Cover photo for Donald Taylor's Obituary
1934 Donald 2015

Donald Taylor

December 10, 1934 — May 24, 2015

Donald Ralph Taylor my Dad.

When my Dad was 8 years old his father passed away from a blood disorder.

At the age of ten, Dad worked in Lou Smith’s barber shop all winter after school & on the weekends taking the coal ashes outside the shop and then hauling coal back inside. He did this so Lou would let him shine shoes out in front of the barber shop during the summer. Dad saved the money he made to buy a horse. Dad bought a horse called Smokey & he was hard to handle so Dad traded Smokey to his step dad, Joe Madden for a better horse named Eagle.

Every spring Dad & his younger brother Clay, along with Joe would gather their horses on the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Dubois, WY. They would herd the horses over Togwotee pass and back to Jackson. This usually would take a little more than a week.

Each year during the summer months when Dad was out of school, he would work for one of the Ranches in the Jackson Valley or for his step dad Joe Madden.

Around the age of 12, Dad was to take a herd of horses to Yellowstone Park for Joe. So Joe put a peanut butter sandwich & apple in Dad’s saddle bags which was to last my dad for this long trip to Yellowstone. Dad got on his horse & started the herd of horses north to Yellowstone Park from Jackson. The first night he stopped at the Bar B C Ranch where he got something to eat & some sleep. The next day he started again for Yellowstone & stopped at the end of the day at another ranch for food & rest. He did this same routine along the way until he delivered the horses.

At 14 Dad worked for Sharky Erwin at the Jenny Lake Horse Concession at the base of the Teton Mountains in Teton Park. Sharky expected Dad & the other wranglers to work 24-7. They would take turns different nights riding herd on the horses as they grazed & then in the morning bring the horses back to the corrals, saddle the horses, grab a quit bite to eat & take the tourist out horseback riding for the day. When mountain climbers would fall off the Tetons, my Dad would leave at 4:00 a.m. in the morning on a saddle horse & lead a pack horse that walked with his head with a stretcher attached to top of the pack saddle, up into the Tetons. The rescue team would load the injured or sometimes dead mountain climbers onto the stretcher & Dad would come back down the mountain in the dark & deliver them to a waiting ambulance.

Dad also was a horse wrangler for the Bar B C Guest Ranch & the 4 Lazy F Guest Ranch during the summer months.

Age 15 Dad & Joe drove a 100 head of horses from Jackson to Arco, Idaho in three days. They ran the horses all of the way and about every half hour they would ride along one of the loose horses in the herd, put a hackamore on the horses head, slide off the tired horse he’s riding & onto the back of the fresh horse & let the tired horse go. In order to change horses on the run they were riding the horses bareback. This was dangerous; if you fell off the horse you were riding you could be trampled to death by the herd.

When Dad wasn’t working for the different ranches in the Jackson Valley, he would work all summer long for Joe spraying the pine trees for pine beetles in Teton National Park. They would pack the chemical on pack horses back into the mountains & sometimes the chemical would get onto the horses & burn their skin leaving white hair patches.

During High School Dad built a horse trailer out of wood and mounted it on a Ford truck axle. He was so proud of that horse trailer. He would leave it hooked onto his car all of the time and tow it all over Jackson. Occasionally he would haul a horse in it. The people of Jackson gave Dad the nickname Donny Horse Trailer. One day Dad was towing the horse trailer out of town and the wooden tongue broke sending the trailer off the road causing it to roll down the embankment and breaking apart. Dad was upset for quite some time over the loss of his trailer.

Dad loved skiing and he would ski every day during the winter. He was on the Jackson High School ski racing team and the ski jumping team. I remember seeing the ski racing & ski jumping trophies he won displayed in my grand parents house. After High School Dad joined the Jackson Hole Hockey team.  He also participated in the skiing torch light parade on Snow King Mountain every Christmas.  In 1965 there was an all ages ski race on Snow King & Dad won the race. What was amazing he had not skied that much that year. Dad continued alpine skiing and cross country skiing for many years.

