Welcome back. The year was 1893, the event was the Cherokee Strip land run and the location was Kay County, Oklahoma. That’s where the Mullendore family history in land, cattle, banking, oil and dozens of other business ventures really began.
As time goes by we lose people who touched the past and the lady I’m going to tell you about is one of them. This was also a time in Oklahoma when ranching empires were growing. In the largest county in Oklahoma the names Chapman, Barnard, Drummond, Adams and Mullendore were becoming well known and their ranches would be a vital part of feeding the country in 1940.
1940 was also the year that Eugene and Kathleen Mullendore had their second child who they named Katsy. A natural with animals, she grew up keeping every critter known to the ranch as a pet and her father fostered her interest by purchasing exotic animals, some of which had never been seen in Oklahoma. During her younger years she was educated in a one room schoolhouse on the ranch which was also attended by the children of the ranch hands who lived there. Katsy’s grandpa was an Osage Indian chief and with her parents’ influence she grew into a woman with a deep love of her heritage and also a devotion to helping others.
The bond between Gene and Kathleen created a girl who was not only athletic but also beautiful. By the time she met Jim Whittenburg III in 1999 she had traveled the world many times over and accomplished what many would consider a life’s work, raising four children and doing years of charity work. In 1999 she started a new chapter with Jimmie, the man she called the “love of her life.”
That woman’s full name was Katsy Mullendore Whittenburg and her death last week adds to a growing list of wonderful people whom we have lost in the past months. For me and many others, knowing these folks makes the loss of a person you admired especially hard.
Katsy was laid to rest last Saturday on the family’s Crossbell Ranch alongside her parents, her brother and many beloved pets. As you can imagine she will be sorely missed by her family and the many others of us whose lives she touched over the years. Her husband Jimmie, who I also knew, died this past December and friends with their earthly ties now gone I can just imagine them traveling the heavens together.
Into this life one comes and one goes and in that same year 1940, while sitting with New Mexico Sheriff Ed Echols at Walt Coburn’s ranch outside of Tucson, Arizona the King of the Cowboys movie star Tom Mix unknowingly watched his last sunset. The next day the famous cowboy star known around the world crashed his speeding car into a construction zone and was instantly killed. According to Mix’s biographer Paul Mix, his funeral was attended by every star of the era and both kids and adults in his fan clubs mourned for weeks.
Tom was gone but his beloved horse Tony who had traveled everywhere with him and was just as famous, lived another two years. Cared for by a close friend of Tom’s, Tony the Wonder Horse died at the ripe old age of 40 and joined Tom in immortality. If you are a Tom Mix fan, or especially a Tony fan here’s the scoop of the week. On March 11th
at 11AM the Circle Cinema will be showing a film entitled “Just Tony” which stars Tom and Tony at their peak. The historic Circle is located at 10 S. Lewis in Tulsa and friends going there is a top of the line experience from beginning to end and there’s one more thing, it’s free! Yes, thanks to Hughes Lumber and the Tom Mix Museum this March 11th show is free! I understand there will be lots of memorabilia on display as well when Tom and Tony ride again.
As for me, it’s on to Springdale, Arkansas this weekend for another big R&K Gun Show. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….
Note: Gifts in memory of Katsy can be made to Elder Carw 1223 Swan Drive, Bartlesville, OK 74006