In Our Thoughts: Doug (Douglas Allen) Keller 1943-2020

We were sad to learn the news of Doug Keller from Jo Lynne Kirkwood. Doug died April 2, 2020 at his home in Johnson Canyon, Utah.

Many knew Doug from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where he was long involved. This photo by Stella and Ol’ Jim Cathey was taken there in 2012.


From his obituary, “…For several years Doug owned a dude string near the Grand Canyon. He worked as Maintenance Supervisor at Parry Lodge for over 18 years. Doug always enjoyed writing and acting. He acted in many plays and has written, directed and produced several melodramas at the Old Barn Playhouse and Crescent Moon Theatre. He wrote Cowboy Poetry for over 40 years and was invited to perform all over the West. Doug compiled a book of his poems in 2012 called Songs of the Land – Poems of the West. Doug was a Silver Buckle winner at the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in 2005 and was also the Cowboy Poet Laureate of Kane County….

“…A graveside service [will be] held Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 1:00 PM in the Kanab Utah Cemetery, with military honors by American Legion Post 69. A livestream broadcast can be accessed at Doug Keller Graveside Service about 10 minutes before service time.”

Jo Lynne Kirkwood adds, “When the Paiutes have a death in the tribe they hold an all-night sing, which culminates with four songs at sunrise to sing the departed on (his) way over the Grand Canyon.  They will be at the graveside, and will sing the final four songs for Doug.  Kenny Hall will also be there to sing for Doug, and Dennis Judd will speak.  Penny plans to read one of Doug’s poems… Later, when we can gather, there will be more of a celebration for Doug.”

The broadcast will be archived at Mosdel Mortuary.

Doug Keller is survived by his wife Penny Savage and children from a previous marriage.

Read more here.

In Our Thoughts: Charley (C.W.) Bell, 1931-2020


We were sad to learn of the death of Charley (C.W.) Bell, January 17, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Charley had been a member of the Cowboy Poets of Utah; participated in the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, Utah; and was a long-time part of and generous supporter of

His bio at tells that he spent his youth cowboying in the Cheyenne, Wyoming area and went on to college at the University of Wyoming. He was a college professor in San Jose, California, and retired from that and cowboyed again in Wyoming and in Utah.

Find some of his poetry at


Charley on his first horse, age 4.



by Jane Morton (1931-2020)

I hear the windmills creak and squeak
As wheels turned toward the wind.
Those mills pumped water for the stock
On which our hopes were pinned.

The sucker rods moved up and down
While wheels spun round and round.
They sucked the fossil water up
For use above the ground.

The windmills made life possible
On flat and dry terrain.
They kept the stock tanks well-supplied
Despite infrequent rain.

To us those wooden windmills were
The pyramids of the plains
More monumental than the ones
That held pharos’ remains.

My family, too, faced winds head on–
The winds of chance and change,
The winds that blew with blizzard force
And howled across the range.

And like the windmills on our ranch,
We anchored to that place
Until the winds became so strong
They ripped us from our base.

© 2003, Jane Morton
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission.

With great sadness, we learned that popular poet Jane Morton died on February 16, 2020.

As we’ve written elsewhere, Jane wrote poetry and prose about her family’s ranch history, which began with her great great grandfather, a circuit-riding Baptist minister who left Illinois and headed to Colorado in 1872. Generations later, her mother, Eva Lena Ambrose, was surprised to discover that her husband, a teacher and coach, was determined to return to the family farm that eventually became the family ranch. Her mother faced a harder-than-expected life with dignity.

Jane Morton shared this photo taken at her family’s ranch in Colorado in the 1970s or 1980s and told us that the photo was “… of the calving shed, which is part of a larger pasture outside the fence where, in November, they bring in the heifers who are going to be calving for the winter… The corrals there are used during branding. There is a big brush pile, most of it out of view, that provides shelter for the cattle during the winter storms… ”


In her award-winning book, Turning to Face the Wind, Jane Morton includes the photo of the same shed, “and the heifers and calves that have been rounded up for branding. The heifers will be separated from the calves and turned out to pasture where they will stand by the fence calling for their calves… In the book, the photo accompanies her poem, “The Cows Came First,” that ends with a wry observation about her mother, a reluctant ranch wife:

Dad bought one stone for both of them,
and he had it engraved.
A cow and windmill took the place
of flowers she had craved.

When mother said the cows came first;
she knew my dad too well.
Above her final resting place,
that cow will always dwell.


A detail from the photo is used as the cover and within the 2007 edition of Deep West videos, from the Western Folklife Center. The videos are a collection of films made by ranch families, “first-hand stories from the rural West that are rooted in the values of life on the land.”

Watch that Deep West video and hear Jane recite “Turning to Face the Wind” and another poem and tell about the windmills, her father and his tractor, and about aspects of the ranch that have changed over time.

The video was also aired on the Rocky Mountain Public Broadcasting Network along with other films in its Real Colorado series.

