Judy LaVerne Stockdale Bothum entered this world on June 16, 1941, in Enterprise, Ore.
The eldest daughter of Ina and Gayle Stockdale, Judy was born with a loving heart and an indomitable spirit. Smart, adventurous and more courageous than most, she has faced life’s challenges, no matter how difficult.
Judy spent her early childhood with her parents and younger siblings at the family ranch north of Enterprise, Oregon. It was here that his love of cattle and ranching was formed. She became an accomplished horse rider at a young age and competed in junior rodeos and horse shows across the Pacific Northwest. She has won countless awards and full titles on her horse, Ole Blackie. A stunning duo to watch, they’ve worn it in a lot of events, but they really excelled at handling and cutting. Judy was also very active in 4-H and FFA, showing off cattle, pigs and sheep.
The family moved to town in 1953 and Judy attended Enterprise Elementary School and then High School. It was an idyllic childhood living and spanning what is now known as the Historic OK Theater built in 1919.
She was involved in many activities, including being part of the cheerleading team during her graduate years. In 1958, Gayle and Ina decided to move to Clarkston, which gave them more opportunities to pursue their dream of owning their own horse training facility. Although it was a difficult move for Judy, she chose to leave with her family rather than stay in Enterprise with her grandparents to finish high school. That summer, she had the honor of serving as a princess on the court at Chief Joseph Days Rodeo, riding her favorite mount, Ole Blackie!
In 1959, the tall, slender beauty graduated from high school and moved to Colorado to embark on a modeling career for Panhandle Slim Western Wear. Eventually, eager for family, friends and her life with the horses, she was called back to Clarkston. She then worked as a stationery secretary for Potlatch Forests and returned to rodeo and horse shows. This turned out to be a fortuitous decision on her part, as she met her future husband, J. Shirly Bothum, at the Lewiston Roundup Grounds.
Shirly and Judy were married on November 4, 1961. They had been in love for ages. They started life together on a series of small ranches that they bought and built, eventually purchasing 11,000 acres deep in Shumaker Grade east of Anatone, on the banks of the Grande Ronde River. It was a steep, secluded place, with an old sheep camp hut and barn. Lacking modern amenities but with courage, determination and a formidable work ethic, the young couple turned the cabin into a home and the ranch into a thriving ranching operation. Their eldest daughter, Sheila Bothum Klausen, was born in November 1964. It was a grueling trip out of the canyon in wintry weather to get to the hospital in time for the birth of their first child. It was shortly after the young Bothum family returned to Clarkston.
Jill Bothum Hansen arrived in August 1967 and Katy Jane Bothum Seaton completed their family in November 1975.
J. Shirly Bothum has become a renowned Western and animal sculptor whose career has been recognized and recognized across the country. Judy, as a business partner, with her bright smile and humble demeanor charmed people from all walks of life. She never knew a stranger and could get along with everyone from the Hollywood Hills to the Rolling Hills. Judy’s accomplishments weren’t just limited to cows and horses. During her lifetime, she grew her own food for her family, refurbished furniture and woven macrame. She sewed clothes, made play dolls and quilts for comfort. She invented “carpet tiles” and quilted a living room rug and knitted cowichan sweaters. She knew how to have fun and she knew how to create pleasure; she was just quite talented.
In January 2002, her inner strength was put to the test with the sudden death of her beloved husband, who suffered a massive heart attack. Despite her grief, Judy was determined to continue. Her roots in Wallowa County had brought Judy and Shirly back to Joseph, Oregon several years earlier. The small town was becoming the Mecca of artists and bronze founders. They built a house and a studio on the banks of the Wallowa River, framed by stunning views of majestic mountains. After her death, Judy converted the art studio into guest accommodation and basically tested Airbnb in beta. Thus, the Cowboy Riverfront Retreat has become a reality. A hostess by birth, the business has flourished thanks to her innate ability to draw people to her and the unique charm she has infused into the decor. She created a magical place to rejuvenate soul and energy. It has expanded with two other properties as a “super host” with “The Bunk House” and “Judy’s Cow Camp”.
After a valiant three-week battle against COVID-19, Judy’s earthly journey ended on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, when God called her home. We are all comforted to know that Judy’s deep and unwavering faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has sustained her through the many challenges of this life.
Let us remember all that she was … a devoted wife, a loving mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a civic leader. Highlights of her activism include: PEO President, The Elks Lodge, March of Dimes, 30-year-old 4-H Leader, 2010 Wallowa County Employee of the Year, Chef Joseph Days Volunteer of the Year and, later, in 2015, Grand Marshal, Honorary FFA Diploma and much more. She was talented in so many ways and served her communities with a generous heart.
If you would like to donate in honor of Judy, please direct them to the following: The Wallowa Lake Lodge, Wallowa County Memorial Hospital, Wallowa County Museum or purchase an animal from the Wallowa County Fair Livestock Sale. Follow the adventure continues as Judy’s family welcome wonderful guests to the most beautiful place in the world. The three girls will have to do a job half as good as this one woman. It’s a true story.
This is NOT a farewell, dear Judy, for we will join you someday when God calls us home.
Judy was predeceased by her husband, J. Shirly Bothum; his parents, Gayle and Ina Stockdale; and his younger brother, Clell. She is survived by her daughters and their families: Michael and Sheila Klausen and their children, Grant and Courtney; Jill Hansen, Chase and Maddy Hansen and Clayton and Rylee Hansen; Nicholas and Katy Jane Seaton and their children, Tucker and McClain.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the OK Theater in Enterprise, Ore., At 11 a.m. on August 21. Details to follow on his memorial page at the Merchant Funeral Home and on his personal Facebook page.