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Donna Dickson

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 7 months ago

Donna Jack Spence Dickson was born on a farm in Maple Valley, MI on August 31, 1916. She said, “My folks decided that if I was a boy they’d name me Jack. I wasn’t, but they stuck it in anyway.” She started school when she was 4 because her mother had twins and Donna thought they were boring. She said, “So, I ran away to join my older brother & sister at school. My mother would come to get me with one twin under each arm. Finally the teacher said, ‘Oh, just leave her’. I graduated from high school at 15 and had gone to one year of college in Spearfish, SD, when my mother went to apply for a job in Oshoto, WY. After the Superintendent hired her, he turned to me and said, ‘How about you?’” This was 1933 and the Depression. Donna took the job and got a special permit to teach for 3 days until she turned 18 & was of legal age. Donna lived in the teacherage with her mother and walked 3 miles to her school. She said, “I wore bib overalls and high galoshes. I had to start the fire in the stove. I kept skirts at school to put on and teach in.” After her year at Oshoto, Donna went back to Spearfish and then on to UW to earn her Elementary Education degree.

While in Laramie she met Bill Dickson, a business major. While he was finishing his degree she taught 4th grade in Torrington for one year. They were married in 1937. The couple moved to Rock Springs where Bill had grown up. The school ‘hired’ Donna but could not give her a contract because she was a married woman. So she subbed every day at $10/day, making more money than Bill. She ‘subbed’for for 5 years. Their daughter Jamie was born in May, 1942. Donna said, “I didn’t have to work anymore. Bill made enough. He grew a mustache so he’d look older and started his own real estate and insurance company. I was a stay-at-home mom.” Bill and Donna had several businesses in Rock Springs including 2 housing additions/subdivisions, a laundromat, a credit bureau, a motel, and an apartment complex.

Donna served on the Governor’s Council for the Arts, the Cultural Affairs Committee at WWCC, & the Board of the Fine Arts Center. Donna has been a member of the Women’s Club for 60 years and PEO for 50 years. She and Bill lived in Rock Springs for 62 years “But,” she said, “Pinedale has always been our home away from home. We started coming up about 50 years ago. We bought a trailer and put it at Lakeside Lodge. I’m an ardent fisherman. We’d spent 2 days in Pinedale and 5 days in Rock Springs. Over the years it became 5 days in Pinedale and 2 days in Rock Springs!” Eight years ago Jamie helped them decide to move into the Sublette Center where Bill died 3 years ago. Donna has enjoyed bridge, golf, gardening and art. She has painted all her life – from pencil sketches as a child to commissioned oil paintings to what she now calls “fooling around with watercolors”.

Jamie married Mike Kaul and they had 2 sons. Donna has 3 great-grandchildren. Donna finds joy in life & has a positive attitude. She said, “I guess I’m a character. I like spunky people. I had a good marriage. Bill & I worked well together. He calmed me down and I pepped him up. I have a wonderful daughter. I’ve been blessed.” By Judi Myers

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