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Iola Hicken was born in Bird City, Kan., on Feb. 26, 1913, to Claude and Clarrisa Dobbs. She moved to Colorado in September 1925 with her parents, three sisters (Nellie, Irene her twin, and Lucille) and one brother ( Harry). Her family and all their possessions traveled to Colorado in two Model T Fords. They camped out each night until they reached Meeker and settled on a ranch near the Buford-New Castle Road. She rode horseback to the schoolhouse, which became the White River Community building near Buford. Her son, Keith, would later attend the same school. She married the love of her life, Frank Hicken, in March of 1937. A picture of Frank on a bucking bronco can be seen at the Meeker historical monument on the corner of Sixth and Main and can be purchased at the White River Museum.
Iola’s favorite memories were of living with Frank and Keith up South Fork, where they worked a ranch and outfitted hunters for more than 20 years. They moved to town in 1968. Frank worked for the county until he had hip surgery and retired. He passed away in 1974. Iola lived alone on Fifth Street for 15 years, until she had a heart attack and moved into the Pines. Iola’s eye sight and hearing diminished as she grew older but that didn’t stop her from crocheting, riding her exercise bike (she counted the revolutions since she could not see the odometer), and from living on her own at the Pines until last year. She loved God, loved going to church, and was baptized in Bentonville, Ark., as an adult with her sister Lucille. She said that God revealed himself to her while attending the Methodist Church in Meeker. One day the “light just came on,” she said. One of her favorite ministries was to save her change in a jar for the youth of the church (Don’t let anyone tell you that an elderly person cannot be a world changer). She loved dressing up, and always looked like she just stepped off of a magazine cover. She even insisted on ironing her clothes while living in the Wing at Pioneers Medical Center. Iola was blessed with an incredible memory. Her stories of her childhood, her family, and her exploits with Frank and Keith will be missed. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters, Nellie and Irene, her brother Harry, her husband, Frank and her son, Keith. She is survived by her sister, Lucille Hicken who is living with her daughter Marie and son-in law Fred Loftis in Bella Vista, Ark.
Ask anyone who knew Iola and they will tell you that she enjoyed life, never gave up, and was an inspiration to all.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the United Methodist Church of Meeker or to the Walbridge Wing of the Pioneer Medical Center.
Arrangements by Rio Blanco Funeral Home of Meeker.