Brian Bothe, known as the compassionate doctor, made his last undignified and largely irreverent gesture on June 6, 2021 – signing off on a life well-lived with few regrets. When Brian spent his last weekend away with his wife, Barbara, he had no idea this would be their last weekend together. If he had, Brian would have no doubt spent more time watching his favorite Pink Panther movies.
God knew the world needed more laughter, so Brian was born. Born to the late Michael Bothe
and Jean Elizabeth Simpson on September 19, 1952. Being the first son to a family with a soon-to-follow girl, Kathy, shaped Brian’s formative years and resulted in a lifetime of caring for and loving people, mischief, and an irreverent sense of humor. Being the eldest was a dubious task, but he was up for the challenge.
Needing to make money, Brian started his long and illustrious work journey. His various careers included driving a moving van and later a logging truck on the back, barely-roads of Canada. He then tried his hand at being an orderly, a watchman, and a security guard – as well as binding books and chipping ice off sidewalks before school at 4 in the morning. As Brian would say…all these let him know what he did not want to do and directed him towards what he did want to be — a physician.
Brian graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1979. He did not want to be just any physician, though. His passion for people was in chronic pain and opioid addiction. Already board certified in Physical Medicine, at the age of 65 he became board certified in Addiction Medicine. If you were to listen to Brian talking to his patient, you would understand his love for his patient. Humbly Brian would say, “I sit down, and God takes over.”
Among the many things he enjoyed was being the first choice to emcee at church and community get-togethers – this honor goes back to his high school days and, ultimately, he was president of the Skyland Toastmasters.
Brian enjoyed music with Barbara, from singing in the shower, to touring in the Southeast with the Celestial Praise, a touring choir, to the frogs and crickets warming their throats and providing the soundtrack for the lightning bugs’ performance on their deck. Along with his wife, sidekick, and wing-woman for 41 all-too-short years, Barbara Iles Bothe, he enjoyed camping, great food, and turning friends into family. Growing up in Brian’s household was never dull. And, if the old adage of laughter being the best medicine holds true, his two children were well-loved.
Left to carry on his love of laughter is his son David Bothe and daughter Whitney Bothe Wilson. Ashton Wilson never was an “in-law” because Brian considered him a son. Brian relished his role as a “middle-aged” grandfather, GaGa, to Eowyn Avery Rose Wilson. Left with decades of fond and colorful memories are his sibling Kathy, his siblings-in-law Avery Dale Iles and Carol, and David Walton Iles and Sandra. Brian was a fond uncle to Angela Sauder, Michael Sauder, Jeremy Iles, Joshua Iles, Chelsea Iles Deems, Emily Smith, and Robert Townsend. To this day, we do not know how many kids Brian and Barbara really have because they “adopt” every kid who enters their home – who affectionately referred to him as Padre.
Seriously, what would have made him happiest is for everyone to come to his home and play cards with his family around him. Instead, Brian faced his death and mortality – just as he did with in life – face on, with a promise to see Barbara on the other side.
With Brian’s passion focused on getting at the roots of substance abuse and making generational change, it is the wishes of his family to celebrate this passion for chronic pain and opioid-addicted patients and join the many patients who listed him as the Top Physician in his field and honor Brian’s life with a donation to the SPARC Foundation instead of flowers.
Family Centered Treatment Recovery serves families in Western North Carolina who are experiencing parental substance misuse that impacts the family’s ability to stay together. The goal is to keep families together through treatment that serves the entire family. Reuniting children with their parents requires innovative treatment strategies, resilient families willing to do the work, and a healthy dose of hope.
Donations supporting this program can be made to the SPARC Foundation. Please write FCTR in the memo line.
225 E Chestnut St
Asheville, NC 2880
To learn more about the SPARC Foundation Family Centered Treatment Recovery, click here.