Jane made two other Deep West videos, one with her poem “Branding” and great photos, and another, “At the Edge of the Aquifer,” about a cowboy living on the Ambrose ranch in Colorado and the water issues he faces.

Jane and Dick Morton were married for over sixty-six years.

Find more about Jane Morton and more of her poetry at

Jane Morton’s talents and cheerful presence will be missed greatly. We are fortunate to have her poems, stories, and recordings.

JaneMorton2003 (1)

Find an obituary here.



(Please respect copyright. To share this poem, request permission.)

Jane Ambrose Morton, 1931-2020

JaneMorton2003 (1)

We’re sad to report the death of popular poet Jane Morton, a friend to many—and a part of from its earliest days. Her husband, poet and reciter Dick Morton wrote to say that she had died Sunday, February 16, 2020. Jane and Dick were married for over 66 years. A memorial service will take place in August at their home in Colorado.

Jane wrote poetry and prose about her family’s ranch history, which began with her great great grandfather, a circuit-riding Baptist minister who left Illinois and headed to Colorado in 1872. Generations later, her mother, Eva Lena Ambrose, was surprised to discover that her husband, a teacher and coach, was determined to return to the family farm that eventually became the family ranch. Her mother faced a harder-than-expected life with dignity.

Each year we launch Cowboy Poetry Week with Jane’s poem that well described her own inspiration for writing:

by Jane Morton

The round-ups, the brandings,
the calvings are done,
as ranchers sell out
and move on one by one.

We must tell the stories,
so memories live on,
past time when the tellers
themselves are long gone.

© 2004, Jane Morton, used with permission

Jane stopped performing several years ago. She has award-winning books and a CD of her poetry. Find more about her and some of her poetry and ranch history at

Email if you’d like contact information for Dick Morton.

Find an obituary here.

In Our Thoughts: Bob Schild 1931-2020

2009 photo by Jeri Dobrowski

 Yvonne Hollenbeck shared the sad news of the passing of poet, saddlemaker, and rode champion Bob Schild, January 20, 2020. She wrote:

Bob Schild was one of the finest cowboy poets in our modern day, and was such a fine person. A world champion NIRA saddle bronc rider, a world class gentleman. He will be sorely missed.

Rod Miller has a fine tribute, “The Whistle Has Sounded,” at his blog.

Arrangements are being handled by Hawker Funeral Home, where there will be an Find an obituary here, which tells, “Visitation for family and friends will be Thursday, January 30th from 11:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Hawker Funeral Home, 132 S. Shilling Avenue in Blackfoot.  Interment will follow in the Groveland Cemetery.” There will be a celebration of life at a later date.

This poem of his says much about the man:

by Bob Schild (1931-2020)

This life’s been a grand undertaking
On a long and a tortuous trail;
Emotions and dreams kept us floating
Like ships breaking waves at full sail.

We’ve partaken of visual wonders…
Watched the trout rise to harvest a fly—
While mountains—shaken by thunder—
Flashed neon ‘neath lightning-framed sky…

We’ve thrilled at the elk’s lusty whistle
Marveled at spots on a fawn;
Then, quick as a shot from a pistol:
These symbols of freedom were gone.

We’ve rigged a team in dray trappings,
Sowed joy from a buckboard behind,
Motivated by multitudes clapping,
In response to old ballads aligned.

We’ve sought for the fruits of the forest—
These ravaged and gutted by man,
Whose intentions—not always the purest,
Embrace his municipal plan.

We’ve seen sections of lush vegetation—
Which loss we may never atone,
Yield to a civilization…
Its asphalt, skyscrapers and stone.

Ox wagons, once truly symbolic…
A vestige of migrations west,
Wore wheels that preceded the frolic
of autos man soon would possess.

Songs Written in Delicate sonnets,
Harmonized in a warm hearted swoon,
Emphasized a pure life on the planet—
While rockets raced up to the moon.

We’ve seen the invincible humbled,
Our century three quarters gone,
From the full bloom of youth we have stumbled
And still times march presses on.

Now fanatics die by the legion;
They call this, “Allegiance to God,”
Others leap to defend each his region;
It’s the righteous who bloody the rod!

It’s peculiar, the road we have traveled,
And, no doubt, we’d transverse it again.
Do not bolt as the world comes unraveled,
But, drive on, for great goodness remains.

© 2006, Bob Schild, used with permission

A long-time part of, Bob Schild shared his story, with photos:

I was born in Rexburg, Idaho in 1931, at the beginning of The Great Depression; any and all financial stability previously enjoyed by the family (I was the second of five) gone. To the day my Dad died, he was never able to recapture the good times. These times had been tough before, now they were catastrophic.

