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‘Burro Lady’ dead at age 65

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Big Bend bids farewell
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2007, 07:40:42 PM »

(photo by JAMES EVANS)
The burro lady in Marathon.

Big Bend bids farewell to the burro lady

The burro lady, she’s gone.

Her name was Judy Ann Magers, though not many people called her that when they spoke of her. She and her succession of burros have been a part of the Big Bend landscape since the 1980s, and she died on the roadside in Sierra Blanca last Friday. She was 65.

“We all knew her, but didn’t know her,” Hudspeth County Judge Becky Dean Walker said this week. “She was something.”

Her home was the big lonesome. Alone with her burro, she roamed the bar ditches from Terlingua to Marfa and from Marathon to Sierra Blanca. She carried whatever she required on the back of the donkey, and he was ever-laden with a tangled heap of tarps, blankets, and plastic bags of belongings and trinkets. Her bearing in the saddle was very erect, almost regal, and the stately image was furthered by the burro’s majestically slow pace. A friend once told me that he called her La Reina, the queen. It’s what we called her in my household.

There were things, less tangible things, she carried that were heavier than cook pots and blankets. Magers rarely spoke. While she occasionally visited a little with friends about animals or saddles, she rejected most conversation, certainly with strangers, and rebuffed questions about who she was or where she came from. She traveled a singular path for reasons known only to her, and what secrets she had remained secret.

“She never would talk about her past to me,” recalled Bill Ivey. “Not much is known about her.”

Ivey came to know the burro lady in 1982, in her pre-burro days. He owned the Lajitas Trading Post at the time, and she simply arrived one day, camped in Colorado Canyon all by herself.

“I was fortunate to see her blossom,” Ivey said. “When she first came, she wouldn’t talk to anybody. It might take her 45 minutes to work up the courage to ask me for the groceries she wanted. For years, she wouldn’t talk to anyone but me, but over time, she became more trusting.”

Ivey was eventually named her legal guardian, and he helped keep track of her and the Social Security money she depended upon each month.

Magers moved to Lajitas, onto property owned by Ivey, after the Colorado Canyon camp she’d used for years became part of Big Bend Ranch State Park. It was during this time that she changed her name from Freeman to Magers, and again, no one knows why. She stayed around Lajitas for several years, and then, with the acquisition of her first burro, she became increasingly nomadic.

“She became very, very close to her burros,” Ivey said.

La Reina had a series of burros. What she asked of them was tough work, and she’d trade them out when they became too footsore to go on. Mouse-colored, chocolate, spotted – some lasted longer than others. Despite the rigors of the job, she and her animals appeared to develop deep, abiding relationships. Some years ago, she appeared driving a 1960’s model Cadillac. The back end of the car had been cut out somehow, and she would convince the burro to hop in and ride. Pass by them on the road to Valentine, and she’d be sacked out on a bedroll in the shade of the car; the burro still standing crazily in the Cadillac’s trunk.

Her travels brought her north, to Presidio, Marfa and Marathon. She was in Marfa the day Martha Stewart and her entourage were in town. Magers had tied the burro to a pole in front of the Chamberlain building downtown and gone inside the old Winn’s dimestore. I happened upon Martha and her crowd as they discovered the burro. La Reina, at that time, had developed a collection of plastic Pepsi bottles and metal spoons, and dozens of each hung off the burro’s pack. His lead rope that tied him to the pole was a line of flimsy bits of string pieced together; he could’ve decided to leave and walk away at any moment. Martha and her friends fingered the objects on his back and pet him and posed for pictures. I asked them to move on, and said that his owner wouldn’t appreciate them messing with the burro. Magers came hustling out of Winn’s at that very moment and set about untying her animal and getting him away in a fury. I tried to tell her that I was trying to help, but given the look she threw me, I’m not sure she understood.

It’s okay. Lots of people tried to help her over the years.

 “Everyone I’ve talked to has a story about her and they’ve all watched after her,” said Ivey.

