Never forgotten

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Postings previous to those below are here.

See more previous postings on our page of Respects.


Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, obtain permission for reproduction rights


  Barbara Jean Franks Nelson, 1928-2011

Our condolences to Andy Nelson and Jim Nelson and their families on the death of Andy and Jim's mother, Barbara Jean Franks Nelson, on May 5, 2011.

Andy Nelson shared a poem written for his mother's funeral service:

(In Memory of Barbara Jean Franks Nelson)

She is the tie that binds our family,
It is she that keeps us together;
She is the vessel that carried our water,
That quenched us in furious weather.

When the gales of turmoil tossed our boats,
It was she that calmed the storm;
She stayed the hand of those who threatened,
It was she who kept us all warm.

She is the thread that patched the holes
When our lives came unraveled;
She is the compass that guided our way,
When unbeaten paths were traveled.

She is the beacon that brought us all home,
After wandering far from the fold;
She is the fire that stirred our conscience,
When left out too long in the cold.

She is the ointment that healed our souls,
When scraped and bruised by choices;
Hers was the counsel we heard in the desert,
When tempted by sinister voices.

She is the lady who brought us to earth,
It is because of her and no other;
She is the reason we are who we are,
Our matriarch, our life, our Mother.

© 2011, Andy Nelson

From her obituary:

Barbara Jean Franks Nelson was born to John E. and Therma Franks of Oakley, Idaho, and passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 5, 2011, in Layton, Utah.

Barbara graduated from Oakley High School and married James F. Walker Nelson on Dec. 31, 1952, and together they raised their family in the Oakley valley. After their children were all in school, Barbara attended nursing school and spent most of her nursing career working as an emergency room nurse at Cassia Memorial Hospital. She is a return missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having served in the Alabama Birmingham Mission. She continued to be a faithful and obedient daughter, having felt the loving arms of our Savior throughout her life. When asked to describe the best day of her life, she answered without hesitation, the day she received her temple endowment.

She is survived by six children, 19 grandchildren, and 28 great-grandchildren.

A service was held May 11 in Oakley. Find a guest book with many loving and admiring comments at

The photo above is from a Picture the West entry here that Andy shared in 2006.

Posted 12/5

Harry Jackson, 1924-2011

Acclaimed artist, former cowboy, and noted singer and reciter Harry Jackson died Monday, April 25, 2011 in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Born in Chicago in 1924, Harry Jackson is said to have been first exposed to cowboy songs by a former cowboy who was working at the Chicago Stockyards. He took off for Wyoming after being thrown out of his first year of high school, and worked on ranches there and learned many cowboy songs and poems from old hands. The liner notes from a 1959 album of his work, The Cowboy: His Songs, Ballads and Brag Talk, in this downloadable .pdf file from Smithsonian Folkways tell more about his life. He later studied art and became recognized internationally for his paintings and bronze sculptures. He had a gallery in Cody, and had been living for much of the year in Italy.

Harry Jackson lent his recitation of "Cowboy Brag Talk" for The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 5.

An April 26, 2011 article here in the Billings Gazette tells, "Jackson rose to fame as a combat artist with the Marine Corps during World War II. His work evolved over time and now hangs in New York's Metropolitan Museum and the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C...The Vatican and Queen Elizabeth II are also said to hold his work in their private collections."

Find a fascinating interview with a sometimes cantankerous Harry Jackson about his combat art and later work, his mob family, six wives, his close friend John Wayne, and a bit of cowboying in a video here at Wyoming Chronicles (at 8:13).

Harry Jackson performs Curley Fletcher's "The Pot Wrassler" in a YouTube recording here.

The New York Times has an April 28, 2011 article here, and there is an interesting blog entry here.

[Thanks to Jeri Dobrowski for the first news.]

Updated 1/23/12

   Locke Hamilton, died April 8, 2011

Locke Hamilton of The Prickly Pair ( died April 8, 2011.

In February, 2011, Jim and Andy Nelson of Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio, who are conducting a stay-at-home benefit, wrote, "Our good friend and extremely talented musician Locke Hamilton is having heart problems and has also had surgery to remove a cancerous growth on her tongue." Read more about ongoing benefits for medical expenses above.

On learning of her death, her friend Rex Rideout wrote, "Locke's gift was her music and we are grateful for her time with us."

Additional information will be posted as it is received.

Posted 4/11

Wayne Richardson, 1948-2011

Jane Morton sent news of the accidental death of singer and horseman Wayne Richardson of Apache Junction, Arizona, March 14, 2011.

There is a YouTube tribute to Wayne Richardson here, singing "Cow Creek," a song written by his grandfather, Jake Powell, that includes many photos. There is an obituary here.

Posted 3/21

  Tom Munn, 1944-2011

Peggy Malone sent news of the death of Colorado cowboy and poet Tom Munn. Peggy wrote, "We shared a lot of stages together in the past...and it was Tom who got me connected with singing for the Disabled Vets up in Snowmass every year for their 'Marine's Night Out' held during the Winter Sports Week for Disabled Vets)."

Among the memorials planned by friends, one will be held March 17, 2011 in Basalt, Colorado.

Tom Munn worked on the Vagneur ranch, and there is an article here by Tony Vagneur. He is mentioned in another article here.

UPDATED: Find an obituary here, where it states, "In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tom's name to the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, 2121 North Ave., Grand Junction, CO 81501, c/o Sandy Trombetta. It was an organization in which Tom was closely involved and dear to his heart."

