BARBARA GOETZ WINDOM 1934-2017 Barbara Goetz Windom, a breeder of championship Peruvian Paso horses and accomplished equestrienne passed away unexpectedly in Duncan, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of Edith Mayer Goetz and Hollywood film producer William Goetz; and the granddaughter of MGM founder and studio head Louis B. Mayer. At the encouragement of her parents and grandfather; both owners of champion thoroughbreds; Barbara was put atop a horse at the age of one; her family hoping it would prove a distraction from the Hollywood spotlight. She took jumping lessons alongside Elizabeth Taylor when the young actress was preparing for “National Velvet” and it led to a life-long equine passion. Born September 14, 1934, she was in her eighth decade of riding when she took ill at a competition in Oklahoma, and passed away shortly afterwards; surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues who shared her passion for her beloved Peruvian horses. Barbara lived the first part of her life in Los Angeles where she raised three daughters by herself while having a very successful 30-year career as an interior designer; she was highly respected in the Los Angeles Interiors community. But the call of the horses was never far away In 1989 she moved to New Mexico with her long-time partner and companion, the poet Victor di Suvero and soon after, purchased the historic ranch (La Villita), La Estancia Alegre in Alcalde. While in Los Angeles, she read an article about the Peruvian Paso horse, and was inspired, clipping the story and keeping it for future reference. Her real estate agent in New Mexico happened to have a sister who owned Peruvian horses; Barbara rode one for the first time there and fell in love with the rare South American breed that was practically extinct in the United States. Barbara helped preserve the equine history of Peru by firmly establishing the Paso in America and strengthening the bloodlines – turning La Estancia Alegre into one of the premier Paso breeding and training operations in the country. Over the years, La Estancia Alegre won thousands of awards and championships. Her legacy will be remembered, always. Barbara is survived by daughters Maggie Clare (Gary) of New York City, Debora Clare (Ron) of Alcalde, New Mexico, Rachel Windom Stengel (Todd) of San Rafael, and granddaughters Julia Stengel and Catherine Stengel. She is also survived by her beloved niece Victoria Shepherd Bleeden, and nephews Scott Shepherd and Tony Shepherd. Sister Judith Goetz Shepherd predeceased her. In the early 60’s Barbara was married to the late actor William Windom, and they had one daughter together, Rachel. Barbara’s family extended to those who worked with her for over two decades at her historic ranch in Northern New Mexico. She will be missed deeply by a wide circle of friends and colleagues who shared her passion for her horses, and were enriched by her generosity and the beauty she created everywhere. A tribute Fiesta will be announced at a future date. In lieu of flowers, contributions would be gratefully accepted in her honor to sponsor classes for her June horseshow in Las Vegas, the Gold Rush Classic, or her beloved charities in New Mexico; Assistance Dogs of the West, or the Espanola Animal Shelter.
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on June 4, 2017