One person who looked out for the burro lady was Judge Walker, in Sierra Blanca. People commonly offered Magers charity – a place to stay, a bath, food or water for the burro – though she rarely accepted anything other than a lift from one place to another. Walker had rigged a 55-gallon drum of water outside her ranch gate for the burro. She told Magers about it.

“Oh you shouldn’t have done that,” Walker says the burro lady told her. “She’d water her donkey and leave change. If I didn’t pick up the change, she wouldn’t water the donkey until I took the change. She didn’t want to be a burden.”

Last Thursday she’d accepted a ride to a truckstop in Van Horn, where she showered to warm up. She refused an offer to go to the local shelter and on Friday morning, Magers and the burro were camped near the old Border Patrol station in Sierra Blanca. A sheriff’s deputy stopped by the camp.

“Occasionally we’d check on her and she’d get halfway irritated with us,” said Chief Deputy Mike Doyal. “She was a very independent person, to say the least. We made it a point to check on her Friday and she said she was fine.”

That afternoon, a friend of Judge Walker drove past Mager’s campsite and noticed she was putting on lip balm. A moment later, he turned back toward town and passed her again. She’d fallen and the driver rushed to her side and called 911. Help came within a minute, but she had passed away.

“She wasn’t alone when she died,” said the judge.

The burro lady is in a Fabens area funeral home while Ivey and others arrange for her burial. She was specific about the arrangements. She wanted to be buried at the cemetery in Terlingua, with her boots, hat and spurs on. Somehow, her hat and boots were not among her possessions in Sierra Blanca. Walker and Ivey will make sure that she gets some replacements.

The burro is at Walker’s ranch, receiving TLC, recuperating from a wound on his back and being plumped up with good feed. He’s grieving, she said.

“He cried for a day and a half,” said Walker. “I’d piled the blankets in his pen and he’d look under them for her, moaning. It makes you cry.”

A fund has been set up to help with burial expenses. Memorial donations can be sent to Judy Magers Memorial Fund, c/o St. Agnes Church, P.O. Box 295, Terlingua, Texas 79852. Attempts have also been made to contact a daughter who’s believed to live in South Dakota.

So fiercely independent, so careful to live on her own terms, the burro lady likely had no idea how much she was beloved.

“She was very well cared for by the community, yet everyone respected her privacy and didn’t pry,” said her old friend Bill Ivey. “She’s the most famous unknown person I’ve ever known. That’s part of what this area is about. You can come out here and be who you want to be.”



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The Funeral....
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2007, 03:53:17 PM »
We've gone as far as we can go with the burro lady, she's in good hands now...

From the Border HotLine...

Linda Bailey Potter 11.FEB.07
TERLINGUA – That January Monday morning emerged bright and clear with a promise of a much-needed sun-warmed day. It began and ended with family hugs and a community radiating with love and kindness toward their departed friend Judy Ann Magers, the Burro Lady. But, last week it didn’t start out that way as West Texans, and beyond, learned of Magers’ death, who had died from natural causes at her campsite on a cold winter morning near Sierra Blanca.

As the news became reality there was then the task of notifying her nearest relatives, making funeral arrangements and gathering a community together to say their last goodbyes. But, who were her relatives? Some said that they thought she had a daughter, others that all her family had died in a house fire. But, then, that’s when the wonderful aspect of Magers’ funeral affair started and continued throughout the next week.

The Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t find her next of kin. Magers had died on Friday, Jan. 26, by Monday the news had spread across the Chihuahuan Desert. Bill Ivey, Magers’ government appointed guardian, finally decided to have her funeral at the Terlingua Cemetery where she had told him years before that it was where she wanted to be buried, on “Terlingua Boothill.” Preparations were made and the funeral was set for late Thursday afternoon, Feb. 1. The word went out asking for donations to help with burial expenses.

Ivey was in El Paso Thursday morning about to leave for Fort Hancock to get the casket when he got a phone call that Magers’ family had been found. Not only did she have a daughter, but that she had five children, two sons and three daughters, and 11 grandchildren. The sheriff’s office was notified and the funeral was cancelled until further notice.

