Dorothy LaFern Molaskey

April 27, 1932  -  March 28, 2021

A longtime friend of Greybull, Wyo., and member of the First Presbyterian Church was taken by Jesus to be with him in paradise on Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021. Born to Oran Clark Cooper and Anna “Ethel” Elliot Cooper on April 27, 1932 in Gillette, Dorothy was raised on their family homestead south of town. As Dorothy “Dot” said; “I always knew Jesus. He was with me even as a little girl out on the big prairie.” Dorothy loved to sing the old-time hymns and prepare the church bulletin as much as she loved to work on school and community plays. She loved the people of Greybull and they helped care for her in the later years. Dorothy “Crossed over the Jordan” from the Three Rivers Clinic located between Greybull and Basin, Wyo.

As a little girl Dot rode her horse to the one-room schoolhouse near the homestead with her sisters Virginia and Bernice. Sometimes they would ride two a top “Old Rags” but most often they each had their own horse. During snowstorms Oran would bring the team and wagon into the barn the night before to take the girls and their teacher, who often boarded at the house, to school. It took early rising and good timing to get all of the ladies ready for school without the modern convenience of indoor plumbing. Water was heated on the stove to wash while Ethel prepared the breakfast. Overalls were buttoned up over dresses, horses were saddled, books placed in saddle bags and it was off to school at a trot.

Dorothy later moved to Gillette to live with her grandfather so that she could attend high school. Dorothy graduated as valedictorian in the Class of 1949 and went on to graduate from the University of Wyoming. She then began a career in teaching. Dorothy met Gerald “Joe” Molaskey while at University and they married on Sept. 20, 1953. Dorothy and Joe had four children: Gary, Marilyn, Carol, and Michael. Dorothy later left teaching to work at the county clerk’s office in Basin. She loved working with her friends at the county courthouse. Joe served with the state highway department as an engineer. They lived in Medicine Bow, Hanna, Rawlins and Lovell while Dorothy taught school and Joe engineered roads and bridges. They moved to Greybull in 1961 and Dorothy became a local member of the PEO Sisters. Both Joe and Dot enjoyed the people and country of the Bighorn Basin and Mountains. It was truly their home and community.

Dorothy told us many stories of the homestead life. The family would like to share just one: The Blizzard of ‘49. Dot had come home to the ranch for the weekend when the storm hit. The family and stock were fine as they had feed for the cattle and horses and homesteaders always carried months of extra food and supplies. Today you might say “They were living off the grid.” Later in the week her uncle Jimmy rode up with another horse for Dot. Jim said to Oran, “Well, I think it’s about time we got Dorothy back to school.” The snow had set up like cement. Dot remembers riding atop the snow and never having to open a gate all the way into town. All of the fence lines were feet below them and the saddle horses they traveled upon.

Dorothy is survived by three children and their families: Gary Molaskey of Prescott Valley, Ariz.; Marilyn and Karl Brauneis of Lander, Wyo.; Carol and Bill Ainsworth of Tulsa, Okla.; six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Joe and son Michael.

Memorial service will be held at the Greybull Presbyterian Church in June. Cremation has taken place at the Antelope Butte Crematory in Greybull. Arrangements are in the care of Atwood Family Funeral Directors.