce), Stephen (Carmelita), Leonard (Melissa), Gregory (Patricia), and Philip (Kristy); nineteen nieces and nephews; and many aunts, uncles, cousins, and great nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the many doctors, nurses, caregivers, and friends who have loved and supported Dr. Ralph Nussbaum throughout his career and into his final journey through ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a motor neuron disease.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in memory of Dr. Ralph Nussbaum to:
ALS - Therapy Development Institute 300 Technology Square, Suite 400 Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139 https://www.als.net/donate/
- Visitation Friday, February 14, 2020
- Memorial Service Saturday, February 15, 2020
February 14, 2020
What a wonderful video tribute! My love and prayers to this entire beautiful family. He will missed and loved. I can't help but picture him and Bob and the others in Heaven having grand conversations and happy, healthy times up there. Peace
February 13, 2020
Dona and family,
My condolences for your loss, Ralph enjoyed a life well-lived with great accomplishments. I imagine he is discussing medicine with other physicians who have gone before him - St Luke, Galen, Hippocrates, and others. Remember and cherish the good times.
February 12, 2020
There are some people early in life you just don’t forget...
Serious, smart as hell, talented, with a great sense of humor.
I don’t recall ever seeing Ralph after high school; but, he was one of those people you just knew would leave a positive stamp on the world‼️
Good job Ralph
Debi Hix (Glasson)
February 12, 2020
A fine man . Gone to soon. Rest In Peace.
Prayers for comfort to his family and friends 🙏🙏🙏
From a 1972 Classmate.
Tascosa High School
February 12, 2020
Dear Ones, we are saddened to learn of Ralph’s passing... Please know that all three of us send our condolences at this time. We love our shared memories & feel blessed to have had that time together. We will be keeping y’all in our thoughts & prayers in the days to come.
Linda Lundquist Cowan
February 11, 2020
My cousin Ralf was the ring bearer at our Aunt Lucille's wedding. Our cousin Karen and I were the flower girls. There is a picture somewhere of us and Ralf with Aunt Lucille with Ralf in his little white suit. Even tho we lived in Oklahoma I have a lot of wonderful memories of the time spent with our cousins in Amarillo. Even if I have not talked with him for a while I will keep Ralf, Donna and his children and grandchildren in my prayers