Peggy Malone wrote this poem in memory of Tom Munn:

Tom Munn

He had a dog named Max...forever at his side
The day he put him down...he laid right down and cried
We all tried to help...but he never was the same
For he too was in poor health...Tom Munn was his name

He just could not go matter how he tried
This ranch hand cowboy poet had his share of pride
His body had slowed down...ranch work was hard to do
So on March 7th...he decided he was through

We'll miss his raw humor , that only Tom would dare
'bout lonely sheepherders...who didn't have a care
Fixin' fence and ditches, Tom lived the cowboy way
He put his life in verse, he had so much to say

The story that he painted, wrote with no regret
That team of work horses, you'd almost smell their sweat
He honored Chesty Puller, Marine tried and true
Who fought many wars, Korea and WW II

So, give a toast to Tom, speak kindly if you please
He left a part of him and many memories
Wish him greener pastures, where he can ride free rein
and work does not exist...and no one to complain

Where friendships are rekindled, coffee's always hot
Where horses are all gentle, have an easy trot
Grant him cozy campfires, where he can just relax
With his dog by his side, his old pal he called Max

© 2011, Peggy Malone
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Updated 3/31

Leroy Watts, photo courtesy of Mr. Watts  Leroy Watts, 1923-2011

With much sadness, we learned that Missouri cowboy poet Leroy Watts died on February 13, 2011. Leroy, one of the founders of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association, was one of the earliest poets at the BAR-D.

Jerry Schleicher sent the news:

Leroy Watts was a co-founder of the Missouri Cowboy Poets Association, and was a past chairman of the MCPA Board of Directors. He was born in Joplin, Missouri, in 1923, and served in the U.S. Army during WW II. Leroy and his wife, LaVern, lived in Durango, Colorado, in Arizona and in Kansas City before retiring to Verona, Missouri. Leroy worked as an engineer, and was noted for designing and crafting silver, gold and turquoise jewelry. He was widely known and respected as a cowboy poet, and performed at many cowboy poetry gatherings throughout the Midwest, High Plains and Southwestern U.S. Leroy was the author of Reminisin', a book of original poetic stories, four chapbooks, including The Closet Poet, Cowboy Talk, Ozark Filosofies, and Poems of Faith, and produced a tape recording of his poetry. He is survived by his wife, Lavern, and their daughter, Roxanna Watts and son L.W. Watts.

Steven Spalding shared a message from LaVern Watts:

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I must pass on to you sad news. Last evening Leroy's beautiful heart became too weary to continue. As you can imagine we are all in a state of shock and will pass on to you memorial plans as they are made.
Thank you for your support and prayers at this difficult time.
                                                                                               Lavern and family

The memorial plans were announced on February 15: Meet at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, Verona, MO (on Z Highway) at 12:00 pm Saturday, February 19 for lunch and visitation Service to follow at 1:30 in the sanctuary.

Find some of Leroy Watts' poetry hereJohnny Kendrick wrote this poem for Leroy Watts in 2001:

Keener Than a Briar

You could tell he'd punched some cattle by the way he sat his horse
Like an eagle on his perch, or a river in its course.
I was lookin' at the fences, 'cause we¹d just come on the place,
When he came up out of the draw, follerin' a new mama whiteface.
His sorrel was old, but fit, and seemed like he would know
Before the feller did, where he needed him to go.
He aimed him toward the fenceline, and as we shook across the wire,
He howdied, I said "How ya doin?" and he said "Keener than a briar."

An amusin' sort of feller, who had a certain way
Of sayin' things, and talkin', that I didn't get just right away.
But, after we had parted and I went on up a ways,
I got to thinkin' about his stories and the way he turned a phrase.
And I got to lookin' forward to us meetin' now and then.
Seemed like he¹d always have a story that'd leave me with a grin.
And it didn't seem to matter, night or day, he'd never tire,
And when I'd greet, he'd always say, "Why, I'm keener than a briar."

I'm sad to say, we left that place, and now I live in town.
I couldn't seem to make it pay, and the lawyers got us down.
It's easier, in lots of ways. Now, I don¹t ride no fence,
Or have no first-calf heifers, or bankers to convince.
Yet, some nights I get to thinkin', when the freeway traffic's died,
How good it'd be to catch a horse and take a mornin' ride
And hear a blackbird singin' on the pleasant springtime breeze,
And see the baby calves spread out underneath the trees.
And how the prairie night would glow, when we'd light the April fires,
And how, no matter what, he'd always say, it's "Keener than a briar."

For Leroy Watts

© 2001 Johnny Kendrick
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Johnny commented, when he sent this poem: Leroy Watts, now of Verona, Mo., is well known in cowboy poetry circles and one of the first real ones that I ran into several years ago. His unfailing response to a greeting was the basis for this poem.

Jerry Schleicher wrote about the memorial service:

 thought those of you who were unable to attend might be interested in hearing about Leroy Watt's memorial service in Verona, Mo., yesterday.

About sixty or seventy folks attended the service, including Leroy's wife, LaVern, their daughter, Roxanna, son L.W. and family from Denver, many members of the MCPA, members of the Verona Baptist Church, and a number of friends and neighbors, including two Mennonite (or Amish) couples. It was much more of a cowboy church service than a Baptist service, with cowboy boots and hats and string ties much in evidence.

Steven Spalding started things off by performing his original song, "Old Cowboys Never Die," followed by Ken Lorton, who recited one of Leroy's poems, "The Search." Donna Caruthers also read one of Leroy's poems, "The Sandpainter," and Laurel Dunlap read "Grandma Hubbarb" by Leroy. Jerry White read "Keener Than a Brier," a poem written a few years ago for and about Leroy by Johnny Kendrick. Jay Jones (a past-MCPA president) and his wife, Deb, drove down from Columbia, and Jay recited a poem he had written for Leroy. Other folks took turns speaking, including Leroy's son L.W., from Denver, who read two poems, one by Leroy, and one that had been a favorite of his father's. Another member of the church, Bob Brown, also presented a song. Reverend Conway delivered a brief non-denominational message, and the service closed with songs by Richard Dunlap and D.J. Fry. More than once, Leroy told me that he considered Richard Dunlap, who lost his father at an early age, as his "adopted son."

