Judy LaVerne Stockdale Bothum entered this world in Enterprise, OR on June 16, 1941. The eldest child of Ina and Gayle Stockdale, Judy was born with a loving heart and an indomitable spirit. Intelligent, adventurous, and braver than most, she faced life’s challenges head-on, no matter how difficult.
The family moved into town in 1953 where Judy attended Enterprise-grade school, then high school. It was an idyllic childhood living and expanding in what is now known as the Historic OK Theatre built in 1919.
She participated in many activities including serving on the cheerleading squad her sophomore and junior years. In 1958, Gayle and Ina decided to relocate to Clarkston, WA, which offered more opportunities to pursue their dream of owning their own horse training facility. While it was a difficult move for Judy, she chose to go with her family rather than stay in Enterprise with her grandparents to finish high school. That summer, she was honored to serve as princess on the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo Court, riding her favorite mount, Ole Blackie!
Shirly and Judy were married on November 4, 1961. Theirs was a love for ages. They started life together on a series of small ranches they purchased and built up, eventually buying 11,000 acres at the bottom of Shumaker Grade east of Anatone, WA on the banks of the Grand Round River. It was a steep, remote location, with an old sheep camp cabin & barn. Lacking modern amenities but with sheer grit, determination, and tremendous work ethic, the young couple transformed the shack into a home and the ranch into a thriving cattle operation. Their eldest daughter, Sheila Bothum Klausen, was born in November 1964. It was a harrowing trip out of the canyon during winter weather to make it to the hospital in time for the birth of their first child! It was soon after the young Bothum family moved back to Clarkston, Washington. Jill Bothum Hansen arrived in August 1967 and Katy Jane Bothum Seaton completed their family in November of 1975.
J. Shirly Bothum became a renowned western and wildlife sculptor whose career gained accolades and awards across the nation. Judy, as his business partner, with her brilliant smile and humble attitude charmed people from all walks of life. She never knew a stranger and could hold her own with everyone, from the Hollywood Hills to the Rolling Hills. Judy’s accomplishments weren’t limited to just cows & horses though. In her lifetime, she grew her own food for her family, refinished furniture, and braided macrame. She sewed clothes, made dolls for play and quilts for comfort. She invented “Carpet tiles” and quilted a living room rug and knitted couchacan sweaters. She knew how to have fun and she knew how to create fun; she was simply quite talented.
In January of 2002, her inner strength was severely tested with the sudden passing of her beloved husband who suffered a massive heart attack. Despite her grief, Judy was determined to continue. Her roots in Wallowa County had drawn Judy and Shirly back to Joseph, OR several years earlier. The small town was becoming a mecca for artists and bronze foundries. They built a home and a studio on the banks of the Wallowa River, framed by stunning views of majestic mountains. After his passing, Judy converted the art studio to guest lodging and basically beta-tested AirBnB! Thus, the Cowboy Riverfront Retreat became a reality. A natural-born hostess, the business thrived with her innate ability to draw people to her and the unique charm she infused in the décor. She created a magical place to rejuvenate one’s soul and energy. She expanded with two more properties as a “Super Host” with the “The Bunk House” and “Judy’s Cow Camp.”
After a valiant 3-week battle with COVID19, Judy’s earthly journey ended on May 11th, 2021, when God called her home. We are all comforted by the knowledge that Judy’s deep abiding faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ sustained her throughout this life’s many challenges.
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 President of PEO, The Elks Lodge, March of Dimes, a 30 Year 4-H Leader, Wallowa County 2010 Employee of the Year, Chief Joseph Days Volunteer of the Year, and later, in 2015, Grand Marshall, Honorary FFA Degree and so much more. She was talented in a multitude of ways and served her communities with a giving heart.
If you would like to donate in honor of Judy, please direct them toward the following: The Wallowa Lake Lodge, Wallowa County Memorial Hospital, Wallowa County Museum or purchase an animal at the Wallowa County Fair Livestock Sale. Follow the continuing adventure as Judy’s family hosts wonderful guests in the most beautiful place in the world. It will take all 3 girls to do ½ as good of a job as that one woman. That’s a True Story.
Judy is preceded in death by her husband J. Shirly Bothum, her parents Gayle and Ina Stockdale, and her younger brother Clell. She is survived by her daughters and their families. Michael & Sheila Klausen and their children Grant & Courtney. Jill Hansen, Chase & Maddy Hansen, and Clayton & Rylee Hansen. Nicholas & Katy Jane Seaton and their children Tucker & McClain. A Celebration of Life will be planned for Judy later this summer.
Details to follow on her Memorial Page at Merchants Funeral Home and on her personal Facebook page.