Magers’ family then had to come to grips with the shock that their mother had died and that they had to make arrangements for her burial. Then another remarkable thing happened, all five children decided to come to Texas and attend their mother’s funeral. Again, the funeral was set for graveside services 11 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5, in the Terlingua Cemetery.

Her children came from South Dakota, North Dakota, Arizona and California. Some had not seen each other for years and had exchanged few phone calls. Magers’ funeral affair brought them together in Terlingua on the bend of the Rio Grande.

They came because they wanted to show love and respect for their mother and to thank those who looked after her and showed her kindness for all these many years. Some of the children had not known where their mother was, although they had looked for her, others had a few precious phone conservations with her over the years and maybe a brief visit. But, they all had longed once again to be close to her.

And, then another wonderful thing happened. As Ivey arrived at the Terlingua church with the casket Sunday evening before the funeral all five children arrived at the same time, and they alone then carried her casket into the church.
Before the funeral the next day the children sat in a semi-circle in front of the casket and said their goodbyes. Then, in a pickup that belonged to one of her sons and followed by a burro, they brought her wooden coffin to the cemetery for its final resting place.

Ivey officiated at the service. It was heartfelt and moving to hear him tell of his memories of Magers, as were the testimonies given by friends who shared their thoughts about the “Burro Lady.” There were over a hundred in attendance consisting of elected officials, writers, photographers and community members who will miss seeing their friend riding her burro along the highways and byways.

After the service there was a potluck supper for all who wanted to hang around and exchange more stories and meet the family. For a group who prides themselves on protecting their space, Terlingua-ians showed everyone that they do come together for one of their own and Magers certainly did belong to this let-live community.

Judy Ann Magers was not homeless, as outsiders might categorize her, and she was certainly not alone, although she preferred to feel the wind at her back and the stars shining down on her as she camped at night in the desert with only her burro as company.

By all accounts the “Burro Lady” was a woman of few words, like most of those special individuals who prefer to “live on the land.”

She probably looked down from cowgirl heaven at her funeral affair astonished and unable to speak even less to see how many lives she had touched, especially her children who were together once again with love for her pouring from their hearts. It was touching to see broken pieces of life come together once again after so many years of doubt. Yes, the Burro Lady’s funeral affair was wonderful, maybe even a little magical.



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Nice Pic...
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2007, 05:17:34 PM »

Photo of Judy Magers, "The Burro Lady," in Terlingua, 2002, by Bonnie Wunderlich)
Magers was, unwittingly, a highly public persona throughout West Texas, though she remained intensely private throughout her decades of walking the highways of the region, sleeping on roadsides and talking with locals mostly just enough to obtain the bare necessities. by Don McDowell, Fred Gossien, James Evans, & Bonnie Wunderlich  



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« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2007, 05:23:36 PM »

Terlingua resident Kym Flippo places a flower on Judy’s casket after giving each of Magers’ five children a flower during the memorial service. (John Waters)

Judy Magers, the Burro Lady, captured on film by Terlingua artist Bonnie Wunderlich, in early 2002. Judy accepted $5 for this photo shoot, “for cigarettes.”

Bill Ivey, owner of the Terlingua Ghost Town, arrived with a floral display for “The Burro Lady.” In his eulogy for Judy, Ivey told a story of helping Judy with Social Security benefits. After much discussion with a federal employee who could not accept her application without a physical address, the employee offered, “Judy Magers, On the Land, Terlingua, Texas.” The application was processed. (John Waters)

Reminds me of the movie Tombstone and the funeral for the bad guys...

In Memoriam: Judy Magers, “On the Land...”
Publish Date: March 20, 2007  |  Permanent Link
Judy Ann Magers, also known throughout West Texas as “The Burro Lady” (and other similar monikers), died on January 26 from natural causes in Hudspeth County, Texas, near Sierra Blanca.

Magers was, unwittingly, a highly public persona throughout West Texas, though she remained intensely private throughout her decades of walking the highways of the region, sleeping on roadsides and talking with locals mostly just enough to obtain the bare necessities.