It was a very touching tribute to a much loved and respected cowboy poet and co-founder of the MCPA. Leroy's faith in God ran deep, and he was a friend to everyone he met. As Reverend Conway, the Baptist minister, said in closing, "This is the kind of service I want when the day comes that the Lord calls me to Heaven." As I think about it, it's exactly the kind of service I would prefer as well.

Updated 2/21

  Kathleen "Kay" Mary Puhallo, 1928-2011

Our condolences to Mike Puhallo and his family. Mike's mother, Kathleen "Kay" Mary Puhallo, died January 25, 2011.

Mike told us, "My mom has always been my biggest supporter, she has not missed the Provincial Winter Fair (stock show) in fifty-one years; she served 25 years as a 4-H leader; over 30 years as a Girl Guide leader; she has been involved with our Kamloops Cowboy Festival from the start. She missed cowboy Christmas this year because my sister and nieces took her to Hawaii in November.

"Her memorial service will be held Saturday, February 5, 2011, at 1 :00 PM at the Kamloops Funeral Home."

Mike shared the photo above, which was taken on that Hawaii trip by his sister, Pat Dessau.

Kay Puhallo is survived by her 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.

Find an obituary and more information here.

You can write to Mike and his family at: 8584 Westsyde Road; Kamloops, BC V2B 8S3; Canada.

Posted 2/2

  Sarah Eulalia (Stitt) Polk, 1922-2011

From Jerry Schleicher:

Jennie Cummings, organizer of Missouri's annual Mountain View Cowboy Poets Gathering, reports that co-organizer Sarah "Eulalia" Polk passed away on Jan. 2, 2011. Born March 24, 1922, Eulalia served as co-coordinator of the Mountain View Council of the Arts. For the past thirteen years, she organized the annual Christmas Craft Show, which generated matching funds to the Missouri Arts Council grant to help underwrite the annual Mountain View Cowboy Poets Gathering. Eulalia was an active member of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and the "Always Alert/Active" volunteer healthcare group that sewed baby quilts and sold them to provide Christmas presents for the residents of the Mountain View Nursing Facility. She and her husband, Bill, helped lead the effort to establish the Claude Treman Senior Citizen Center, and in 2007 Eulalia received "Volunteer of the Year" recognition by the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce.

In Jennie Cummings' words, "Eulalia made a difference in everything she did. She was a great people-person, a public relations jewel!" All of us who had the opportunity to meet Eulalia as performers at the Mountain View Gathering will miss her.

Find an obituary here that states, "Eulalia lived by the philosophy, 'If you don’t like it, do something about it. If you can’t do something about it, then move on. Don’t worry about it or sit and complain.' She lived that philosophy and was always involved in doing what she could to improve her community."

[photo courtesy of Jennie Cummings]

Updated 2/2

  Lee Jacobsen, 1910-2010

Paul Kern sent the news of the death of Lee Jacobsen of Idaho Falls, Idaho, age 100, on December 31, 2010. Paul writes, in part:

Lee was a second father to me and one of my cowboy mentors through the years. He was pure cowboy, having worked on the famous Railroad Ranch in Island Park, Idaho. He later was able to a put together a ranch of his own, the Rafter J Bar. As time moved on, Lee sold me a portion of the Rafter J Bar when he could no longer keep it. I also have one of Lee's cutting horses in my herd as well as a custom slick-fork saddle that was once his. 

There is a photo and obituary here, which tells, "Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at Wood Funeral Home, 273 N. Ridge Ave. The family will visit with friends from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, prior to the services at the funeral home. Burial will be in Grant Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to the family online at"

Paul shared photos (including the one above) and a story about Lee Jacobsen in Picture the West here in June, 2007. Paul's Art Spur poem, "I'll Just Have to Pay Myself," was based on a story told to him by Lee Jacobsen.

Paul also sent this poem he wrote about the last time he saw Lee:

So Long—So Long Lee

Lee, wake up—he was nappin’ in the fall,
Say who? It’s me Lee, you knowPaul.

Hell, I reckon I’ll be 100 next January 8th.
Just a few more months now, d’ya think He’ll wait?

My mother doesn’t even know me now,
I’ve been away too long.

She lives here in town you know,
I’d like to see her, but she don’t know me now.

Where’s your Dad? I’ve been waitin’ for his call.
He passed away Lee, passed away last fall.

You know we was friends and had done it all,
Best friend I ever hadYou say he’s gone now Paul?

The Good Lord has a way of calling us back,
So yer Daddy’s gone now, did you just say that?

Yeacancer Lee, last fall in Colorado,
My Dad died in my arms, cancer too so long ago.

Hey Lee, remember your buckskin paint?
Sure you do, remember when he wouldn’t wait?

I have him in the trailer out frontwant to see?
You bet I doget that walker here in front of me.

Help me up a bita little starched up you see,
Stiffed up in these remanufactured knees.

Hold the door now thereI’m good to go,
Hold my arm now, don’t let my walker roll.

Well hello Indymy what a good horse you was,
You know Paul, horses are in my blood.

Lee, I’ll help you on if you’d like.
Not now but another day I might.

Best get back inside, I’ll be late for grub,
Damnit’s good to see you.

