VAN TASSELL – Dorothy Joan (Weintz) Reilly passed away on Oct. 23, 2021 at her ranch in Van Tassell.
Jo was born June 4, 1935 in Worland. She attended grade school in Hyattville, graduating from Manderson High School in 1953.
Growing up, Jo’s family raised Hereford cattle and Thoroughbred horses on the ranch, on Paintrock Creek. Jo’s dad was a stock contractor for many rodeos in Wyoming and surrounding states. For the rodeos they had brahma cattle and bucking horses that were trailed to the rodeos. Jo started trick riding at her Dad’s rodeos and then was able to get contracts for others as well. She raised and trained her own horses, as well as designing and sewing all her own outfits. She had an RCA card and trick rode for around 10 years.
In 1960, Jo was diagnosed with lip cancer. She got married soon after and was then diagnosed with thyroid cancer. This required cobalt treatments which put an end to trick riding, when her sense of balance was compromised. They gave her five years to live after the treatments, but that didn’t slow her down.
Jo had three children before her divorce. She spent the next 20 years raising her family, cattle, horses, pigs and sheep on farms in Washakie and Big Horn Counties.
Looking for a fresh start and pasture for her cattle, she sold the pigs and moved to Fremont County to work for Malmbergs on Twin Creek, then leased the Lyman farm for several years. She was later able to purchase a farm in the Midvale area. Longing to return to ranch life that she had grown up with, she purchased a ranch at Van Tassell.
Jo has spent her 80+ years on either a farm or ranch, leaving only to work during the week at Northern Wyoming Daily News in Worland, and hauling sugar beets in the fall to help make ends meet.
Jo carried her WPRA card, enabling her to run barrels professionally in the 80’s and 90’s. Jo was a 4-H leader for many years and a chaperone at state fair, she was a 65 + year member of VFW.
In later years, if horses didn’t break out easily, she would buck them. This opportunity led to her homebred horses selling to local contractors and bucking at various rodeos around the state. Including a mare that she proudly remembers bucked off PRCA cowboy Dan Mortenson.
Jo will always be remembered for her amazing angel food cake, hillbilly cake, cabbage rolls and her big beautiful vegetable and flower gardens.
Jo is survived by her children; J.C., Aletha (Jack), Amy (Daniel). Her grandchildren Kylie, Jesse, Aiden, Jami and Wyatt.
Jo was preceded in death by her parents; John Mercer and Kathryn Weintz, various aunts, uncles and cousins.
Memorials may be made to: Wyoming Cowboy Hall of Fame, PO Box 404, Saratoga, WY 82331; or to The Montgomery Trust Fund, c/o Vision Outreach, 122 W. 25th St., Ste.200, Cheyenne, WY 82002-2060.
Memorial services were held in Lusk Oct. 30, 2021. Burial in Ten Sleep will be in the spring of 2022.
Pier Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.