A funeral service was held for Magers in Terlingua on Monday, February 5. Magers is buried in the Terlingua Cemetary, per her wishes. Her 5 adult children traveled from their various homes throughout the United States to attend the service, and were regaled with tales about their mother by friends and acquaintances from all over the region, with some attendees coming all the way from New Mexico.

Here we publish some rememberances of the cherished traveler.

Don McDowell (Terlingua):

I met Judy about eleven years ago at The Frontier Roadhouse, my restaurant and bar on 118. There are so many stories. This is how mine started.

I had already met many of the special ones – The Rabbit Lady, Suitcase Susan, Old Man Adams, Just Bob, What about Bob, and Plain Bob. And Gracie, Queen of the Frontier who would eventually come to keep me company on the property and now is family. (She tells me she came in the fine print with the property but that’s another story.)

“Jackass Judy” as the locals called her, spoken with fondness and none of the negative connotations that one might expect, was a much-anticipated arrival after I had heard the mysteriousness in which my colorful local clientele spoke of her. Everybody was a Judy expert and she had not even been around in the two years that the Frontier had been closed prior to my purchase of it.

I didn’t see her ride up, but late one Thursday afternoon, there she was, coming through the door: thin as a whip, big hat, big glasses, lived-in chaps, leather gloves tucked in her waistband, spurs. I knew her instantly. And if I needed any additional confirmation, there was Merle the faithful burro tied to the gas pump.

I was at that moment and continue to be mesmerized.

I made the mistake of trying to strike up conversation with her. Judy didn’t take well to chitchat and I never made that mistake again.

I also learned that day that although Judy might have appreciated my attempts to be charitable, she was not going to have any part of it. I learned that the price was not relevant, only that there should be a price. This much for each night’s camping, that much for Merle’s water, rent on a bucket if she didn’t have one, and was it okay for Merle to eat the grass around Gracie’s tree while the two of them visited? Everything had to be lined out, pre-arranged and pre-approved when Judy rode in and stayed a while.

As the years went by, Judy had a knack for showing up early on Friday afternoon. I would be prepping for the fish fry, looking forward to our busiest night and anticipating a great night of local music. Judy had a creosote fort on the north side of the Frontier. She would set up camp, take care of Merle, come find me to settle all expenses and pre-pay a cheeseburger and buy a shower.

After all negotiations were complete she would take her kit and go around to the female shower room. She would be gone a long time. When she came out, I like to think that I saw a side of Judy that few others ever did. Most noticeably the sunglasses were off and she had applied purple mascara, her hat was in her hand and a fresh bandana was around her forehead. She would let me know that it was ok to start her burger and she would move off into a spot in the room where she felt comfortable.

The locals would drift in and although they desperately would have liked to made conversation, they always left her to herself and I know she appreciated it. Gracie was the only person Judy tolerated, allowing her approach and actually sit with her. The music would start up and Judy would stay as long as she could until the non-local guests started becoming a nuisance. The sunglasses would be slipped on, followed by the hat, and out she would go but not before placing a little money for the musicians in the tip jar.

There are many stories about Judy and the Frontier (I found out that is what she called all of us who owned it: “Frontier.”). The time it was freezing cold and I tried to get her and Merle to move into the dance hall – politely declined. The time it was raining violence and I tried to get her to move under my carport – politely declined. The times I offered to cook breakfast for her on closed Sunday mornings  – politely declined. It was comforting to see her sitting with Gracie under the shade tree at the picnic table over coffee and I knew Gracie would take care of food if any was needed; never was.

The time she pulled up in and old Land Locomotive Cadillac towing a trailer made from a pickup truck bed is something I will never forget.

The last time I spoke with Judy she needed to rent a bucket to water Merle. We agreed on a price of fifty cents for several days’ use of the bucket and as much water as was required. It was Friday and I was too busy to collect at that moment. Several days later, after she had moved on, an envelope arrived in the mail addressed to “Frontier, Highway 118 South.” On the back of the envelope in very precise penmanship:

“Enclosed is 50 cents for the bucket and two dollars for the music tip jar…Judy.”