Thanks for comin’ and come back again.
You knowI’ve been blessed to have good friends.

Me too Lee. So longSo long Lee.

© 2010, Paul Kern
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission


Paul adds, "Lee's funeral will be held on January 8th which would have been his 101st birthday."

Posted 1/4

Gene Snider, 1927-2010

We were saddened to learn of the death of Gene Snider, father of Oklahoma rancher and poet Jay Snider, on December 12, 2010.

Jay had shared several photos of his father in Picture the West, including here, which includes this photo of Gene Snider and his wife Lois:

Jay had written, in part, that the photo was of his mother and father "....with 7 of the 9 saddles he won through the years in the Senior Pro Rodeo Association and the National Old Time Ropers Association. His rodeo career began in the early 1940s and continued to rope steers up until the last couple of years. I'm sure he still can but prefers to coach his sons and grandsons from the chutes. That's a blessing in itself. I have never known a better horseman than he."

An obituary here tells of Gene Snider, "He was a member of Living Legends of Rodeo, National Old Timers Rodeo Association, a founding member of the Senior Pro Rodeo Association and the Cyril Roundup Club. He was also an International Rodeo Association cardholder. He won several championship saddles and buckles and loved rodeo as a family sport."

Jay Snider's apt poem is included in the obituary:

Of  Horses and Men

It's been told of good horses lost
In simple words that cowboys use
He dern sure was a good one
He's the kind you hate to lose

He's the kind you could depend on
In the river and the breaks
In rough country and wild cattle
He'd be the one you'd take

His efforts weren't ruled by stature
With him you'd finish what you'd start
His limits were governed only
By the dimension of his heart

His expectations were simple
Merely fairness from a friend
But when he'd feel the need to run
It's best not to fence him in

Pure poetry in motion
As across the plains he'd fly
A tried and true compadre
In a seasoned cowboy's eye

His courage was unmatched by mortal men
From conquistadors to kings
Cowboys sing his praises
At roundups in the spring

Ain't it strange how thoughts of horses lost
Mirror those of men passed on
And though they've gone to glory
Their spirit's never gone

Sometimes simple words seem best
When final words we choose
He dern sure was a good one
He's the kind you hate to lose

© 2003, Jay Snider             
These words may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Gene Snider is survived by his wife, three sisters, and six children and their families, which include twelve grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren.

Funeral Services for Gene Snider were held Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at the First Baptist Church in Cyril, Oklahoma. Chuck Milner preached at the service and Kevin Davis sang "Roundup in the Spring" for Mrs. Snider.

Updated 12/19

  Edna Jean Hornecker Irvine, 1920-2010

Jean Mathisen Haugen sent news of the death of her aunt, Edna Jean Hornecker Irvine. Jean has written much about her pioneering family; eight generations have ranched in Wyoming's Lander County. Jean writes about her aunt:

Although she was not a cowboy poet my aunt attended many cowboy poetry gatherings with me in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and several of the poets and musicians knew her. She was my eldest aunt, Edna Jean Hornecker Irvine (I was named for her) and she was born on March 4, 1920 on the old Hornecker home ranch, in the same cabin her father had been born in, in 1890 (I have written about the ranch before and a portion of it is still owned by my uncle, Don Hornecker and has been in the family since 1884).

She was known as Jean to her family and many friends and grew up in Lander, graduating from Fremont County Vocational High School in 1938. She married Kenneth C. "Tex" Irvine on June 24, 1939 (Tex was a talented guitar and fiddle player). Jean played the fiddle and she and her husband often played at the old time dances at the Grange Hall at Milford along with her parents John and Mary Hornecker (John played the fiddle and Mary the organ and piano), near Lander and at dances near the Winkleman Dome Oil Camp some 40 miles north of Lander in the 1940's. Tex died before cowboy poetry became widely popular (passing away in 1986), but he often recited the long poems written by Robert Service and others that he had learned in the one-room school he attended on Sage Creek on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Jean and Tex had 3 children—Duane (who passed away in 2000), Dudley and Mary Edna "Polly" Irvine Olson; 11 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 4 great-great grandchildren (our family is often known as the "third tribe" in Fremont County, Wyoming!) Jean worked for many years in the Fremont County Treasurer's Office and was a life-time member of the Fremont County Pioneer Association, the Fremont County Historical Society, Wyoming State Historical Society, and was a strong supporter and lover of cowboy poetry and western music. Her funeral will be in Lander on Monday, December 6,  2010 and she will be buried next to her husband at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Lander. She passed away at the age of 90 on November 30, 2010 at Lander, Wyoming.

Trail to Glory

Yes, she's gone and the wind will cry for her passing
from Lander Valley where she lived most of her life.
Daughter, sister, mother, aunt and great-great grandmother
and for 47 years Tex Irvine's wife.

She was the one to count on in times of trouble.
She was strong and good and faithful to the core.
Ninety years she saw here passing by her.
A good life lived and who could ask for more?

She raised her family across Wind River Valley,
lived in an oil camp and on the old home ranch

nearby the cabin that she grew up in,
beneath the big tree's ever spreading "family" branch.

There's a large gap left here now within our family,
and Jean's friends will miss her for a long time too.
May her new trail be a bright one going to glory,
where Heaven is a Wyoming sky of brilliant blue.

by Jean A. Mathisen Haugen, November 30, 2010

Posted 12/6

  Trisha Pedroia, 1951-2010

It is with the deepest sadness that we learned of the death of Trisha Pedroia on November 23, 2010. Trisha was an accomplished horsewoman, a loyal friend, an enthusiastic supporter of Western music and poetry, and an adventurous lover of life. She will be greatly missed by her many friends.

