DOROTHY ALICE BARKER McNEESE
Dorothy succumbed to the effects of time on Saturday, December 10, just 2 months short of her 100th birthday.
Dorothy was born on February 19, 1923, in Boulder, CO, where her father, David Marion Barker, was attending law school. After her father died in 1928 from a ruptured appendix complicated by the gassings he received in France in WWI, Dorothy was raised by friends and relatives in various cities in northern New Mexico while her mother, Rose Arnold Barker, found work as a nurse in hospitals in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, and Terrero. In 1930, Rose married Roy Roberts and they both found employment with the American Metals mine and mill outside of Pecos, NM. They lived at the mill until the mine closed in1939 and Dorothy moved to Santa Fe to live with her aunt and uncle while she completed high school.
Dorothy met her soon-to-be husband, Wilbur McNeese, at the Santa Fe Fiesta in September 1942. Wilbur was an officer in the Army Air Corps stationed at Kirtland Army Air Field in Albuquerque. Shortly after they met, Dorothy moved to Carlsbad, NM, to live near her parents, and work at the International Minerals and Chemical Corporation potash mine nearby. Very soon after she arrived in Carlsbad—SURPRISE—Wilbur was transferred to the Carlsbad Army Air Field to be the flight safety officer at the new flight training and bombardier school. They were married in Carlsbad in December 1942 and lived there until the war ended. Her parents, Roy and Rose Roberts, had moved away from Carlsbad in early 1943 to a small town in northern New Mexico to be a nurse and power plant engineer with a “secret project.” After the war, Wilbur was one of the first civilians hired by the new national laboratory established at Los Alamos, NM. They joined Dorothy’s parents there and raised their five children.
In 1953 they bought a cabin in the mountains north of Pecos at Cowles, N M. This area was familiar to Dorothy and Wilbur, and well-loved. Both of Dorothy’s sets of grandparents had homesteaded in this part of northern New Mexico: the Barkers on the Sapello River north of Las Vegas, and the Arnolds on Cow Creek, east of Pecos. Dorothy had grown up at Pecos and Terrero, and Wilbur fit right into the area, always hunting, fishing, and camping with family and friends. The cabin became the focal point of their family for the rest of their lives. From 1954 on, they lived every summer at the cabin, leaving for Cowles the afternoon school ended in the spring and returning to Los Alamos the day before school started in the fall. The cabin was always filled with family and friends and soon became a gathering place for summer-cabin, ranch, and Forest Service friends and employees when the Rec Hall was closed. Many nights there were wild card games of "heck" and "spit" played with as many as twenty players ranging in age from 5 to 25. When the visitors were not playing cards, the player piano would test everyone’s endurance as it required rigorous pumping away at the pedals to get through any of the 100 plus piano rolls. During breaks in the card games and piano-playing, batches of fudge or molasses taffy were whipped up, and the taffy was pulled until it was cool enough to cut and eat. These impromptu parties were some of Dorothy's favorite times.
After all of the children grew up, Dorothy and Wilbur continued to stay at the cabin every summer, except for the year they lived in Hawaii, and the grandchildren and great grandchildren visited whenever possible. After Wilbur died in 2012, Dorothy continued to live at the cabin in the summers, arriving in May and staying as long as the weather would allow into October. The only summer she missed was her last summer in 2022 because the Santa Fe National Forest was closed due to extreme fire conditions and because the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire was burning in the high country nearby.
Family was everything to Dorothy. She loved having her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids around. Her life was full of love, games, music, and laughter.
Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband Wilbur, son-in-law Dennis Montoya, granddaughter Casy Schermerhorn, and infant great granddaughter, Maisie Grace Weaver. She is survived by daughters Mary Montoya of San Jose, NM; Dody Blankley (Roy) of O'Fallon, MO; Becky Weaver (Phill) of Albuquerque, NM; and sons Jim (Sarabeth) of Discovery Bay, CA; and David (Amanda) of Palo Alto, CA. In addition she is survived by 13 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren, and many honorary grandchildren, “nieces and nephews,” and many long-time and new friends.
There will be a celebration of life for Dorothy this next summer, where else but….AT THE CABIN!
Arrangements entrusted to the caring professionals of:
Trujillo Family Funeral Home
110 Alvarado Drive SE ~ Albuquerque