Dr. Robert Marion Lofton

“Many times people are asked at some time in their career if they would do it all over again.  Without a doubt, I would do it again, because it’s been the most wonderful and rewarding career that anybody could ever ask for.”  

Robert L. Lofton, DVM January 26, 2000
              Lake Charles American-Press

Everything that Dr. Lofton did, he did with a sense of purpose and mission.  He walked briskly and in straight lines, he spoke directly, and he expressed his thoughts clearly.  At the same time, everything he did was carefully considered and well planned.  He loved life, he loved his family, and he loved his Lord.  He loved being a veterinarian, and he was particularly proud of being an Auburn veterinarian.  Soon after he retired from his work at Auburn, he brought a book to my office, written by Tony Dungy, titled “The Soul of a Team.”  The book carried a simple message:  Great teams are unified by a sense of purpose and led by devoted leaders.  Dr. Robert Lofton was certainly a purposeful and passionate leader.  He was also a dedicated team member.  I will always strive to emulate his style of servant leadership.  Every day I am thankful for Robert’s life.

Dean Calvin Johnson 
Class of 1986

I was lucky enough to have Dr. Lofton at two different periods in my veterinary career. The first time we had him as a teacher was through our physical diagnosis class our second semester of our first year. We all had no idea what we were doing or where to even begin with a physical exam. He was always so patient with us and had plentiful stories of practice. I also was fortunate to have him on my community practice rotation my senior year. It was amazing to see the connections that he could make with clients instantly. He was honestly one of my favorite teachers and veterinarians that I have ever worked with.

Joy Waldrop
Class of 2017

I met Bob when he joined the AUCVM in Community Practice. He worked very hard in elevating that portion of our Teaching Hospital and was very dedicated to providing a real world learning environment for our students.  I enjoyed working with him on his community practice cases consulting with him on the radiology and CT aspects. He was also the primary care veterinarian for our 2 white German shepherds and was very patient with both the “good” son and the “bad” son.

I have shared with Lela before that I very much appreciated his advice and help while I was Interim Hospital Director in setting up the Auburn Veterinary Specialists, Gulf Shores referral hospital.  I got to know and appreciate him during our conversations on the drives down to Gulf Shores from Auburn during the set-up time right before that hospital opened. Lela also pitched in and was a great help with the initial organization of the supplies, etc. of hospital.

I felt that our College was very fortunate that Bob and Lela moved back to the Auburn-Opelika area when they retired from practice in Louisiana and that Bob joined Community Practice. I always knew him to be high energy, very positive, and pro Auburn all the time. I certainly will miss that!

John Hathcock
Class of 1976

As I got to know Robert, it became so apparent what a uniquely fine veterinarian and gentleman he was.  As we served on a student debt committee together it became so obvious how dearly he cared for the veterinary students of our college . He served as a mentor to many, a Christian witness for some and a friend to all.

Robert, you are missed by us all

Dale Eckert
Class of 1977

Veterinary medicine and the Auburn community has lost a great ambassador with the loss of Robert.  More importantly, his devoted family will miss this special man.  I had the privilege of working with Robert in our work in AAHA.  I came to know him to be a tireless, unselfish worker.  My wife Alice and I very much enjoyed meeting with Lela and Robert.  It was apparent that they were a loving, caring couple that gave generously to their community and his staff.  I do not know of a better model for Auburn students than Robert.  He will be missed and remembered with respect and affection.  With Sympathy and Love, Alice and Ray Lazenby

Ray Lazenby
Class of 1979

Rob and I first met when I was a freshman and he was a senior in veterinary school.  From the outset Rob was so warm and engaging it felt like I had known him for years.  Our lives crossed again some years later beginning as volunteer member representatives of the American Animal Hospital Association.  Both of us continued to serve AAHA for many years advancing up the leadership.  Robert became chair of AAHA’s Audit Control Committee, and served on the Standards Enhancement Task Force, a four-year project charged with rewriting the backbone of AAHA, which are the standards.  These two committees are two of the most important in the existence of AAHA and whenever exactness and a one hundred percent commitment are required, Rob was always included.  Additionally, he also served on the Board of Directors of AAHA.

The way Rob lived his life professionally and personally defines all the good about America and life.  He lived life to the fullest and was always committed to giving back to others.  His death is certainly a loss of someone special who touched so many lives with an ever-gentle manner.  Personally, I hope those that knew him will reflect on this dear man.

Dennis Feinberg
Class of 1975

Dr. Lofton gained my respect by how he treated those around him.  He and I shared a love for Auburn and veterinary medicine.  I remember when I accepted a job out of my residency at LSU that I ran into him in Tiger stadium.  I was just one week on the job and missing my family at Auburn.  He immediately recognized me and came over with his wife to visit before the game began.  I appreciated his warm and wise words on starting a new chapter in Louisiana.  He always asked my dad about me when they saw each other at church in Opelika.  I am saddened by the loss of a great Auburn man.  He had a tremendous impact on my life by the kindness and respect he always showed me.  I know Auburn and this world are a better place for knowing Dr. Robert Larson.  I want to thank his family for sharing him with us at Auburn.  The time we had will always be cherished.

