JoAnn Estes Dorrell was born to Jesse Boone Estes and Alma Place Boor Estes May 10, 1929, in Rifle. Many of her early summers were spent at the sawmill operated by her father on East Divide Creek. The Estes children, Mary Jane, Lee, JoAnn and Jim, carried their love for nature and animals throughout their lives and are passing it on to future generations.
JoAnn attended school in Rifle and began high school in 1944, the year the love of her life, Donald Dorrell, was a senior. They were married November 23, 1947, had a short honeymoon to Colorado Springs and began their ranch life together. Some, but not all, of JoAnn’s jobs were driving a tractor to feed cows, fixing fence, following in the truck with supplies when the cows were herded to the Bookcliffs (yes, right through town), sorting cattle, bookkeeper, and helping with haying and branding.
She loved gardening and especially yard work. In her later years she often commented how much she missed mowing the lawn. All of this along with keeping any animal that crossed her path cared for (with the exception of spiders), keeping a spotless house and preparing amazing meals! Having been part of two families which have been in the Rifle area for generations, JoAnn (and Donald) loved getting together for reunion picnics and holidays. These happy gatherings meant an opportunity see and visit with so many, whether a relative or not. She was a Christian and loved her church family, having grown up with several of them. She was one of those women that was at the church for just about every funeral, preparing her delicious food for the meal for the departed’s family. JoAnn loved music, especially the church hymns, and sang in the choir when she was young. She taught herself to play piano by ear. It was always a treat to hear her play.
Early in their married life Donald and JoAnn would take off in the morning for a rodeo every chance they had. Donald would ride bulls and broncs and they would have a chance to…