By the time I reached seven years of age, after several relocations, we settled on a farm-livestock operation on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Harry Hart, soon to become World Champion Steer Wrestler (1939) maintained a practice arena on the edge of the property. In the summer months nearly all the area calf ropers and steer wrestlers met there regularly to hone their skills; my brother Jack and I were usually rapt observers, dragging our own rope fragments and dabbing a loop on anything we could approach. There, and then, was born in us both the desire to become rodeo hands….

The story continues here, where there are additional poems.


Steer wrestling, courtesy Bob Schild

In Our Thoughts: Terry Hynes, 1947-2020


We are sad to learn of the death of Terry Hynes, who contributed his poetry at

His daughter shared his obituary:


Here lies
Terry Hynes
A simple man
of simple rhymes.

February 24, 1947 to January 15, 2020

It’s not often a person gets to write their own obituary,  so being who I am, I cannot let this opportunity go past without at least contributing a few of my own thoughts as to what should be included here.

I won’t go into details and exploits of my growing up. I’ll leave that to others to embellish and describe, suffice to say that, like most kids, I was at times both a pleasure and a disappointment to my parents and my family.

I can however, honestly state, that as an adult, I never purposely tried to harm or mistreat other people, but to always be fair and consider their position both in social or business situations.

I was blessed very young in life to find and marry a woman that would stay with me and love me through all my ups and downs as well as provide me with three of the greatest children a man could wish for. Whom in turn would bless me with five fantastic grandchildren. What more can you want.

I have also been blessed with having a large and caring extended family. Many of whom became close to me like brothers and sisters. Ahh, my brothers!

Like most siblings growing up as children, the four of us would at times, argue, fight, and tease each other unmercifully. As the eldest, I’m sure I had the advantage most of the times. However, we gradually got to know each other as adults and, in most cases, developed a new respect for each other as grown men. Through many visits, holidays, and run-away fishing trips, we shared many adventures, laughs, and stories that brought us together as friends and brothers once more…


Unfortunately, Terry passed suddenly without completing some of the tasks he wanted, including the rest of his thoughts to this obituary so let us jump in…

Family get-togethers and visits over a glass of wine with a story or two will never be the same without Terry. At 72, Terry leaves behind his teenage love and wife of 53 years Jeannette, three children Jenelle (Henry), Jolayne (Kevin) and David, four grandchildren, Joshua, Nathan, Jayson & Grace plus step granddaughter Emma. He was predeceased by his parents Margaret Rey and Thomas Hynes. Terry was the eldest of four boys and leaves brothers Rick, Dale and Gordie to continue fishing without him.

Terry was a second generation, proud BC’er who as he said, lived a full and happy life with no regrets.  He was an incredibly hard worker always providing for his family. He and Jeannette eloped on April 9, 1966 to Coeur d’ Alene Idaho and later that year welcomed the first of their three children. From Kelowna, to Victoria, to Prince George, to

Cranbrook, to Kelowna and finally retirement in Grand Forks, Terry made good friends in each of the BC communities

they lived. There isn’t a road in BC that he hasn’t travelled on and all that knew him knew he always had a piece of his heart in the Klondike and the romance of the gold rush.  He had a full and diverse career in the navy, as a welder, real- estate agent, businessman, heavy equipment salesman and most recently twice published author. Always dabbling in poetry and storytelling Terry, at 70, published his first book Stories that Rhyme and Sometimes Amuse. Two years later, this past May, he published his second book Stories that Amuse and Sometimes Rhyme. He kept track of where his books were sold and who contacted him directly to purchase his books. He knew for certain his books made it throughout Canada as well as the United States, England, Australia, Netherlands and Japan. It brought Terry great joy and pleasure being recognized with numerous poetry awards and the publishing of his rhyming stories in various publications across Canada and the UK.

Our loss is deep. It was Terry’s wish not to have family and friends travel during the winter months to share a story or two and a glass of wine, so last honours will be held on April 9 in Kelowna BC (details to be announced later).

In Our Thoughts: Gwen Petersen


Gwen Petersen, popular poet and columnist at The Fence Post sends this message on December 5, 2019:


How’s your health?

Just thought I’d ask as mine is in the toilet.  I’ll be 92 in February, provided I live that long.

Seems I have a debilitating condition and nobody  can figure out what is.  I have had to give up skydiving and cross country skiing.

Currently I am in the hospital and so far training the nurses is a challenge.  Doctor can’t tell me what’s the matter, he just gives me a hard time.

I can’t eat more than a bite or two at a time, so I am losing weight.  So I have gotten weaker and weaker which pisses me off!  So letting you know and you can
pass the word on to friends and family.

I’ll keep you posted if anything changes, I am feeling perkier but by no means getting well.  The following is where I am currently incarcerated:

Pioneer Medical Center
301 W 7th Ave.
Big Timber, MT 59011

Better to call my cell [contact us for her number]. Have to go now the bird of paradise just flew up my nose.

P.S.  Doc guestimated I got about 2-3 months to go.


Thanks to Yvonne Hollenbeck and to C.J. Hadley of RANGE magazine, who both shared information.