A Tribute to Barbara Dobos

Remembering Barbara Dobos, 1929-2021

By Mary Humstone, founding board member

We were saddened to learn that Barbara Dobos, co-founder of the Alliance for Historic Wyoming, died this past spring. Barbara was a teacher, legislator and activist who became involved in historic preservation to protect the public lands at Martin’s Cove along the Oregon/California/Mormon Trail. She and Lesley Wischmann formed the Alliance for Historic Wyoming in 2005 as a statewide advocacy group for public lands, cultural sites and historic buildings.

Barbara served as president of the Alliance from 2005 to 2012, nurturing the organization through its critical formative years and the hiring of our first staff. She continued to serve on the advisory board until she moved to Boise in 2015. In addition to the Alliance, Barbara served on the board of the Casper Historic Preservation Commission, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, the Rocky Mountain Center on the Environment, and many other steering committees and commissions. She was a much loved and respected teacher at Natrona County High School from 1970 to 1994 and represented Natrona County in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1982 to 1986.

Barbara is remembered for her work to preserve historic trails and other cultural landscapes statewide, as well as successful campaigns in her hometown of Casper to save Natrona County High School, the Wyoming School for the Deaf, and Dean Morgan Junior High School, all of which were threatened with demolition in the early 2000s. Barbara may have appeared quiet and unassuming, but her intellect, wisdom, perseverance, political savvy and attention to detail made her a powerful force. She was also a lot of fun, enlivening board meetings with impromptu, humorous presentations of gifts and awards. She always arrived armed with her disarming, out-of-this-world banana bread or some other homemade treat. As Alliance co-founder Lesley Wischmann said, “I feel lucky to have experienced the joy of knowing and working with the indefatigable, inspiring and genteel Barbara Dobos.”

When Barbara left Wyoming in 2015, she received many accolades and thank yous from people she had worked with. Following are a few excerpts:

   One of the happiest turns in my life’s adventures was the day I signed up to help you on Martin’s Cove. Your commitment, wisdom, insight, skill, knowledge, energy and reasoned restraint inspired me then and continues to do so today. You are such an exceptional person. Your dedication is unsurpassed; your wisdom so freely but quietly shared. You guide with such a gentle hand and are always so supportive and so generous with your praise. With your constant smile and never-ending streams of encouragement, you are impossible to resist. – Lesley Wischmann

You will be missed by the Alliance board for your humor, warmth, wit, and many contributions to the preservation of Wyoming’s history. – Trish Ullery Whitaker

I’ll be continually inspired by your equanimity, common sense, good judgement, and work ethic as I continue with the Alliance and to make Wyoming the best we can be. Thank you.  – Julia Stuble

Since your “official” retirement, you have continued to work fervently for the causes for which you have a passion: history, preservation and Wyoming. You have gone above and beyond the required participation on preservation issues and projects since your first appointment to the Casper Historic Preservation Commission in 2006. You will be sorely missed in Casper and Wyoming.– Casper Historic Preservation Commission