MaryLou Goebel Lange passed away peacefully on March 17, 2017, at her home in Bullhead City, Ariz. She was born Oct. 20, 1934, to Fredrick Goebel and Alice (Grube) Goebel in Independence, Mo.
Born an independent spirit, MaryLou was widely recognized as one who loved wide-open spaces and traveling to new places. By coincidence, her Independence, Mo., birthplace was the jumping-off point for the Santa Fe, Oregon, and California trails and final resting place of the famous trapper Jim Bridger. In her life, she followed these roads West and fell in love with the same big country explored by Jim Bridger and other early trappers that held annual Rendezvous gatherings in Pinedale, Wyo.
At just 14 years old, MaryLou and a friend hitchhiked from Missouri to Los Angeles, largely following Route 66, and back to Texas where they were invited to spend a night in jail for “safekeeping” while waiting for her father to pick them up. The reprimanding had apparently little effect as she never lost her sense of adventure or interest in exploring new places and meeting new people.
In her 20s, MaryLou had five children and lived in Oklahoma, Florida and Kansas before moving to rural Hidden Valley, near Shoshoni, Wyo., in 1968 with husband Don Baughman, a high school teacher and coach. She was active in many school and community activities, including 4-H with the kids. The family then moved to Pinedale, Wyo., during the early 1970s. MaryLou loved the area and the mountains and a lifelong favorite of hers was the smell of sage after a summer rain shower.
Graduating from Casper College nursing school in 1975, her LPN career over the next 10 years included residencies in Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. Additionally, she worked for Halliburton and later exercised her entrepreneurial nature starting a Hot Shot delivery business she ran for several years during the oil boom in Rock Springs. During this period, she purchased land the family has since built a cabin on to enjoy summers near Pinedale.
In the mid 1980s, MaryLou responded to an ad in the Albuquerque paper for a lodging cook in Alaska and headed “North to the Future,” as stamped on earlier Alaskan license plates. She first landed at the foot of the Wrangell-St. Elias mountains at Devil’s Mountain Lodge. During her years in Alaska, from the mid to late 1980s, she enjoyed camping, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, fishing and painting landscapes, while also cooking, bar tending and accommodating guests at Devil’s Mountain, McLaren and Summit Lake lodges. Her time in Alaska then included returning to school in her 50s, where she completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Fairbanks in social services.
Never one to complain about anything in life, she said she never minded walking to classes even when it was 50-60 below zero but related, in the dry British humor she enjoyed, that “those temperatures do make one walk with an extra bit of purpose.”
While living in the area, she sometimes stayed up late with friends visiting and playing cards and occasionally spent the night at the cabin in downtown Fairbanks that has since been annexed as a heritage site by the Fairbanks Tourist Center. After graduation in 1991, more travels were in store as she worked for the state of Alaska with native people in remote communities accessed by air. She greatly enjoyed the people, outdoors and dramatic changing of seasons in the north and said while visiting the state in 2016 that, along with Wyoming, it was the place where she truly felt at home.
In 1998 MaryLou moved to Colorado, purchasing a home in Las Animas to be near her daughter Kris and grandchildren William and Heather. Retiring in 2002, she maintained her home and enjoyed camping, landscape painting and visiting family members. She also traveled “across the pond” on different occasions to Greece and England.
Perhaps from her Alaskan lodge days, she was a great homestyle cook and well known to the family for being adamant about cooking only with cast iron and storing everything in glass jars. She loved roadside farmer’s markets and the zing of really hot peppers. While at home, she was usually reading a novel or working on a crossword puzzle and always up for a lively table game or round of cards with friends and family. One of her favorite poems is “The Dark Hills,” by Edwin Arlington. She did not prescribe to any particular Christian sect but was a strong believer in God and shared many testimonials of his provision in her life.
As a result of COPD, she moved to Bullhead City, Ariz., in 2013 to be at lower altitude where she enjoyed exploring everything about her in the Southwest desert. She celebrated her 80th birthday party boating at Lake Havasu.
MaryLou was blessed with five children, including Jim Baughman of Denver, Colo., Steve White of Red Lodge, Mont., Joe Baughman of St. George, Utah, David Baughman of Albuquerque, N.M., and Kris Baughman of Bullhead City, Ariz. She is also survived by two brothers Ernest Goebel of Atlanta, Ga., and Fred Goebel of Orlando, Fla., and five grandchildren Ross White, William Edelblute, Heather Edelblute, Lauren Baughman and Allie Baughman.
She is preceded in death by her sister Peggy Goebel and husbands Don Baughman and Jim White. She will be dearly missed by her family.
The family will be at the Pinedale cabin celebrating MaryLou’s life during the upcoming Rendezvous weekend. It will be our pleasure to visit with friends in the area as well. Please contact Joe Baughman at 307-690-3130 if interested in stopping by on Friday or Saturday (July 7-8) for an informal hello, sharing of memories and lunch or dinner if your timing is right! In her memory may you remain forever optimistic your next spontaneous and adventurous decisions in life will unfold to reveal new friends and bright new horizons.