After High School, Dad married my mom Laurane Walters and they had four boys, Ralph, Ronald, Richard and Russell. All of us were born about 16 months apart, so we would fight a lot and occasionally one of us would end up in the hospital.

Dad worked for my grandpa (Bud Walters) in the B & W Market to support the family. He drove the produce truck from Jackson to Idaho Falls twice a week and help stock the shelves in the store.

Dad and Mom moved to Lusk, Wyoming to work for young Joe Madden in his service station. Dad worked there approximately 1 year and then moved the family back to Jackson and worked again for the B&W Market for another four years.

Dad began working for the Federal Elk Refuge and moved our family into a log house out on the Refuge 5 miles from town. He fed the Elk hay in the winters and in the summers he irrigated the hay fields next to the house. Dad also operated heavy equip. like draglines, dump trucks, loaders, backhoes and a semi-tractor & trailers. For extra money Dad would shoe a couple horses every night after work and 6 to 7 horses a day on Saturdays and Sundays through the summer moths. He was always booked a year in advanced to shoe horses. Dad & Mon joined the Jackson Roping Club every year. Dad would rope calves, Dad & Mom would team rope the steers, Mom would barrel race and Dad would do pole bending several nights every week. Dad & Mom participated in all of the rodeos in Jackson. One year at the Jackson Fair Rodeo, Dad & Mom entered the team roping event and took first place wining the prize money. This upset all of the cowboys in the Jackson Valley to have a woman out rope them. Dad would break & train colts to ride for people here in Jackson during the summer months, while irrigating the hay fields on the Elk Refuge. Occasionally he would get bucked off of the colts and come home all skinned up.

In the fall Dad & Mom would take my brothers & I elk hunting either on horse back or in a pick-up truck up the Gros Ventre River or up on sheep mountain. Sometimes Dad would have us waiting on the mountain with the truck or horses while he went off hunting. We always knew when he was shooting an Elk because his 348 Winchester rifle sounded like a cannon.

In September 1968 Dad moved the family to the U3 Co. Ranch 7 miles west of Wells Neveda. He was the manager of the ranch for Marshal Morgan the grandson of J.P. Morgan. The ranch was run down and in 3 years Dad and us 4 boys brought the cattle ranch back up to operating condition.

The family moved to Deseret Livestock Ranch in Skull Valley Utah. Dad worked there for 10 years and during that time became the manager of the ranch. After being on the ranch a couple years Dad and mom were divorced & Mom moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.  A year later Dad married Ruby Hoffmeister. When Deseret Live Stock sold the ranch, Dad moved on.

Dad & Ruby moved to Georgetown, Idaho where he managed a ranch for a year. Then moved to Ririe, Idaho and drove semi-trucks hauling products for Golden Valley.

Dad & Ruby moved again to Elgin, Oregon because some of Ruby’s family lived there. Dad liked Elgin because it was a small town setting in a valley like Jackson Hole. While living in Elgin, Dad was driving a semi-truck for Trans Alaska Sea Food selling fish out of the back of the trailer in city parking lots all over the western United States. Dad & Ruby were divorced and Ruby moved to the State of Washington. Dad left Trans Alaska Sea Food and began driving a semi-tractor & trailer for Globe Sea Food located in Ogden, Utah. Once a week he would travel from Elgin up to the U.S. & Canadian border to pick up a load fish & haul it to the Globe Sea Food processing plant in Ogden and did this for many years. Dad left Globe Sea Food and went to work for the Best Western Motel in La Grand, Oregon. He worked there until he retired at age of 75.

Dad was the LDS singles quorum leader in Elgin & he was talked into going to the singles picnic at Sumpter, Oregon. Patty Bennett was also talked into go to this picnic. Dad met Patty after the Sumpter train ride in front of the train station and Dad gave her a ride back to the picnic. A couple of months after the picnic they were married on September 22, 1995. Dad & Patty have been happily married from that time on.

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