Chance Armstrong
Class of 2010

I’m the Purchasing Coordinator for the AU Teaching Hospitals, so I was familiar with who Dr. Lofton was. My first meeting with him was in the Community Practice suite when I had to bring my 100 Lb. lab mix to work with me to be checked out for I don’t remember what. I saw this small, mild mannered man walk in the room. I warned Dr. Lofton that Lolo could be aggressive in uncertain situations. He said, “That’s not a problem.” About that time Lolo swung her head around to snap at him and he had her snatched up the the nape of her neck before I knew what had happened.  I calmly said, “I guess you’ve done this a few times.” He said, “Yes, a few,” and we both laughed.

I got a sense of his caring and compassion when my niece, who was applying to vet school at AU and LSU asked if I could arrange a meeting with him so she could get some advice and wisdom from someone who’d been there and done that.  He graciously agreed to meet with her at our CVM Open House.  She, my sister and I all sat listening to him tell her what she needed to do and how to approach everything when applying.  He told her that if she didn’t get in the first time, keep trying and working toward that goal.  She did and she’s now in her second year at LSU and loves it. 

Losing Dr. Lofton was a great loss for everyone. He will be fondly remembered and loved for the Godly man that he was and the lives that he changed while on this earth.

Deborah Dorman

Robert was the most energetic president we ever had at Alpha Psi. He set a goal during his presidency to air condition the house. He single handedly set that goal and we had air conditioning the next year.

William Berry
Class of 1975

Dr. Lofton taught me on the Community Practice rotation during my fourth-year rotations in 2015. He was a great mentor and an excellent example of how to practice veterinary medicine. During one of our cases, he asked me to list all the reasons why cats could present with vomiting. I listed all the medical reasons I could. After about 10 different causes he complimented me on my exhaustive list but informed me I had left one out. When I asked him which reason, he said, “Just because! For no reason at all, Jeb!”  We shared a long laugh afterwards. I still tell that story to my clients and their vomiting cats to this day.

I’m forever grateful for his guidance and sense of human. He will be greatly missed.

Jeb Sexton
Class of 2015

I met Dr. Lofton on my community practice (CP) rotation in 2015, during my clinical year of vet school. I then had the pleasure of becoming his colleague when he asked me to work with the CP service in 2017. Out of deep respect, I could never call him Robert. He will always be “doc” or Dr. Lofton to me! He knew I couldn’t thank him enough for the best job I’ve ever had and probably will ever have. As a student and colleague, I quite enjoyed learning from him! His practicality, efficient skillset, and client communication were a few things that made a large impression on my career. Clients loved him! His most loyal clients were sure to bring his favorite treats, a diet Coke and Snickers bar, to their appointments. These were valuable additions to his lunch or snack breaks throughout the day. We liked to eat on the fly, so we could help more pets, but get home to our families on time. Dr. Lofton always said “lunch is not a priority, but going home at five is!” I use that quote to this day. “Get your skates on!”, he used to say when we knew we had a busy day coming up. I use that one on the daily, too. I sure did miss him when he officially retired from the AUCVM, but nothing meant more to me than the day I had my first appointment with his beloved Grace. He chose me to be his veterinarian. I was beyond honored and so so happy that he had such faith in my medicine. Dr. Lofton had mounds to do with who I am as a veterinarian and person today. I love him and miss him dearly, but I know we will see him again one day. He loved his God, and God loved him most.

Emily Auringer Adesso
Class of 2016

Robert was very instrumental in assisting me recruit my latest two associates (one of which is now a partner).Both were influenced by his mentorship while students at Auburn so it is likely his influence will be associated at our hospital for many years.

Carr Hyatt
Class of 1970

I never had the privilege of working side by side with Dr Lofton in a clinical setting but did serve with him on several committees at the veterinary school over the last few years.  I was impressed by several things.  Immediately noticeable was his love of veterinary medicine and his love for and dedication to Auburn.  He was a true Auburn man and lived by the Auburn Creed.  He was a hard worker, always wanted to do the right thing and exhibited impeccable integrity.  He always had wise thoughts when decisions were being made in the committees we served on.  When he gave his opinion about something, I would definitely perk up and listen, because I knew he would be interjecting wisdom.  Lastly, I really appreciate his influence in improving our annual conference continuing education.  He played a major role in making it much more practical and useful for practicing veterinarians.  He will be sorely missed by everyone

Richard Thompson
Class of 78

Robert was the first classmate i met in April 1968 walking up to the Alpha Psi house before starting our first year in August.We would share many walks to the Alpha Psi house from our classes on campus, football games at Jordan-Hare, basketball at the colliseum arena finally from our years at the large and small animal clinics. Veterinary school gave me unforgettable moments with Robert. we share fraternity house rooms and a house trailer creating great memories I reflect on the days of Auburn student government, People’s Choice softball team, Tallapoosa River tubing and hours spent at the Alpha Psi house and campus promoting the Alpha Psi Round-Up. It was a true honor to be part of Robert and Lela’s wedding. Through the years conversations and visits always made you feel good and smile. A very good man and person and my travels along life’s path is much better because of him. God Bless and take care..  charly beauchamp

charles beauchamp
Class of 1972

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts about my former classmate Dr. Robert Lofton.

