Dolores Gossner Wheeler passed away, surrounded by family, in her home after a courageous battle with breast cancer on November 21, 2018. Exactly two years after her husband, Allen passed away. Dolores was born July 7, 1937 in Darlington, Wisconsin to Swiss immigrants, Edwin Gossner Sr. and Josephine Oechslin Gossner.
Dolores spent her early years in Wisconsin and California where her dad was a cheesemaker. She was just four years old when her family drove through Cache Valley on a vacation to Yellowstone. “The little Switzerland of the Rockies” called to her parents and they set down cheese making roots in the dairy rich valley.
As a young girl Dolores loved riding her horses in the foothills of Smithfield. She would carry a fondness for spirited horses through her life and enjoyed watching her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren share her passion for riding.
Much to the disappointment of her mom, who wanted Dolores to go to college, a young country boy gave Dolores a diamond ring for graduation. On September 17, 1955 she married Allen Wheeler at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Logan Utah.
Dolores and Allen bought a small home in Lewiston where they would build a sizable farm over their lifetime together. Even though Dolores had been raised in town she had always been a country girl at heart and quickly learned how to raise and kill her own chickens, operate a tractor and drive a farm truck without any brakes.
Dolores was a rodeo queen, and enjoyed barrel racing. Her love for horses took her and Allen on pack trips and they were members of the Lewiston Riding Club. Twice they owned AQHA World Champion Chariot Horses. They enjoyed snowmobile trips, and Utah State Aggie Basketball games with their good friends over the years. She cherished the time spent with the ladies in her pinochle club. There was a special bond with those ladies and their families.
Dolores balanced raising two beautiful daughters with working on the farm and working at the family owned cheese plant. Through her example she taught her daughters the value of hard work. Dolores was a great cook and loved to prepare a feast for holidays and family celebrations.
In 1984 Dolores became President, CEO and Chairman of the board for Gossner Foods. When her father died in 1987 the company was small and struggling, and under Dolores’ careful watch the company has grown and prospered. She received many professional honors and awards during her career including serving as the first woman chair of the board of the Utah Manufacturers Association, Utah Entrepreneur of the Year, and Utah Manufacturer of the Year.
However, the awards and recognition were not nearly as important as the relationships she developed with those she worked with. She would credit the success of Gossner Foods to the strength and devotion of her employees and dairy producers. Dolores truly loved her employees, producers and milk haulers and put her heart and soul into giving back to them and to the community.
Dolores is survived by her daughters Trish (Wayne) Gibbs, Dixie (Alan) Udy; grandchildren Kristan (Casey) Earl, Travis (Sarah) Gibbs, Cody Udy, Dusty (Tawny) Udy, Tyler Udy (Christina), Nicole (AJ) Sanchez and 12 great-grandkids, each one who held a special place in her heart.
She was preceded in death by her dear husband Allen Wheeler; parents Edwin Sr. and Josephine Gossner; in-laws Lloyd and Delva Wheeler; brother Edwin Jr. (Donna) Gossner; and a grandson, Ryan Udy.
A viewing will be held Tuesday, November 27th from 5-8 p.m. at Allen-Hall Mortuary on Center Street in Logan. A reflection and celebration of life with be held Wednesday, November 28th at 11:00 a.m at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church 725 South 250 East, Hyde Park. Following the vigil, a Funeral Mass will be held at 1:00 pm in Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. Dolores will be buried next to her husband and parents in the Smithfield City Cemetery.
Over her lifetime Dolores lost several family members to cancer. Her last great passion was to improve the options for cancer treatment in Cache Valley so that patients did not have to travel in order to receive the very best care and treatment options.
Dolores was proud to contribute personally and through the family business to facilitate better cancer care in Cache Valley through the Gossner Cancer Center, which will open in the Spring of 2019. As a family we would like thank Dr. Haslam, Dr. Johnson, and everyone at the Cancer Center and Infusion Center. Also, her lifelong physician and friend Dr. Hirst for the care that was provided to her. In honor of her commitment to fight cancer please consider a donation, in lieu of flowers, to the Gossner Cancer Center through the Logan Regional Hospital Foundation 435-716-5430.