From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 35 - November 26, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online


Viola Eliza Turner Siems

Viola (Vi) Siems was born on Dec. 3, 1913, in Almy, Wyo., a town near Evanston. Her father and mother, Enock and Mae Turner, had eight children, two of whom died in infancy.

She married Frank Robinson when she was 18, and in 1936 she and her husband found work in the tie camp on Lead Creek above Merna. Vi was a hard worker. She always pointed out that "the Lord gave her a good, strong body" and she put it to good use helping her husband make ties. There was 18 feet of accumulated snow that winter.

Frank was called into active duty during World War II and in the meantime Vi managed a café on the West Coast and was the head cook there until the war ended. After Frank was discharged, they returned to Wyoming and worked for the Elmer Nutting Ranch. Vi remembered that year as the "terrible winter of '48 when all the cattle out on the desert died [and the snow] was four feet deep on Beaver."

In 1949 they leased Clyde Robbins' place and ran cattle that Vi bought with her savings. They used the Harp brand, registered in 1899 by her grandfather, James Blight, and one of the first five registered brands in Wyoming.

Vi and Frank parted after 15 years of marriage and later she met Herman Siems, who owned the Eber Darrow place. They married in June 1950 and their eldest son, Homey Dale, was born in July of 1951. Eventually the couple was able to buy the Clyde Robbins' place that adjoined their existing property and the ranch became known as Beaver.

In June of 1953 their son, Eugene (Gene) Henry, was born, but by the next spring Herman could no longer use his hands due to a severe arthritic condition. They considered selling the ranch, but Vi told Herman that if he would take care of the business end of things, she would run the ranch.

After Herman died in November of 1971, Vi continued caring for the ranch with help from her boys.

Vi was a loving, giving person, and an example of service in her church and community. When Minnie Bollinger was going blind, Vi was there to help and drove the car for her for over 10 years while Minnie delivered the mail. Minnie was just one of the older people in the area that she helped out, either as a paid employee or on a volunteer basis.

Vi was an optimist. She always looked at the good side of life and never complained about her aches and pains.

In February of 1998, Vi divided the Beaver ranch between the boys and their families. Even though she had given up the ranch, she still took an active part and helped with the cooking, riding, haying and fencing. She insisted on riding and fencing just last year, despite her family's worry about her welfare.

Viola passed away on Friday, Nov. 14, 2003, after a relatively short illness.

She is survived by her eldest son, Homey, and wife Angela; by her youngest son, Gene, and wife Shona; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

She will be sorely missed by her family and friends and in her church and community.

Services were held in the Pinedale L.D.S. Church on Wednesday, Nov. 19. with Dick Noble officiating. Interment occurred at the Daniel Cemetery with dedication of the grave by Jim Bousman. A luncheon, prepared by the Daniel community and L.D.S. Church women, was served afterwards at the Daniel Schoolhouse.

The family has requested that donations in memory of Viola Siems be sent to the Sublette Center nursing wing.

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