Dorothy Mae Wolff was a lifetime resident of Wyoming since 1929, originally from Sheridan, Wyo., later moving to Rozet, Wyo., in 1946 with her mother and stepfather. In 1947, she moved to a ranch/farm in Gillette, Wyo., when she became married.
After succumbing to a long battle with COPD and staph infection leading to a coronary arrest, Dorothy passed away on Dec. 23, 2012, surrounded by her son, Larry, and her dear friend, Patti Morrisette, following their two-day vigil with Dorothy while she was at the Natrona County Hospital in Casper, Wyo.
Dorothy was born on Aug. 26, 1929, to Victor and Violet M. (Worden) Felde of Sheridan, Wyo. She was the oldest of two daughters.
Dorothy was raised in Sheridan, Wyo., where she graduated from grade school. She then went on to work with her mother as a housekeeper and cook at the Kendrick Cattle Company in Sheridan, Wyo., known today as the Kendrick Trails End and also the Gallatin Ranch in Big Horn, Wyo., until she moved to Rozet, Wyo., in 1946.
With her mother, Violet, and stepfather, Charles Faulker, she helped operate the Rozet Store, where she met and would later marry the love of her life, Donald Laurence Wolff. Following their courtship, Dorothy married Don on Oct. 23, 1947, in Gillette, Wyo., and moved to the ranch/farm, which Don had purchased after coming home from World War II following his four years of service in the Navy.
She spent her last 65 years in the Gillette, Wyo., area, living 32 years on hers’ and Don’s ranch/farm and then moving to Gillette to live 33 years there, yet still working part time for a number of years on the ranch/farm with Don. Dorothy was Don’s wife of nearly 60 years short by three months, his companion, his love, and his soulmate and he likewise was Dorothy’s also.
She and Don began their lives together ranching and farming on the Sharp Butte Ranch, located 13 miles southeast of Gillette, Wyo., until semi-retiring in 1972 after selling the ranch/farm to a coal company. They started their family in October 1948, when their first child, a son, Laurence Eustelle, was born. They then would later have two daughters, Donna Jean, who was born in January 1950, and Bonnie Lee, who was born in September 1953.
Dorothy, with the support of her husband Don and her family, worked hard on the ranch/farm helping to raise cattle, pigs, milk cows, and chickens and various crops. Together, she and Don sold cream to the Jersey Creamery in Sheridan, Wyo., for a number of years. Dorothy was very actively involved in the operations of the ranch/farm, working along side Don helping with the milking, haying, farming and feeding and raising of cattle and pigs, and raising farm crops.
She raised a large garden and canned various garden produce each year until all three of her children had left home to be on their own. She was a tremendous cook and the family enjoyed great family meals through the years on the ranch. Three of the family’s favorites were Dorothy’s homemade fresh bread, egg noodles and raisin bars, which she made on many occasions through the years. For many years, Dorothy delighted and loved preparing and having holiday meals and get-togethers for her immediate family, and also with her sister Charlene’s family, and her mother Violet and stepfather Melvin on many occasions.
Dorothy also started driving the school bus when her son, Larry, was in the third grade and would continue for 10 years until her youngest daughter, Bonnie, graduated from the eighth grade. While on the ranch, Dorothy would help with the raising of livestock, calving, farming and haying until her son, Larry, was old enough to do these things, at which time she then spent most of her time raising the family, cooking, canning, sewing, raising a garden and being a housewife.
At numerous times, she helped her son Larry guide hunters, who hunted deer and antelope on the ranch and surrounding ranches during the month of October. While at the ranch/farm, Dorothy and Don, along with their children, on numerous, numerous occasions would go to the surrounding neighbors to play cards or to just visit. She and Don had all of the neighbors and their children over to watch television soon after getting it, being the first in the area with television, much like a night at the movies with popcorn and pop for everyone.
One of the highlights with her family, involving her life before she was to be married to Don, Dorothy gave a guided tour of the mansion and an account of her life while working for the Kendrick Cattle Company. She provided love and support for her husband Don and shared in all decision making and establishment of all the various things on and at the ranch. Dorothy and Don raised wheat, barley and oats as farm crops, and alfalfa, oats and Sudan grass as hay crops. Dorothy helped Don to initially raise white-faced Herefords, then later registered Black Angus and Hereford cross-bred cattle. She helped Don establish the largest shelter belt in the state and surrounding states, initially over 3,000 trees and later another 1,000 trees, which was at the ranch/farm headquarters. Numerous people and agencies from all over the state and surrounding states came to view what Dorothy and Don had done, with various write ups being done concerning their accomplishment.
She was a Farmers Union youth leader and a 4-H youth leader for girls until all of her children had graduated from high school. She worked along side Don in helping to establish the first electric power lines and facilities in the area in 1954, helping to get the first oil well drilled in the area in 1959, which was on their ranch/farm, helping to establish the first telephone service in the area in 1965, being instrumental in making it possible for all of the ranches/farms in the surrounding area to eventually be sold to coal companies for mining, which they started in 1972 when they sold their ranch/farm to the coal company, and together they were the first ranchers in the area to have television in 1956.
