Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Ellen Roden


Ellen Roden, 81, passed away suddenly on January 23, 2017, at the Roden Ranch in Thermopolis.

In 1929, Dan and Julia (Jukich) Skoric immigrated to America from Yugoslavia. On March 26, 1935, a little girl, Ellen, was born in Gebo, Wyo., to Dan and Julia. She was raised in Kirby, Wyo., and attended Kirby Rural School. She graduated from Thermopolis High School in 1953 after which she attended the University of Wyoming where she studied nursing. Her degree was cut short when she and John “JB” Roden were wed on May 2, 1954, they moved to Laramie for JB to continue school while Ellen worked at the JC Penny store to support them. In May 2, 2016, a celebration of 62 years of marriage together, Ellen worked with JB in the early days often driving one of their water trucks at Big Piney. Later she supported him in the oilfield drilling business. His business moved them to Casper, Thermopolis, Riverton, Big Piney, Casper, Salt Lake City and back to Casper residing from 1970 to 1985. The couple then decided to ranch on the Upper Nowood in Ten Sleep from 1985 to 1995 returning to Thermopolis in 1995 to start a new ranch. Ellen was always a top hand on the ranches, helping with feeding the livestock, calving, lambing, haying and being a homemaker. From 1989 – 1991, she owned and managed the Basque Café in Ten Sleep; her favorite stories of that time were of the bikers that would stop on their way to Sturgis each year. A hard worker, she built a cabin on the Roden property at Warm Springs Creek above Dubois, the family enjoyed many wonderful days snowmobiling, and fishing there.

Ellen always put others people above herself; she was very selfless and just “took care of everybody”. She never met a stranger and could always find someone to talk to and something to talk about. She seemed to always be a part of anything going on because everyone wanted her to be there. She often took the family shopping, and the family members would spend hours in the store while she visited friends and strangers.

Roden family trips were the envy of the neighborhood children. Everyone wanted to be friends with John, Dan and Sally so they could be invited on the biannual Roden excursions, usually to the mountains. Children of all ages loved her and would confide in her and JB their troubles as well as their triumphs. The couple took in two of their granddaughters to raise them, Ellen fondly referred to them as her granddaughter “daughters”. She was known as the “band Grandma” as she loved being a chaperone for Hot Springs high school band trips with Stephany and Julia. She and JB raised children for over 50 years.

On the ranch, she never met a baby animal she didn’t bring home to mother, from 57 bum lambs one year to 6 orphaned calves, piglets and geese. She stated that she really wanted goats too! She named all of the bums.

Her excellent cooking often meant a 6 to 8 course feast. She loved to cook the traditional Yugoslavian fare, and old style ranch meals.

Ellen served her community with the same vigor that she embraced life with. She was a member of the Service League in Casper, the Vesper Eastern Star, where she served in many capacities, including Worthy Matron. She led the Bethel #3 Jobs Daughters for many years helping the young girls. She also received her EMT certification and CNA license when she worked at Hot Springs Memorial Hospital from 1991- 1995.

Survivors include her husband John “JB” Roden; children, John (Erin) Roden III of Casper, Dan Roden of Thermopolis, and Sally Phillips; granddaughter “daughters”, Stephany Roden of Cody and Julia (Chad) Block of Powell; grandchildren, John Daniel Phillips, Jordan Allen, and Audrey Allen; great-grandchildren, Kaytlynne Block and Temperance Block; the Skoric nephews, Mark, Dan, Dale, Todd and Bryan; and sister-in-law Joyce.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Mike Skoric; and sister, Dorothie Hruska.

Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Sat., January 28, 2017, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Thermopolis. Burial will follow at Monument Hill Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Fairfax Road at Virginia Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84103. Online condolences may be made at Bryant Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.


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