A news report on her accidental death is here.

Trisha's husband, the late Vince Pedroia, was a poet (see our feature here).

A celebration of Trisha Pedroia's life was held by her family and friends December 18, 2010.

A wonderfully written obituary appears here. In part, it tells:

....Trisha's interests were varied and passionate. She was a gifted equestrienne, and after 15 years of high-level show jumping competition, she left the ring for the pleasures of trail riding in western Sonoma County with her friends. She was the consummate music enthusiast, who thought nothing of driving many miles to attend live shows by singer-songwriters. She supported emerging artists and was a vocal advocate for those she admired. This passion took her on some of her greatest adventures riding music trains in Canada, Mexico and the Southwest, and backpacking on horseback deep into national parks with the artists, poets, musicians, and fellow fans who became an extension of her family. Trisha was a gifted photographer with a keen and sensitive eye. Her photographs of nature and family celebrations are part of her legacy. She won several ribbons at the Sonoma County Fair.....

Her friend Shelley Macdonald writes about Trisha Pedroia here in her blog ("....Take nothing for granted and live each day to the fullest as Trisha did. She went mid stride doing what she loved to do: working her ranch, riding her ponies, dancing and traveling....," as does Ken Rodgers in his blog, here ("....Trisha was vibrant and electric, energetic with her horses, her Sassy dog, her vineyard, her photography, her cowboy poetry and music, and with her friends, too....").

[photo by Shelley Macdonald]

Updated 12/18

Gary Lundblad, died November 11, 2010

Poet and songwriter Gary Lundblad of Corpus Christi, Texas, died in an vehicle accident near Dumas, Texas, on November 11, 2010. An article here from the Amarillo Globe News has an account of the accident.

We learned about Gary Lundblad's death from a Riders in the Sky posting on Twitter:

Shock and sadness in the bunkhouse today at the news of the tragic, sudden passing of Gary Lundblad, The Old Buckaroo. We saw Gary a couple weeks ago at a show in Wharton, TX, where he gave us copies of songs he'd written. We'll dedicate a song on tonight's Opry to Gary. Our sympathy and prayers go out to his family and loved ones.

On Gary Lundblad's Facebook page, it is noted that a memorial service is planned for Saturday, November 20, at 2pm, at Christ Point Church in Corpus Christi.

Gary Lundblad submitted poems during the earliest days of See those poems here.

Posted 11/15

Gordon Peterson, 1941-2010

  Keven Inman sent the sad news (via Arden Gailey and Bobbie Hunter) of the death of popular farrier, poet and long-time Alberta Cowboy Poets Association member and Cowboy Poets of Utah member and Secretary/Treasurer Gordon Peterson, who suffered a heart attack on October 26, 2010.

Keven writes, "...I just saw Gordon 9 days ago at the Six Rivers Gathering in Fruitland, Idaho. The Six Rivers organizers gave out 'Hall of Fame' awards to three men that have done much to promote cowboy poetry and our western heritage. Gordon Peterson was one of those men. I will miss him. I am glad I know him. He was a good man and a good friend."

An obituary posted on the Flamm Funeral Home website,, includes this about Gordon Peterson:

He was a farrier for over forty years, doing custom and corrective shoeing. He learned and practiced many veterinary procedures. Gordon is a well known poet throughout Canada and the Western Untied States. He has appeared on radio and TV in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Canada. He is a life member of the Alberta Cowboy Poets Association and is the current secretary / treasurer of the Cowboy Poets of Idaho. He is also a recipient of the Silver Quill award and was inducted into the Cowboy Poets Hall of Fame in 2008. He was also awarded for his cowboy poetry in Fruitland, Idaho on October 15, 2010. He was a gifted cowboy poetry writer and has written several poems that have touched many people’s lives.

The obituary includes this information:

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 30, 2010 at the Lyman LDS church (1952 West 6000 South) with Bishop Kevin Barnes officiating. The family will receive friends Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Flamm Funeral Home (61 North 1st East) and Saturday at the church from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment will be in the Sutton Cemetery at Archer. Condolences may be sent online at

[photo of Gordon Peterson by Bobbie Hunter from a 2009 gathering report]

Posted 10/27

Flavis Bertrand, 1918-2010

Flavis Bertrand in Chico, California  Flavis Bertrand, one of the first poets at, died October 7, 2010, at home in Newell, South Dakota.

From his biography at

Flavis Bertrand's family homesteaded in the Dakota Territory. Flavis was born and raised in Clark, South Dakota. He left home at seventeen to find his way in the world, and after a series of adventures he landed in Chico, California. He attended college until WWII broke out. When he returned from the service he married and settled in Arbuckle, California. After a number of years he returned to his South Dakota roots... 

Flavis Bertrand was recognized as one of "8 Seconds" in the Lariat Laureate competition for his poem, "The Old Empty House." The poem was included in his book, Whispering Wings, with illustrations by his wife Eleanor Bertrand.

Visitation will be Tuesday, October 12, from noon until 8:00 p.m. at Kinkade Funeral Chapel and one hour prior to the rosary service. A rosary will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 13, 2010, at St. Mary's Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Newell. A mass follows at 10:30 a.m. with Father Arnold Kari officiating. Burial will be at the Hope Cemetery in Newell.

Find an obituary here.

Posted 10/11

  V. June Blevins Collins, 1916-2010

We were sad to learn of the death of poet and great friend of the BAR-D, V. June Collins, age 94, on October 2, 2010.

