Lee Whitlock’s Obituary

Lee Whitlock was married to Darlene Swallow, who is a relative of Ray G Swallow.


Lee Charles Whitlock, 91, well-known cattle and horseman of Baker, Nev., passed away Friday, July 22, 2011, from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident while working at the Baker Ranch.

Lee was born Nov. 28, 1919, in Mayfield, Utah, to Bardella Geaska Nielsen and Merrill Nels Whitlock, the second of four children. He grew up in Mayfield, attending Manti High and Snow College. His true passion has always been cattle and horses, having begun riding at the age of five.

He met his future bride, Darlene Swallow, at age 18 at an LDS Mutual activity; they were married May 3, 1941, in Pioche, Nev. In 1940, Lee began his career as a cowboy for the Swallow Ranch in South Spring Valley, Nevada. To earn extra money for their wedding, he also worked at the nearby Minerva Mine. After their marriage, Lee spent the summer riding for the Horse and Cattle Association in the mountains above Mayfield, returning to the Swallow Ranch for the ensuing 24 years.

In 1966, he and his friend, Devon Bellander, leased the Snake Valley Dearden Ranch in Garrison, Utah, for three years. At the end of the lease, he continued working at the ranch until in 1975, Fred Baker enticed him to the nearby Baker Ranch where he was cattle foreman for many years. At the time of his passing, he had enjoyed a most fruitful and happy working relationship with three generations of Bakers for 36 years.

For recreation, Lee had a great love of and ability for Team Roping, traveling around Utah and Nevada, winning many purses. He was still winning belt buckles well into his eighties. Not until his failing eyesight prohibited night driving did his rodeo and team roping days come to an end.

In 1994, the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association presented him with their “100,000 Mile Club Award,” documenting his years and years of horseback riding. On his 89th birthday, KSL-TV News spotlighted him for his devotion to his work , as well as being one of the oldest working cowmen in the West. On the morning of the accident, he was riding his horse, Whitey, checking on water for cattle. He died as he had wished: Working and riding. As a tribute to him, that evening KSL-TV News ran a segment on his passing.

Lee is survived by his wife, Darlene, brother Clair (Betty), and sister, Marilyn (Ross) Crowell. He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Don. While Lee and Darlene had no children of their own, they were surrogate parents to many of their nieces and nephews, as well as having a great and positive impact on countless others. Lee was an honorable and generous man, never hesitating to share his vast knowledge of livestock and skills. He was highly responsible, caring for everything under his stewardship, especially livestock, as if all were his own. One could always count on him to go above and beyond any expectations in everything he did.

Funeral services will be held Friday, July 29, at the Garrison LDS Church at noon PDT and 1 p.m. MDT. Viewing commences one and one-half hours prior.

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