“Tieton From Hatton Road Looking Northeast”

Louise (Wadsack) Dotson

Louise’s ‘pet peeve’ was “People who jump to conclusions!” When the headline read in the school paper “Polio Strikes’ and the story line was “Louise is feeling better and her legs are not paralyzed, but they are stiff” we all wanted to jump to the conclusion that she would be alright. She never walked again, but she certainly was ‘alright’; she was to show us a degree of courage and character few of us ever found for ourselves. 

She was born in Harrison, Arkansas July 17, 1937. She was not only older than many of us, she was prettier than most. Boys she went to school with can still remember her at age nine when her family first moved to the community walking tall, with straight long black hair flowing in the breeze, as she walked to catch the school bus at the corner of Watson and Naches Heights Roads. She was a strikingly attractive woman throughout her 53 years of life. 

Her father was an orchard foreman along Watson Road, opposite the large Sundquist Ranch and not far from what once was the Bud Mortimer Ranch where, tragically, Bud lost his life while constructing a large warehouse on his property in 1947. Few of us will forget that morning when the school bus was stopped and Larry and Dick Mortimer were asked to leave the bus. 

There was a large field nearby where she lived and she would often be found in the field at play with the Barnes family of six children including Claud, who was in her school class and the White family of three, Phyllis, Isum and Ivan. She, in later years, would reflect back on those happy days of play and the enjoyment she took from her family. Her life-long goal was to “… be a secretary or a housewife”; she was to reach her goal despite her illness. 

Polio took its toll on her education and, although, she was allowed to go through the graduation ceremony with the Class in May 1957, it was necessary for her to return to school the following year to complete her studies. When she did, she immediately enrolled in Yakima Business College on her way to that first goal and soon in 1959 she began the second of her goals by marriage to J. D. Dotson. Dee-Dee and Danny their two children added the other dimension of becoming a homemaker, as she was a truly loving mother.

She worked for an insurance company as a cashier for the first five years following graduation from Business College. She worked at various jobs outside the home during her married life including the Secretary-Bookkeeper at the dental office in Cowiche in the building where she last walked and in the Jr. High Library in the Tieton Middle School. A bit of irony is that Dee-Dee (Dotson) Trepanier, Louise’s’ daughter lived in that same dental building after having it remodeled as a residence. In a sense, Louise now walks every day in that place and beyond. For those of us that would meet her after graduation, it seemed she never had enough time; her life was, seemingly, full and she was always on the go. 

Quotes we received from some of you and Louise’s family were “God, she was opinionated, but oh how I loved her!” “What a nice person, we were so lucky to have her as an example.” It is within that last quote we find the purpose of Louise’s life. Without a doubt, she was sent to us
to provide an example on how to conduct our lives amid adversity. 

She sat in her wheelchair outside the entrance to the old high school years ago during a class reunion event and commented looking across the road at the building that once was the local medical clinic, “Every time I see that place, every time I pass, I think of it as the last place I was to walk!” What we will remember most about Louise is set forth in the title of her favorite song, “Pledge of love.” She extended that pledge to life and never gave up!
Louise is shown in the photo to the left at the approximate age of sixty.

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