She moved from the ranch/farm with Don in October 1979 to Gillette, Wyo. Together she and Don continued to work part-time on the ranch/farm for several years. After retiring completely from the ranch/farm, they worked on building a new home in Gillette in 1995 from the ground up spending each and every day at the sight overseeing its construction until it was built. Their ultimate dream home, designed almost entirely by Dorothy, was at 1415 West Fourth St. in Gillette, Wyo., where she lived until moving to the Primrose Retirement Community in Gillette, Wyo., in December 2010. This was a magnificent two-level home, furnished throughout with solid oak wood and a lot of extras, including an automatic total back up power supply for their home, which would cover for extended times whenever the power might go down.
Dorothy and Don, after fully retiring, traveled extensively nationwide, coast to coast and into Canada in their motor home, traveling many times with close friends Bud and Delores Bowker and Clarence and Wilma Carter and on occasions with Don’s brothers Raymond and Vincent and sisters-in-law Phyllis and Winnie. She and Don also spent many months during the winter months in Phoenix, Ariz., a number of years visiting with their youngest daughter, Bonnie, and her family and Dorothy’s younger sister, Charlene. She and Don also spent a great deal of time visiting their daughter, Donna, and her family in Casper, Wyo., while greatly enjoying their grandchildren.
She, Don, and their son Larry did a great number of things together, including traveling. In the later years, when she and Don were starting to be unable to do for themselves, Larry lovingly did many and varied things for and with them.
Dorothy spent a great deal of time with her hobby of making afghans for all of her children and her grandchildren. She had made over 12 large afghans and had three in the making when she could no longer see to sew and she became to ill to continue. She also played the piano, the organ, and the accordion extensively, both by ear and by reading music.
Dorothy loved listening to Country and Western music by such artists as Johnny Horton and Jim Reeves. She and Don enjoyed square dancing and other dancing and did this on many weekends through the years with Don’s sister Mary and other various friends while their children were growing up.
She was an active member of Saint Matthew’s Catholic Church throughout her life since having been married in the church in 1947. She, along with Don, always attended all school functions with her children and attended all of their grade school, high school and college graduations.
After Don had passed, Dorothy loved taking trips through the Gillette and surrounding areas on back roads and in the Bighorn Mountains with her son, Larry, seeing parts of Wyoming she had never seen before. She thoroughly enjoyed her last trip to the Bighorn Mountains with her son, Larry, and a close friend, Mary Shipman, in September 2012. Many trips were made to the ranch/farm with her son, Larry, with much time being spent talking, recalling and reminiscing about the times and the events she shared there with her husband Don and her family, Larry, Donna and Bonnie.
She was stricken with much pain and suffering from 2004 through 2012, which she kept well hidden, after incurring five major surgeries during this time, always with her son, Larry, at her bedside giving her strength and courage to continue on. Dorothy was one to complain very little given the real pain she was in, but instead was always worried and concerned more about those around her, whether family or friends.
Dorothy had a great will to fight and live on, but then in July 2007, she lost the love of her life, her husband Don, thereby suffering tremendously from a broken heart until she rejoined him in Heaven on Dec. 23, 2012.
Dorothy was loved and enjoyed by all who came to really know her as the angel she truly was. She had a heart of gold and as big as the world. She was known for her honesty, integrity, fairness, and friendly and caring personality. People always knew where Dorothy stood, as she was very up front and never beat around the bush when it came to her standing or viewpoints.
Dorothy will be missed greatly and forever loved by all of her family and friends, who she left behind after making such an impact on their lives when she touched them with her love, her life, and her presence! Mother, we love you and will miss you more than words can ever convey until we are all together again with you and Dad in Heaven. We are so very proud to say that you were the most loving, caring and wonderful mother we could ever hope and pray for! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts forevermore for being our mother! We are so very happy and joyous for you now that you are with Dad again in Heaven! Your loving and grateful children Larry, Donna, and Bonnie!
Dorothy was survived by her son Laurence E. “Larry” Wolff of Gillette, Wyo., and by her two daughters, Donna J. (Kent) Macklin recently of Gilbert, Ariz., and Bonnie L. (Paul) Strube of Gilbert, Ariz. She is also survived by her nine grandchildren and by her 12 great-grandchildren. Dorothy is also survived by two uncles, one aunt, three brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law, numerous cousins, a very special and close cousin Dan Felde and his wife Darlene, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Laurence Wolff, her parents, Violet M. Focht and Victor Felde, by her one sister, Charleen Gray, and by her one grandchild, Andrew Macklin.
Memorials in Dorothy M. Wolff’s name may be sent to Saint Joseph’s Children’s Home, P.O. Box 1117, Torrington, WY 82240-0822 or to Women’s Resource Center of Gillette, P. O. Box 2289, Gillette, WY 82717-2289.
Visitation is at the Gillette Memorial Chapel from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, with Rosary following. Funeral is at Saint Matthew’s Catholic Church in Gillette, Wyo., at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, with Father Cliff Jacobson as celebrant. Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 West 5th Street, Gillette, WY 82716 or via the Internet at website: www.gillettememorialchapel.com.