An obituary here tells, "...Born May 31, 1916 in Prineville, Ore. to Awilda Josephine and Lee Edward Blevins, she grew up on a ranch in the Ochaco, about 20 miles east of Prineville...On July 1, 1940 she married Gerald Jefferson “Jerry” Collins of Grants Pass in Reno, Nev. They had saved $19 in dimes so they could get married. She and her new husband moved that same year to Yreka [California]. June has written poetry much of her life. She published a book called Cowboy Poetry and Barn Sour Verse. She and Jerry attended the 2009 Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nev., culminating 20 years of attendance."

Also from the obituary:

Graveside services will be held at noon on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010 at the Little Shasta Cemetery.

Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the Little Shasta Church, 10115 Swigart Rd., Montague, CA 96064; Siskiyou Writers Scholarship, 11200 Pyrite Ct., Montague, CA 96064; Madrone Hospice House, 255 Collier Way, Yreka, CA 96097; Rose Brown Fund of GSSC, 912 S. Main St., Yreka, CA 96097; or Siskiyou County Museum, 910 S. Main St., Yreka, CA 96097.

Girdner Funeral Chapel at 842-3434 is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

Read some of V. June Blevins Collins' poetry and more about her here at the BAR-D.

[photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski, Elko, 2008 ]

Posted 10/6

  Joe Baer, died August 12, 2010

Nancy Ruybal ( sent the sad news of the death of popular Arizona musician and songwriter Joe Baer on August 12, 2010:

Our good friend and Cowboy Singer Joe Baer passed away in his sleep sometime in the wee hours of Thursday last. Many of you knew Joe and his wife Sandy Baer, and have seen Joe perform at the Western festivals and even here at our house concerts.

All are welcome to attend the celebration for Joe Baer this coming Thursday, August 19th, 2PM at the 1st Baptist Church of Apache Junction, 235 South Thunderbird in Apache Junction, Arizona.

Thank you to Pauline Fredericks for the beautiful photo of Joe taken last February at the Sierra Vista Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering.

She added:

Hello folks, forgot to add something very important that Sandy told me yesterday: "Don't get all funeral-ed up. Come comfortable in your hats and boots and jeans if you want, and celebrate Joe."

[photo by Pauline Fredericks]

Posted 8/16

  Earl Longo, 1938-2010

His friends all over the world are saddened by the passing of Earl Longo of Carlin, Nevada, in June, 2010.

Earl was the "transportation director" at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, a man who took care of performers and visitors alike. Earl and his wife D'lyla worked tirelessly to keep shuttles running smoothly between venues and making sure people arrived on time where they needed to be. On many occasions, Earl went above and beyond by doing special favors and handling emergency trips for people. He will be missed greatly.

Services will be held Saturday, June 26, 2010 at the LDS church in Carlin. The viewing is at 9am and the funeral at 10am.


[Thanks to Tamara Kubacki, Programs Coordinator of the Western Folklife Center and Jerry Brooks for information, and to Jeri Dobrowski for the above photos, taken in 2008 and 2007, respectively.]

Posted 6/22

  Walt LaRue, 1918-2010

Pat Richardson sent the sad news of the death of Walt LaRue on June 12, 2010. Pat writes, "Walt was damn sure a cowboy, artist, singer, songwriter, and stunt man, but most of all he was a great guy; there'll never be another one like him."

Walt LaRue was a popular cartoonist and many of his cartoons appeared in the Rodeo Cowboys' Association publication, The Buckboard. Some of his work is collected in the 1989 book, Rodeo Cartoons from the Buckboard. That book includes biographical information that tells "Walt LaRue was a rodeo cowboy during the 1940s and 1950s, belonged to the Cowboys Turtle Association and the Rodeo Cowboys Association, and is a gold card member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association." 

His cartoons appeared in advertisements (including for Levi Strauss), newspapers, and magazines. See one of his 1948 cartoons here.

Rodeo Cartoons from the Buckboard also tells that Walt LaRue was born in Canada to American parents, came to the U.S. as a boy, and lived most of his life in California. He worked as a guide and packer in the Rocky Mountains and High Sierras.

His illustrations appear in many books, including Buck Ramsey's Grass, Cowboy Poetry: The Reunion, and Good Medicine. In Buck Ramsey's Grass, Bette Ramsey writes in the Acknowledgements, "Illustrations by Walt LaRue—artist, musician, songwriter, movie stunt man, bull rider, and one of my favorite people—captured the essence of Buck's poem in the first edition. For this book, Walt provided several unpublished drawings depicting the journeys and trial of Billy Deaver." In the first edition, Buck Ramsey wrote, "Not enough can be said about the drawings of Walt LaRue, my good friend maintaining a bastion of the cowboy faith out there in Hollywood."

His fine art was also celebrated. See some examples here.

Walt LaRue performed as a stunt man in countless films (see a list here). He received the Golden Boot Award in 2007 (see a photo here).

Walt LaRue was a musician and songwriter as well. His song, "Pretty Pauline," has been recorded by Dave Stamey, Skip Gorman, and others.

His story, "Square Head," is included on the CD Elko! A Cowboy's Gathering from the Western Folklife Center, recorded live at the 20th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 2004.

Walt LaRue was born August 8, 1918.

Poet, writer, editor and publisher of Cowboy magazine Darrell Arnold shares his words:

Walt LaRue was one of those men who God seems to have blessed more than other men. It's as if Walt's spirit had lived more than one life, and each time it lived, it learned more and added to the knowledge, talent, and ability of the life that followed.

