*Joe “Joey” Dolence Obituary*
Joe Dolence, 87, passed away Thursday, September 5, 2019 at his home in Mountain View, Wyoming surrounded by family holding his hands, talking to him, and sharing memories of his amazing life. He was a life-long resident of Wyoming.
Joe was born on October 2, 1931 in Rock Springs, Wyoming; the son of Rudolph and Antonia (Hafner) Dolence. Joe's parents were immigrants from Slovenia in the early 1900's that came to Rock Springs, Wyoming to work in the coal mines. The entire family was fluent in English and Slovenian, and in addition to Joe's dad working in the coal mine, they also ran the Lincoln Motel on Dewar Drive for many years. Joe was the last born of five children - Joe's tiny 4'11" mom didn't even know she was going to have him when he and his identical twin Johnny were born at home - he was a miracle baby. He had a sister, Antonia - and he was the absolute light of her life; spending a lot of years glued to her hip while she helped run the motel front office for her mom and dad. He had 2 older brothers - Stanley and Rudy, and his identical twin Johnny, who was his best friend for his entire life. The Dolence family was an absolute example of a tight, loving and strong family that always took care of each other. In later years, he and his twin were able to take his mom and dad back to Slovenia twice to visit family and friends - very special memories that Joe loved to reflect back on.
Joe was a 1950 graduate of the Rock Springs High School. He was a star in every single sport imaginable - and participated in everything alongside Johnny. He also excelled academically and was active in Student Council. Joe went on to attend the University of Wyoming where he obtained Degrees in Geology and Petroleum Engineering with Johnny. They both served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, and Joe was fond of telling stories how he and Johnny supported their military career by under-cover gambling - fleecing anyone and everyone that would play poker with them. He was a charmer and liked by everyone everywhere he went.
Joey and Johnny founded and operated Dolco-Geo Engineering, an oilfield consulting company that mapped the geological data of many original oil and gas wells in: Sweetwater, Sublette, and Moffat Counties.
In May of 1975, Joe married Patricia Cooper. They soon after welcomed their only child, a daughter named Jolene. Jolene was the absolute light of Joe's life. He would spare absolutely nothing to make her happy and loved. He worked hard to give her the best childhood imaginable. Joe helped his brothers and sister build their mom and dad a retirement house in Jackson Hole, Wyoming - picked because it resembled the beautiful "god's country" of Slovenia. He took Pat and Jolene there every weekend and holiday that he could, and after his dad passed, doted on his mom and spoiled her every chance he got. Nothing was more important to Joe than the love of family.
Joe learned the lost art of Slovenian Kielbasa and Blood Sausage making from his dad and learned to make Slovenian Potica with his mom. He had absolutely amazing talent in the kitchen - he could make every kind of pie imaginable, and when Jolene was growing up, he was the nightly dinner chef. He made many special treats for school functions, and many friends look back fondly on his baked Alaskan pies, cream puffs, pies and Jolene's special birthday treat every single year for as long as he could still do it: her beloved birthday apple-cherry pie. He loved that she hoarded it from everyone so she could treasure every single bite herself. When the grand-babies came along, Joe started making elaborate holiday and birthday cakes as well for each of them.
Joe truly found his joy in life from giving. He was the most selfless man there was, and if he thought someone needed something, he bought it - no questions asked. He always put everyone before himself.
Joe and Jolene spent many fond summer weekends at the Horse Races at Wyoming Downs as Jolene was growing up. In the later years, his family took him back a few times - and he educated his grand kids on the importance of betting on the grey horses - even if those grey guys had 45 to 1 odds - it didn't matter. If they lost? The race was rigged. He passed his absolute obsession for the Denver Broncos on to Jolene, and when her family moved to Colorado, he sent them to every single Broncos game he could. 2015 was the best year ever - Joe calling Jolene a week before the championship game that would send the Broncos to the Superbowl; telling her "I'm too old to go to the game, but I believe there definitely needs to be some Pates in attendance to send Peyton Manning to the Super Bowl in style." The mantra that season that was chanted before every game was "Papa, Pat, Peyton" - and it WORKED. Never was there a bigger smile than when the Broncos became Super Bowl Champions that year; and Joe and Jolene cried together on the phone that night in absolute celebration of a major goal achieved; and witnessed together.
In his later years, Joe loved to spend time with his grandchildren, having them experience the family traditions that he so dearly shared with Jolene. He was one of the only grandpas that loved to get up and curl hair and take Shannen to preschool and kindergarten, and he even took her by himself to Jackson. He was incredibly excited to doll her up and take her to ride the stagecoach - something he fondly looked back on often over the years. He taught his two grandsons - Trevor and Trenton his passion for football - and even though they favored opposing teams, no one could talk better football talk with them than their pops. He taught them just how important it was to get completely into the game - screaming, cussing and all. Joe always let his family know that he had everything he ever wanted and needed - and how family made everything absolutely, perfectly complete. He loved his grand kids to no end and always made sure they knew how special they each were for their individual talents.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers: Stanley, Rudy, and Johnny, his sister Toni (Antonia), and his absolute best four-legged friend and guardian angel, Butch Pate. The one thing that made his passing easier to bear for his family is knowing what an absolute celebration is happening in heaven right now with the entire Dolence family finally together again - kicking up their heels to some loud Polka music; and Papa able to feed Butch unlimited amounts of Texas toast once again.
Survivors include his wife Pat Dolence of Mountain View, Wyoming , one daughter; Jolene Pate and spouse Jamie of Mountain View, Wyoming/Firestone, Colorado, one sister-in-law Elsie Dolence of Rock Springs, Wyoming, three grandchildren: Shannen Pate, Trevor Pate, and Trenton Pate, three great-grandchildren: Brooklyn Floyd, Harper Zadra, and Cooper Zadra; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Following Cremation, a Celebration of Life and Graveside service will be held at later dates. The family will notify those who wish to attend.