Monday, February 5, 2007

The Donkey Lady of Far West Texas

Obituary of Judy Ann Magers from the Van Horn Advocate Online

You may not recognize that name, but you will remember her by the name "The Donkey Lady". That was not meant to be a negative or ugly name. That is just how we referred to her. Very few even knew her real name. Many wished they knew more about her or desired to try to visit with her but that was not what she wanted. She obviously lived - and died, as she wanted - in a lifestyle which we could not imagine. Traveling with her donkey as her only companion and sleeping beside the road or under an underpass. Rumors had it that she was an educated person, perhaps a teacher at one time. She was probably the best known - yet least known - person in West Texas

The "Donkey Lady," Judy Ann Magers, an icon in West Texas, died last Friday, January 26, 2007, in Sierra Blanca. She was 65 years old and is survived by Sue Johnson of South Dakota. She made her home, along with her donkey, on the sides of roads and in underpasses that dot the highways from Presidio, Alpine, Marfa, Valentine, Van Horn and Sierra Blanca. One might see her in local restaurants drinking a cup of coffee, but most of the time, she kept to herself. And, unfortunately, she died alone. She will be buried in Terlingua at a later date. To help with burial expenses, send donations to Memorial Fund, c/o St. Agnes Church, P.O. Box 295 Terlingua, TX 79852. Judy Magers is perhaps the most famous "unknown" person that has ever lived in this part of the state.

Of course many, after hearing about her death, wondered about her donkey. I called Becky Walker, Hudspeth County Judge, about this because I had heard that she had taken the donkey. She had, and said that he is doing better but still 'cries' for his owner. Not as much as at first. Evidently he showed almost a human-like emotion of mourning for her at first. Becky said he was quite poorly but was eating better now and that he seems more comfortable with the cows than the horses. She also said that many had wanted to take him and care for him. One thing about this lady that many in our country could take a lesson from is that she did not expect, nor would even accept, any handouts. In fact Becky told me that she would leave water out for Judy and her donkey and there would always be some money there in payment. If Becky didn't take the money, Judy would not take the water next time she came. She was definitely a strong-willed and self-sustaining person. She left behind a little money and her final wishes. However, it isn't enough to give a proper burial so a fund has been established for that purpose.