He was born in Canada, of American parents. He had relatives who had horses, and Walt learned to ride. He spent part of his early life as a guide and packer in Glacier National Park and also in Yosemite and the High Sierras of California. That horseback work led to rodeoing, and Walt spent part of the next 12 years of his life traveling to rodeos, riding bareback horses and

In 1942, he joined the Cowboy's Turtle Association (card number 1848), the forerunner of the Rodeo Cowboys Association (R.C.A.), which, in turn, became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (P.R.C.A.). Throughout his life, Walt was proud of his status as a Gold Card Member of the P.R.C.A.

Rodeoing eventually led Walt to a career as a Hollywood stuntman. He had the good fortune to be part of that business during the 1940s and 1950s, Hollywood's golden age of Westerns. He appeared in hundreds of movies and television shows, doing stunts that mostly involved horse work.

Besides the work itself, which was fun and exciting for an athletic young man, Walt enjoyed the behind-the-scenes life of the movie business. He was a natural storyteller, and his tales of all that went on behind the cameras enthralled any and all lucky enough to be within hearing distance.

Entertaining came naturally to Walt. He could also play the guitar and sing, and he'd happily perform for anyone who wanted to listen to his cowboy songs and his humorous old-time-radio-show act.

Throughout his life, Walt was a superb artist, his lifetime of cartoons, sketches, drawings, and paintings numbering in the thousands. His greatest influences were the works of Charlie Russell and Will James, and evidence of both can be seen in Walt's work.

Walt did drawings and paintings commercially for Levi Strauss, Weber Bread, Blevins Buckles, Paul Bond Boots, and other businesses, and, from 1945 to 1952, Walt drew cartoon covers for
The Buckboard, the official magazine of the R.C.A.

It was always a treat for anyone to sit down with Walt in a restaurant. He would tell humorous stories of his rodeo days or his years in the movies, and, while he did so, he'd pull out a pen and reach for the nearest napkin or paper place mat and sketch a quick drawing of a horse, or a bronc ride, or a cowboy. Who knows how many people have eagerly scooped up one of Walt's restaurant originals and treasure them to this day?

You could always tell where Walt was in a restaurant. He'd be in the most crowded booth, surrounded by laughing people. One time, when Walt was a guest entertainer at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, he was holding sway at a breakfast table in the restaurant at the Stockman's Hotel. While his enthralled listeners delighted in his tales of the movie business, Walt grabbed a small biscuit plate and made an excellent drawing of a cowboy on a bronc. He handed it to one of the people at the table.

The next thing you know, Walt's audience spilled over into the adjoining booths, and biscuit plates appeared in front of Walt from all over the restaurant. One wonders if the staff of the Stockman's Restaurant ever figured out where those plates disappeared to?

Walt didn't mind being loved and adored by his many friends and fans, and, in 2007, he was recognized by the movie industry, as well, when he was presented a Golden Boot Award.

Walt's life was a long and happy one. He was one of those fortunate individuals who lived the kind of life he wanted to live. Walt was quoted once as saying "I've enjoyed doing what I've done, a lot of different things. I've been able to paint, and entertain a little, and rodeo, and work in the movies. I could have made a living at any one of them. I've been kinda lucky, I do what I want to do."

It says a lot about a man if a smile comes to someone's face at the mere mention of his name. Walt LaRue was such a man. People loved to be near him, and they seldom left his company with anything other than warm feelings. He had many friends and many fans who wished they could be his friends.

Walt LaRue passed from this earth on Saturday, June 12th at the age of 91.

His life was a life well lived.

Information received from the Stuntmen's Association:

One of SAMP's lifetime members, Walt LaRue. passed away over the weekend. His service will be held Saturday, June 26th at 12:00PM at Forest Lawn in Hollywood.

Forest Lawn — Hollywood Hills
6300 Forest Lawn Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Additional comments and information are welcome. Email us.

[Thanks to Dave Bourne who sent the news to Pat Richardson, to Darrell Arnold, and to Linda Chambers; photo from May, 1990, courtesy of Darrell Arnold]

Updated 6/22

  Lee Thompson, died May 18, 2010

Arizonan Lee Thompson, well-loved Western Music Association member and long-time emcee of the Tombstone Western Music Festival, died May 18, 2010.

Rick Huff shared words of tribute:

It saddens us to report the loss of one of our cowboy culture’s most consistently positive and unifying advocates. Lee Thompson left us on Tuesday, May 18th, 2010.

Lee was the rousing emcee of the Tombstone Western Music Festival from its inception. His boundless energy and enthusiasm was infectious and brought attention and attendance to the event. He worked that same charm and sense of excitement on behalf of the Western Music Association and the Single Action Shooters Society (SASS) as a longtime member of both. Over the years he recruited many new members for those organizations. Best known in SASS by his handle “Singin’ Sandy,” Lee was influential in making Western Music become an integral part of their National Convention in Las Vegas and their End Of Trail event held in New Mexico.

Lee balanced his many Western interests with another passion…cross-country motorcycling! Lee was again at the 2009 WMA Festival in Albuquerque. He was obviously desperately ill, but he was there…fully supporting the people and activities he so cherished. For his many friends Lee Thompson’s passing will create the kind of void you simply never fill. At best you can only manage to accept it.

[2008 photo of Lee Thompson by Jack Hummel]

Posted 5/24

  Dan Jarvis, 1926-2010

Yvonne Hollenbeck shared the news of the death of cowboy, rancher, farrier, and poet Dan Jarvis of Wickenburg, Arizona, husband of popular poet Carole Jarvis, on March 22, 2010.

In 1999, Dan Jarvis received the first Western Heritage Award, given by the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce to an outstanding cowboy poet.

