Lillie Cady

Lillie Louise "Bobbie" Guess Bell Cady

August 15, 1921 to March 1, 2007

Her given name was Lillie Louise but everyone called her Bobbie. She was nicknamed after her father, Bob Guess, and to hear the family tell it, she was his shadow. The third of five girls, she was born in Lordsburg, N.M. Her mother's name was Louise, an orphan from Tucumcari who was fostered out to a family in the bootheel of New Mexico, where she met and fell in love with a handsome cowboy named Bob Guess. They owned a ranch in the Animas Valley, and Bob's brother, John Guess, owned a ranch nearby at Steins Pass, just south of Doubtful Canyon, named for the fierce Apache raids on travelers - it was known to be doubtful whether you would survive.

In 1929, Bob Guess made his move and leveraged everything he had built up in the Animas Valley to buy the ranch of his dreams on the Gila River, about 10 miles downstream from Duncan, Ariz. Bad timing! The Depression wiped him out. Selling a couple starving steers, he bought a car, and with his wife and five girls, he walked away (1933), taking his family to Mohave County where he had once worked as a cowhand for Tap Duncan on the Diamond Bar (1912).

In the 1980s, Bobbie and her oldest sister, Sadie Pearl, paid a visit to the old ranch house near York and walked the overgrown banks and pointed out where the garden was and the corrals were. It was all gone except for a vague foundation where the house sat. Both Aunt Sadie and Bobbie found "their rooms," the kitchen and the porch where they waited for their handsome cowboy dad to come riding up. Oh, how those girls loved their Daddy. At the Diamond Bar, Bob Guess started over, working as a cowboy and hoping to get back in the game. During WWII, he bought a lease on a ranch on the way to Oatman, but it was not to be. He died in 1945 in his early 50s at the Kingman Hospital from complications from an ulcer operation.

Bobbie attended Mohave County High School, graduating in 1939. She was an excellent student, and when her only son went to the same school, some teachers would shake their heads and wonder how the son could be so inferior to the mother. When WWII broke out, an air base was established east of Kingman and all of a sudden 500 single females had their pick of 10,000 young Army Air Corps soldiers. Although she dated a lieutenant and was engaged to one of the biggest ranching names in the area, she ultimately chose a buck private, a blond Norsky farmboy from Thompson, Iowa, named Allen P. Bell. In 1946, Bobbie and Allen had a son and named him Robert, in honor of her father. Another sister, Patsy, also named her son Robert, and to distinguish between the two, the family called him Robert Jerl and Bobbie's boy, Robert Allen. And they still do to this day. After the war, Bobbie and Allen Bell moved back to Iowa, but mechanic work was tough and Bobbie got homesick, so they moved back to Arizona for good in 1956 where they lived with Bobbie's mother and widow, Louise, while Allen opened Al Bell's Flying A on Route 66. He was the only employee and Bobbie would take him his dinner every night so he could keep working. Allen and Bobbie were divorced in 1970 and she married Lou Cady Jr., a former WWII airman, in 1972. Lou and Bobbie had many adventures, living in numerous states, including Texas, Washington (on an island!), Arkansas and Tennessee. For the past several years they called Cody, Wyo., their home and both loved the small town feel and folksy, cowboy nature of that country. A prominent rancher, Duane Hagen and his wife befriended Lou and Bobbie and watched after them for the past 15 years. For the last several years of her life, Bobbie suffered from Alzheimer's, but even though doctors tried to have her committed to a nursing home, Lou stood firm and kept her at home where she died peacefully on March 1.

She is survived by her husband, Lou Cady, Jr.; one sister, Jean Linn; her son, Robert Bell; and grandchildren, Deena and Thomas Bell. A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. on March 15 at Mountain View Cemetery, conducted by Pastor Stan Simonik of Grace Lutheran Church.