 The change is still inside that un-opened envelope.

Judy always paid her way.

Fred Gossien (Terlingua):

On the third day of my first visit to South Brewster County I stopped at the Big Bend Motor Inn for a cup of coffee. Outside, by the highway, was Judy “the Burro Lady” fiddling with the blankets on her burro. Like most people, I suppose, I was fascinated. Along with that fascination came the instant awareness that I was in a very special place.

Two years later I would move to Terlingua, partly because of Judy.

I imagine that if Judy had lived in a city  – any city  – she would have been invisible, pushed into the alleys of a seedy part of town by intolerant police, possibly on behalf of tourism officials worried about their town’s image or fearful citizens who believe that someone a little different had no business on Main Street or outside a mall.

In the Big Bend, though, Judy was a symbol, at least to me, of something far more significant: she was a symbol of a unique culture, of accepting people who allow others to be whoever or whatever they are, of people who might not agree on any subject but can live alongside each other in relative harmony.

Maybe that was Judy’s purpose in life these past years – to show outsiders that basic human qualities like compassion, acceptance and tolerance, qualities seemingly inherent in most people living in the Big Bend, could exist in people everywhere.

That being “different” is not bad or even undesirable.

That if people could subdue that part of their egos dedicated to their own self-importance, especially when compared to those less fortunate, the world might actually be a better place. After all, who among us is not, in some way, a little different?

I can’t say I really knew Judy. I only spoke with her once, ten years ago. Even though that voice in the back of my head keeps saying she is in a better place, I’ll still miss her.

May she rest in peace.

James Evans (Marathon):

I think a normal reaction to your first Judy sighting was like seeing a UFO in your backyard: amazement, caution, and a little fright. When I would see Judy I would ask her if I could make a portrait. She would respond “No, thank you.”

My experiences with Judy were much like others’: that is, conversation was sparse. I first saw her in the late ‘80’s in Terlingua. I believe I took a snapshot of her on her burro at that time, but I have yet to  find the negative.

After seeing her many times over several years, I stalked her riding her burro to Marathon from Alpine. I drove ahead of her and perched myself at the top of the roadside cut on the edge of town. I was obvious, but I gave her no choice but to go by me. I rode ahead of her again and got on ground level and waited for her.

This time though I came out of the brush and confronted her. I told her I believed she was one of the most amazing people I had never met. I told her I had heard so many stories and I had questions.

She was going to Marathon and I begged her to come to my studio. She did. For me, a visit by the queen of England would not have made me more proud. I asked her about all the rumors I had heard, like her son committing suicide in her car while she was in a convenience store, her house burning down. She only responded with one word answers: “No.” Very little dialogue, but I learned once again to always go to the source if you really want the truth.  

She stayed in Marathon or right outside of Marathon a few days, and I made several images of her. One of them I put in my book.

Judy’s funeral was the most beautiful one I’ve ever attended. Simple and unassuming, just like she lived, and yet amazing. I would say over 200 people attended to pay respect to a person they may have never spoken a word to. The respect was as much for her as what she represented. She was an icon of freedom and individuality. She represented the very thing that made me want to live in this part of  the country.

Just imagine the world she knew – that we will never get to  grasp in a way she did. Imagine sleeping outside every night for 25 years. Imagine all the people she affected driving to their 9 to 5 jobs. She must have briefly sparked the dead Gauguins in thousands of  people.

Big Bend is not like the place I first moved to. There are still many Judy-like people, but now it is mixed with lawyers, real estate agents, trust-fund babies supporting heavily-endowed mediocre galleries and  studios, defining who they are not by their art, but by their  acquisitions. They are following the trends they read in stupid magazines by trite writers that don’t have a clue about this area. They have raised the cost of real estate while seeing the mountains as a backdrop and not a lifestyle. They can all go to hell as far as I’m  concerned. Rats trying to find sanctuary out of the rat race in their refurbished adobe ratholes. Whoa,  James. WHOA! YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! Sorry, my mind wandered in a whole other direction….

