Longtime Oak Creek resident Lucienne Stetson died Aug. 2, 2008, at the age of 95.
Lucienne Juliet Lauron Runyon Stetson was born Feb. 7, 1913, in France, to Maxim and Juliet Lauron. Maxim Lauron perished in World War I in 1916 while serving in the French military when Lucienne was only 3 years old. After her father's death, Juliet Lauron moved, with Lucienne, to the United States in 1920, and married James Runyon, whom she had met in France while he was serving in the U.S. military.
Lucienne had two brothers, Dean and Roy Runyon, and one sister, Elsie Runyon Bush.
Lucienne grew up in and around Oak Creek and married James Franklin Stetson on Oct. 7, 1931. Lucienne and Frank had three sons, and early in their marriage, they made their living raising livestock and delivering milk house to house. In 1944, they bought the ranch on Yellow Jacket Road and grew their dairy into a profitable business, selling milk to grocery stores. Through hard work and determination, Lucienne and Frank went from penniless to profitable.
In the late 1940s, Lucienne bought the Bell Mercantile in Oak Creek and operated that business for several years. Upon the sale of the mercantile, Lucienne got into the business that most of you knew her for - her quarter horse business. She bred and raised championship quarter horses for ranch work, cutting competitons and show. Her stud horses including Poco Bimbo, Fury's Flare, Bars Burt, Holy Sox, Jr., Heza Bo Bonanza, and the kid also, also known as Pepe O Lina Leo. Lucienne earned a great reputation as an outstanding horsewoman, known far and wide for quality Stetson quarter horses. She was a member of the American Quarter Horse Association for many years, and in June 1999, she earned the 40-year cumulative breeding award of the AQHA.
Lucienne not only raised and sold horses, but she herself rode and competed as well, winning many cutting horse competitions on her favorite stud horse, Poco Bimbo.
Lucienne was a wonderful grandmother to her four grandkids. She hosted all of them at different times every summer to help put up the hay. She bragged one summer that an entire field was "she" hay because Laura, Joelene and Lucienne did the whole field themselves. She taught her grandkids the value of hard work, and they report that she taught them practical things as well, such as how to clean out a horse stall and how to do embroidery and how to iron, girls and boys alike.
Lucienne loved her family fiercely, giving all of her time, her resources and herself. She took her grandchildren to the stock show when they were little, letting them stay in a Denver hotel and take in the quarter horse show. In 1976, she escorted her two granddaughters on a two-week trip to France. They stayed a week in Paris taking in all of the sites and then found Lucienne's relatives and her father's gravesite in Thouars, a small town south of Paris.
Lucienne lost her husband, Frank, in May 1983, and lived alone on the ranch, continuing to raise and sell horses, until a broken hip forced her into the Doak Walker Care Center a few years ago. But Lucienne kept her age hidden from her grandchildren most of her life.
Lucienne was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Roy Runyon; her husband, James Franklin Stetson; two sons, Jim and Glen Stetson; and one infant grandson, Mitchell Stetson.
She is survived by her brother, Dean Runyon, of Phoenix, and her sister, Elsie Bush, of Fayetteville, Tenn. She also is survived by her son, Franklin O. Stetson, and his wife, Eileen. She is survived by four grandchildren: Franklin L. Pud Stetson and his wife, Jean; Laura J. Woods and her husband, Bill; Jolene Stetson Linke and her husband, Trey; and Jay S. Stetson and his wife, Tina. She also is survived by nine great-grandchildren: Frankie and Libby Stetson, Jason and Michael Woods, Sierra, Juliette and Ryder Linke, and Jesse and Krista Stetson. Lucienne also had four great-grandchildren: Nya and Brett Stetson, born to Jesse and Niki Stetson; Addison Woods, born to Jason and Cassie Woods; and Peyton Rae Stetson, born to Krista Stetson.
Lucienne was buried in Oak Creek. She will be sorely missed by family, friends and horse buyers both near and far.