Because we were in different groups during vet school, our friendship was very casual. However, I remember Robert always being very friendly, and he was always regarded as one of the top students in our class.

Several years after graduation, and we were both practicing, I met a family who’d moved to our town from Louisiana. It was obvious he’d been an important influence in their lives. They wasted no time asking me if I knew Dr. Lofton. When I said yes and explained we were classmates, they shared how well he took care of their pets, of course.

What impressed me most was their explanation of his role as their Sunday school teacher. Obviously, he taught the Bible very well, and they learned a lot from him.  Clearly, the relationship he developed with this family also made a lasting impression. Of Course, I knew he was a good veterinarian. But his spiritual role in these lives, and I’m sure many others, is a significant encouragement to me.

I’m happy knowing we’ll meet again in Heaven one day, and I hope there won’t be any “groups” to keep us from spending more time together.

Steve Pearson
Class of 1972

“Put your skates on tomorrow, we will be busy”

“I will give you my opinion, for a dollar and Coca-Cola”

“Place a bow on that service, show them you care”

Robert M Lofton DVM

In early 2015, I applied for the Assistant Clinical Professor position with the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, more specifically in the community practice service.  I had a good bit of experience and thought I would be a strong Veterinarian for the service.  While researching the job, I noticed that the veterinarian on staff was Dr. Robert Lofton, a graduate of 1972.  In his biography online, it mentioned, he was a practice owner and enjoyed preparing students for practice.  I figured he was just an average practitioner, maybe needing to work until he had enough for retirement.  My interview process lasted two days, and I spent some time with him and learned a bit more about who he was and what he was about.  It was quite evident after our introduction that I would not be the strongest veterinarian on the service.

One of the first observations was that Dr. Lofton was a seasoned and wise practitioner, current on timely medicine topics.  After just a few hours with him, I was sure he had seen just about everything out there, he was up to date with conditions and treatments, and he was teaching me things I didn’t know.  The other thing I noticed; he was beloved by his clients.  Once they met him, they trusted him quickly with the care of the animals.  With little effort, he “ran the clinic” that day by himself, seeing patients with students, teaching and caring for animals.  He gained my respect immediately.

Later that night, I thought to myself, “wow” who is this guy?  Later we would eat dinner together to discuss the position, and so forth.  On that one day, I felt as if I knew Dr. Lofton all my life.  He was so kind, paternal, and genuine.  He would go on to tell me, how he and his wife Lela owned a successful practice in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  They would eventually sell the practice and relocate to Opelika (Lela’s home) close to family and friends.  At that time, Lela’s mother was approaching her late nineties.  Their move allowed them to spend precious time with her.  One time, he told me he was walking with Lela’s mother in the backyard on an Easter weekend, she said “Bob, do I have enough money to continue staying in the retirement home?” He chuckled, and said, “Yes, mam, you do, but once you get to one-hundred we will have to send you back to work!”  Robert’s mother was still alive at the time in Louisiana, during my time with him, it was not uncommon for Bob and Lela to make trips back and forth to make sure their family was taken care of.  There was no doubt how important family was to Robert.

Later, I would learn about their son Jesse.  He would eventually relocate to the Opelika area and enroll in school.  Robert was so proud of him and his completion and license as a first responder and paramedic.

I was fortunate to be asked to join the staff at Auburn University and would work closely with Dr. Lofton from July 2015 to his retirement in April 2018.  I could not have asked for a better mentor.  Dr. Lofton had endless energy and passion for everything he did.  He loved his faith, family, and profession.  He honestly ran circles around me at the clinic.  I could not keep up with him.  I would tell my wife at the end of the day, I can’t believe this guy, he sees twice as many cases as I do, does all the procedures, and is done before me at the end of the day.  I was so exhausted working with him, my wife noticed I was snoring loudly at night.  She would ask me when did that start for you?  My answer, when I started at Auburn, it’s the ‘Lofton” effect!

I look back and feel so blessed to have worked with such a person.  My only regret is that my time with him was not enough. 

Dr. Lofton would preach to our students every rotation.  “If I could do anything for you, I would open up that head and pour self-confidence right into you”.  He would end with his thoughts of traits that made a great practitioner.

“A keen sense of observation”

“Desire to be a lifelong learner”

“The power of communication”

“Passion for Veterinary Medicine”

Christopher R Lea DVM, DABVP (canine & feline)
Class of 1999