I’ll miss seeing Judy  sleeping on the side of the road or seeing her burro tied to the post  outside of a modern-day establishment. I will do my best to keep alive what she gave me and what she represented.

Bonnie Wunderlich (Terlingua):

When I first saw Judy, she was riding on her burro, fully loaded with blankets and bundles, from the Frontier Restaurant towards the “Y” [intersection of Hwys 118 & 170 in Terlingua]. Judy’s eyes were only focused on the desert ground in front of her, never turning to see who was slowing down, looking at her.

It seemed an awfully heavy load for such a small beast to carry. As they trotted down the roadside, I sensed a serene mood around her; I imagined she was transcending the brutal desert temperatures.

This was the way I saw her for many years after: seemingly oblivious to curious and admiring passersby.

Since 1995 when I moved to Terlingua, I often saw Judy riding her burro up and down the roads. Other times, the burro was tied either at the Big Bend Baptist Church, or in front of the Big Bend Motor Inn Caf?.

Most of the time, she was inside the caf?, sitting alone, at the table by the door, never letting her eyes meet anyone else’s. She was in high boots, pant legs tucked inside them; the boots really were more fashion boots than riding boots.

I took photographs of her burro, tied out there, all packed up, but as yet, hadn’t the courage to ask her if I could photograph her. She had an invisible barrier around her, like she preferred to be around people, but not on a contact or communication level. No one seemed to know her real name back then, just called her “Suitcase Sally,” or sometimes “Saddlebag Sally.”

In the early to mid ‘90’s, a group of nice folks in Alpine bought her an old Cadillac, and it’d be parked in front of the Baptist Church, with the trunk open for the burro to eat out of. She’d either be in her car (out of sight) or at the caf?. I wondered if she was sometimes in the church.

I heard about this time that she traded her burro for a small, young one, so it could ride in her car with her. But the traded-off burro obviously had liked her lifestyle, because it soon broke out of its new fenced home, and came back to her. The new owner came back for it. Soon, however, Judy obtained a horse trailer, and could be seen driving her big Cadillac, burro in trailer in tow.

She must have eventually abandoned the car someplace, because I noticed she was back riding the burro, fully loaded with all colors of blankets, some leather and some plastic bags.

Sometimes I’d see her around Marfa, or riding towards Alpine, and heard she was also often in Marathon. I could hardly imagine anyone traveling such distances with their only water in plastic soda bottles tied on the burro.

Finally, the photograph opportunity arrived. In January 2002, as I was sitting out under the old sotol ramada porch at my gallery on Hwy 118 (now torn down); Judy was riding towards it. As she approached, I walked up to her and asked how she was. “I’m doing alright. I’m headed down to the Study Butte store to buy a few things,” she said.

I asked her if people ever gave her money to photograph her. “Yes, sometimes they give me five dollars to buy some cigarettes.” I asked her if I could photograph her, and told her I wanted to paint her. She and the burro posed for me, then walked past the gallery, sometimes going back so she could ride towards me again. Her long hair was banded back, and hung down to her waist. You could see her weathered face in the shadow under her hat, which made her look much older than her strong, youthful countenance revealed by her voice.

Did she need water for her burro? “No,” she replied, “Archie keeps water out for him to drink.” I told her to use my faucet anytime she needed any. I gave her $5 and she went on towards the Study Butte Store.

I think she allowed me to give her a little money, because she knew I was photographing her for a painting, so this was working for pay,; this was not charity. I thanked her and told her I’d show the painting to her someday. She simply replied, “OK.”

Later in the summer of 2003, as I was retuning home from Alpine, I saw Judy walking to her burro who was tied to a post, the rope extending over a wide ditch filled with water. She told me that the folks at the Frontier said it had rained 3/4 inch. I photographed Judy as she shook the water off her tarp, which was lying over her bags, but the packed burro’s bundles of blankets were soaking wet.

She allowed me to take one photo of her, then said “You can take pictures of Patches; he likes his photo taken.” I noticed then that she had white lotion on areas of her face, so I figured she didn’t want to be photographed because of that. As I photographed him, Patches hee-hawed time and time again. He was enjoying the attention.

