Lillie Mae Franks Poulsen

Jun 17, 2014 Staff

Lillie Mae Franks Poulsen died Saturday, June 14, 2014, at her home in Dubois. She was 102.

Per her request, cremation has taken place, and there will be no services.

Lillie Mae Franks was born Nov. 18, 1911, in Essex, Iowa, the daughter of Sidney and Laura Franks. Her mother died when she was born, and her father was not able to care for an infant so she was adopted by Leroy and Mary Josephine Franks. Her adopted parents also adopted another boy at that time.

She lived with them on a farm near Turin, Iowa, until she graduated from eighth grade. At that point, she could not afford to continue her education because it would have meant boarding in town.

She went to work as a housekeeper for a neighbor whose wife had become disabled. She worked for them until she met her future husband, Holger Poulsen, who had emigrated from Denmark and was working on a farm owned by his uncle and family.

They married in 1935 in Maskell, Neb. Their daughter Inez was born in 1936 and another daughter, Carol (Peggy), was born in 1937.

They lived for a short time in Nebraska and California before moving to DuNoir on Union Pass in 1937 where Mr. Poulsen was employed by Wyoming Tie and Timber Company.

In 1942, the Poulsen family moved to Dubois. Mrs. Poulsen's family said she loved the mountains and never had any desire to return to Iowa. Her parents and family visited a few times, and she made several trips to Iowa until her parents died in 1945.

While in Dubois, she leased and operated the Rustic Art Cafe from Shorty and Mae Meckem while her husband continued working in the timber. In 1946, they went into the sawmill business for themselves and operated their sawmill until about 1964.

Mrs. Poulsen worked alongside her husband and learned to drive trucks loaded with logs in the days when it was not considered the normal occupation for women.

She worked for a time at Welty's General Store, cleaned the Dubois Telephone Exchange for Bill and De Lamb, and assisted Joe and Mary Back in their studio east of Dubois. She then began a long career as housekeeper and cook at the Circle Ranch. She retired from the ranch in 1996. The Circle Ranch and the Fish and Downey families were a second home to her.

Her family said being with and taking care of them and her home was the most important thing to her. In the summer she could be found working in her huge yard at the family home just east of Dubois. They said she was also an excellent cook and seamstress. Her family said she was a quiet and private person, never joining clubs or organization, but she always welcomed family, friends and visitors into her home.

She is survived by her daughters, Inez Elaine Brandt and Carol Margaret (Peggy) Thompson and friend Jay Schumann of Dubois; grandchildren Sheila Carol (Rick) Bandy of Dubois, Barry Clark (Kathie) Akins of Dubois, Bruce John and (Kary) Thompson of Dubois, Laurie Margaret Thompson of Dubois and Donna Jo Ann (David) Appel of Hilliard, Ohio; great-grandchildren Charles G. (Barb) Clifton of Ohio, Craig A. Akins of Columbus, Ohio, Karla M. Thompson, Tiffany A. Thompson and her friend Zach Gillespie of Casper, Anthony J. (Allie) Orban of Wisconsin and Carston C. Akins of Dubois; step-great-grandchildren Sarah and Amanda Appel of Ohio, Mandie Sather of Casper, Chad and Tyler Sather of Montana; and great-great-grandchildren Charley and Leena Clifton and Tyson Orban; nephew Ora (Billie) Franks Jr. of Red Oak, Iowa; and many nieces, nephews and their families living in Wyoming.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Leroy and Josephine Franks; husband Holger Poulsen; siblings Ora (Marie) Franks, Ola (Viola) Franks, Otto (Pearl) Franks, Paul (Ellen) Franks and Irene (Melvin) Turkleson; son-in-law Bruce Ward Thompson; former son-in-law Joe Ralph Akins; grand son-in-law Tom Keller; and great-grandchildren Lillie Mae Nelson and Jesse Cheyenne Keller.

Memorial donations may be made to the Dubois Volunteer Fire Department, Box 994, Dubois, WY 82513; High Country Senior Center, Box 918, Dubois, WY 82513; or a charity of the donor's choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of Davis Funeral Home of Riverton. Online condolences may be left at

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