Sunday, March 02, 2008



Dorothy Isabella Hecox, 91, passed away Feb. 6, 2008, at the Sublette Center in Pinedale. She was born May 19, 1916, in Rock Springs, Wyo., to Alex Stoddard Logan and Myrtle Mary Williams. Dorothy spent her younger years growing up in and around Rock Springs. She married Richard Hecox on June 30, 1934, in Manilla, Utah. He brought her back to Kendall Valley and started building their home on the hill in 1936. She resided there until the last five months.

Richard and Dorothy had three children, Betty Lou, Dick and Donna. They owned a lot of land in the Kendall Valley and ranched until Richard’s health went bad. Besides being a rancher’s wife, she cooked for fire crews and hunting camps, taught school, carried the mail and volunteered for years with the Forest Service as a campground host. Dorothy belonged to Sublette County Extension Homemakers, where she was awarded Homemaker of the Year in 1987, granted the Quealy Award for Outstanding Achievement in extension work. She taught 4-H for several years and helped at the county fair. She was a 50-plus year member of Pinedale Order of Eastern Star. She served as Worthy Matron with Richard and was past president of the Past Matrons Club. She and Richard helped organize the first Jobs Daughter Bethel in Pinedale. Dorothy was past president of the VFW Auxiliary #4801, past president of Southwest District VFW, a member of the Sublette County Historical Society and lifetime member of the Green River Cattlemen’s Association.

She loved the outdoors. She was most happy taking walks and drives, looking for arrowheads and driftwood, crafting of all sorts, painting, knitting, crocheting and bird watching. Dorothy loved spending time with family. She loved having her grandkids and great-grandkids come visit to make crafts, cookies, go picnicking, camping and hiking, and sledding on the hill.

She is survived by her daughter, Betty Lou; six grandchildren LaDonna McLoughlin, Jim (Sandra) McLoughlin, Cindy (Justin) Jones, Disney Brunette, Lori Moore and Festus (Christi) Krause; 10 great-grandchildren, Ryan McGuire, Andrea and Casey Jones, Isabelle McLoughlin, Kendall and Jake Brunette, Sage Trehearne, Brittney Givens, Jamie Jo Moore, Cora Krause; and one great-great-grandchild, Mae McGuire. She was preceded in death by her parents; three brothers; two sisters; husband, Richard; son, Dick; daughter, Donna; and son-in-law, Melvin McLoughlin.

Mom and Dorothy, 2004

Obituaries paint a relatively bland portrait of a life. It's like reading the recipe but never really knowing the intense delight of apple pie. Dorothy was a tiny person with an enormous personality, an unassuming person who lived a remarkable life. And I only knew her in her later years (and my early years) as a kindly, spunky, unusual woman who lived in what still passes for paradise in my dreams.

Dorothy kept my infant mother in an apple crate behind the stove (where she was warm and out of the way) while Mom's parents led pack trips into the mountains. She delivered mail in the idyllic Green River Valley on cross country skis in the winter, and probably by dog sled, too. Mom and I pulled up her gravel driveway one afternoon a few years ago and found her, nearly 90, killing bats in the yard with a tennis racket. Growing up, I measured my height by our annual pilgrimages to her house; I passed her up at age 10 or 11, I think.

Except in the den full of stuffed game (bagged by her late husband, Richard), the ceilings in her rambling log house were low, and the counters and sinks were low. Everything about that house was perfect in my eyes. I loved the picture window on the west wall of the den, adjacent to the huge stone fireplace. (In the nooks and crannies between the jagged rocks Dorothy had glued tiny plastic animals: raccoons, wolves, cats, rabbits, donkeys. I longed to play with them but had to be content to just look.) The window looks out on the pastoral splendor of the Kendall Valley, down on her daughter Donnie's red log home below, on the corrals and sagebrush meadows and mountains beyond. She kept a pair of binoculars on the windowsill, and at any given moment there was always wildlife to peer at, bald eagles or a moose, badgers, chipmunks, meadowlarks, frogs and garter snakes.

There was a metal swing set between the pines in the yard and a foot bridge over a ditch behind the house led to a trail that wound around a beaver pond, along a creek and through a sagebrush meadow. The path followed a river into the forest and ended at the ruins of a trapper's lean-to that absolutely captivated me. Blue jays and chickadees feasted in bird feeders in the yard and horses waited at the fence for small hands to offer sugar cubes or an apple. Her grandson Festus will live in the house now, but I may never be able to bring myself to visit for fear the place will be changed.

I am so hellbent on charging off into a future elsewhere that I haven't been able to stop and consider how many chapters have closed in the past few years. The fabric of my family has changed more than I ever though possible, Wyoming has changed, I've changed. But I have proven to be very good at remembering people and places and things. Toys I haven't played with in 25 years. People I wouldn't recognize on the street because they've grown up or grown old. Places that caught my fancy when I was three feet tall. I don't always get all the details right, but I have Mom and Morgan for that. We remember surprisingly different details about the same events and locations from decades ago.

Napa. Prescott. Olympia. Durango. Nobody's calling yet, but that's OK. The snow is melting, and even though I know it's still way off, spring is coming. That makes this tolerable. I can take my time. There are adventures on the way. There's conspiracy and intrigue. There's also laundry, and grocery shopping and vacuuming, but a girl can't escape those things. Unless, of course, she takes a road trip. And that, friends, is just what the doctor ordered.


Blogger mister anchovy said...

lovely post!

March 3, 2008 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger A said...

Thank you! And where am I going to be able to get my hands on a copy of the new and coveted Squeeze Box Dogs release?

March 3, 2008 at 5:35 PM  

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