I expressed my concern about Judy sleeping on cool wet ground, on wet blankets, when there were even more thunderheads appearing in the skies. “Paches doesn’t mind it,” she said. The blankets would dry, she said: “They always do.” I left her a dry blanket anyway Refusing it at first, she finally accepted it, saying, “Ok, but I’ll put it on the fence here, tomorrow, and you can get it”.

Judy saw the 30” x 44” oil painting that I did of her in 2003, which was of another interesting scene in 2003 when she had just purchased a 2nd burro to help carry their load; my friend had commissioned a giclee print on canvas (24” x 36”) of the painting for her mother’s birthday, and when Judy came into the D?j? vu Thrift Store in Alpine, the mother happened to have the painting in her vehicle, wrapped. Judy helped unwrap it, and said she’d like a small print of the painting to be mailed to her via general delivery in Terlingua. I gladly mailed to her several prints.

She provided me with so many good photographic shots of her: she offered such color flowing through a brown desert roadside, living in simplicity, content with owning nothing but what she could carry on her burro. She deserved so much more than $5 for each time I photographed her.

During the last few years, friends who knew that I painted Judy would give me reports of seeing her in Van Horn, Valentine, Sierra Blanca, Marfa or Alpine. I’d seen her a few times between these towns also, riding along with her eyes forward and down. Once when I was on a Chinati Foundation Tour on a bus, we saw the burro by itself, tied at the downtown square plot of a dozen or more large yuccas.

In January, a neighbor told me she’d just seen Judy in Alpine. “Great,” I said, “I want to find her and talk to her. She saw my painting, and I want to talk more with her.”

The following week, all of West Texas was hit with that unusual freezing weather, with dark and miserably cold days and nights lasting for nearly two weeks, so I delayed my trip to Alpine (and possibly to Van Horn, where she’d also been seen often).

Then, I heard the sad news that Judy died. Oh, why, I thought, didn’t I go talk with her during those freezing and snowing days? I had been worried about being cold inside an adobe home, or driving on icy roads, but Judy was living in the severe desert elements. That was her home. Judy’s gone from our physical plane, and we won’t be lucky enough to see her travel from town to town, but the memory of her will live forever in these desert West Texas towns, I’m certain. ◊


Offline Casa Grande

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‘Burro Lady’ dead at age 65
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2007, 06:50:44 PM »
Quote from: "James Evans"
Big Bend is not like the place I first moved to. There are still many Judy-like people, but now it is mixed with lawyers, real estate agents, trust-fund babies supporting heavily-endowed mediocre galleries and studios, defining who they are not by their art, but by their acquisitions. They are following the trends they read in stupid magazines by trite writers that don’t have a clue about this area. They have raised the cost of real estate while seeing the mountains as a backdrop and not a lifestyle. They can all go to hell as far as I’m concerned. Rats trying to find sanctuary out of the rat race in their refurbished adobe ratholes. Whoa, James. WHOA! YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! Sorry, my mind wandered in a whole other direction….

Simmer down, James, this isn't a time for your holyer-than-thou soap's a woman's funeral for pete's sake....and I'm sure the region wasn't like it was when you arrived the way, it's those "rats" that buy your books and photographs that make you afford your "big bend way of life!"

All others, interesting stories....



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« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2007, 07:27:04 PM »
Quote from: "Casa Grande"
Simmer down, James, this isn't a time for your holyer-than-thou soap's a woman's funeral for pete's sake....and I'm sure the region wasn't like it was when you arrived the way, it's those "rats" that buy your books and photographs that make you afford your "big bend way of life!"

All others, interesting stories....




  • Guest
Re: ‘Burro Lady’ dead at age 65
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2008, 11:40:47 PM »
Hudspeth County and Related Obituaries  Gone, but not forgotten...


Offline dave2

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 160
Re: ‘Burro Lady’ dead at age 65
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2008, 09:38:15 AM »
 I don't want to spoil anyone's party, but I have heard on good authority that she did not care for her mules very well.



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