Carole Jarvis has written about their meeting and their life together in her book, Time Not Measured by a Clock, which also includes poems by Dan Jarvis. Carole Jarvis grew up in Southern California. In a bio written some years ago, she tells, "... I dreamed of a ranch, a cowboy, and a horse.  Or probably lots of horses.  But unlike many other girls who outgrew these dreams, I never did.  So it was natural I would gravitate to places where there was ranching and cowboys when I 'grew up."  One such place was Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My second summer working there, I met a handsome cowboy who actually came riding by the cabin where I was living, on a gorgeous coal black filly. I've been teased about whether I was smitten by the filly or the cowboy first!  Well, whichever it was, the cowboy is the one that's still around, after over fifty years..." The two were married in 1957.

An obituary here in the Wickenburg Sun tells much about Dan Jarvis's life and family.

Dan Jarvis is pictured above on the cover of Carole Jarvis's 2003 book, Time Not Measured by a Clock. in a photo by Sharron Tarter, "Dan Jarvis on Stretch with his dog Jake."

Carole Jarvis shared this tribute poem:

Dan Jarvis—February 14, 1926 - March 22, 2010
For my husband, my best friend, my cowboy

It's not the end of the trail for me,
I'm just headin' out to the light I see.
Beyond those mountains there's a soft glow;
It's gettin' brighter the closer I go.
It's like the beginning of a new day,
And the trail I'm followin' leads the way.
I feel sure there's friends and family ahead,
And they've set up camp on a brand new spread.
Yes, I can hear the voices callin' my name,
sayin', "Welcome Dan, sure glad you came,
This new range is special, you'll like it here,
There's grass for your horses, the streams are clear,
The cattle are gentle and never stampede,
And in every direction there's plenty of feed.
If you're thinkin' it sounds too good to be true,
it's not'cause the Boss made a promise to you.
If you'd ride for his brand, be honest and square,
He'd relive all your pain, and remove every care.
He was mighty pleased with your life on earth,
That you did your best, and proved your worth.
So step off your horse, and tied on up,
Your friends are all waiting to pour you a cup.
We'll talk about old days, as time allows,
'cause startin' tomorrow you'll be workin' cows!"

© 2010, Carole Jarvis

Carole Jarvis gives permission for the use of this poem for a personal ceremony.
      Please give the author credit when reciting or printing this poem


Updated 8/11

Ruth Hanson, died February 12, 2010

  Ruth (Kayton) Hanson, the mother of poet Yvonne Hollenbeck, died February 12, 2010. Ruth Hanson was married to Harry Hanson for 72 years.

When her mother was dying, Yvonne wrote, "She's been such a wonderful person in this cruel old world." Yvonne often writes about her maternal ancestors in her poetry; many were poets and quilters. Yvonne is a champion quilter, and her masterpiece, "Pansies for Mama," done entirely by hand (5,600 pieces) was created as a tribute to her mother, who taught her to quilt and who loved pansies. 

You can write to Yvonne Hollenbeck at 30549 291st Street, Clearfield, South Dakota 57580.

Updated 2/16

Marie Smith 1927-2010

Marne Newton, Keven Inman, and Smoke Wade all helped with the following sad news:

Montana poet Marie Smith died February 4, 2010 in Kalispell. She was popular performer at many gatherings, and was an invited performer many times at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Her work was published in her own books and included in a number of anthologies.

From an obituary here:

....Marie was born June 15, 1927, to William James Weedon and Myrtle Esther Newton Ray Weedon in Subiaco, West Australia. Marie married Cecil May 28, 1952, in the Latter-day Saints temple in Cardston, Alberta, after immigrating to the United States. She gave birth to and raised 11 children.

By her beautiful spirit, Marie touched the lives of many people both far and wide. She was a woman of many God-given talents. She performed at numerous events and poetry gatherings throughout the West. She had a great appreciation and love of beautiful music, literature and fine art. She was an avid quilter, reader, poet and short story writer. Marie has published several books of poetry on her experiences of love and family life in both the United States and Australia....

....Marie also has 36 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren....

...Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb 9, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 1380 Whitefish Stage Road, in Kalispell. Visitation will be held in the Relief Society room one hour prior to the service. Burial will be held at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb 10, at the Carey Cemetery in Carey, Idaho. Memorials can be sent to Stephen Smith at 119 Buffalo Square Court, Kalispell, MT 59901. Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for Marie s family. You are invited to go to to offer condolences and view Marie's tribute wall.

Find many photos here on the tribute wall.

[photo courtesy of Keven Inman]

Posted 2/8, updated 2/11

William E. Jacobson 1957-2010

From Lindalee Green of the Western Music Association:

Bill Jacobson passed away this week after a brief illness. Bill was a founding member of the Western Music Association. At the initial meeting in Las Vegas in 1988, volunteers were needed to launch a publication that would pick up where the Sons of the Pioneers newsletter left off. It would broaden the scope of coverage to include new music releases, articles of historical interest, and help bring together musicians and fans who were interested in preserving and continuing Western music. Bill Jacobson & Mary Rogers volunteered. As Gary McMahan says, Bill fanned the embers when Western music had started to fade, until there was a small flame and Western music could take hold again.

Until Bill had to have brain surgery and his illness took its toll, leading to his retirement from involvement in Western music activities, he was instrumental in spreading the word about Western music, both classic and contemporary. With their journal,
Song of the West, Bill and Mary set the standard and led the way for the WMA to launch publications that gradually took on a professional look that has helped promote the image of the WMA. He was talented and very knowledgeable, but more importantly, he was a good guy.

His memorial service is Thursday February 4th at 12:30 PM at the Allnutt Funeral Home in Fort Collins, CO.

Find an obituary here.

[photo courtesy of Darrell Arnold]

Updated 2/11


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