Motion Picture Industry

An envelope containing a letter arrived from the Motion Picture Industry Insurance (MPI).  The letter expressed condolences on the death of Kathleen Black.  It went on to say that the primary beneficiary (Barbara A. Discoe) had also died and that the Lemhi County Humane Society (LCHS) was the contingent beneficiary.  In order to receive Kathleen Black’s $2,000.00 life insurance policy the LCHS must submit “certified” death certificates for each individual and complete the death form.

MPT Letter

Letter that started it all!

Who were these women?  Movie stars????  An email was immediately sent to the LCHS Board.  No one had heard of them.  A call was placed to the MPI office.  A very nice woman documented the inquiry call and transferred me to the “coordinator.”  I left a message.  And I waited.  And waited some more.             Hmmmm.  No help there. One of the honorary Board Members remembered the two but not through an association with the LCHS.  However, it was a start.  She remembered they had lived in Salmon on South Saint Charles because she bought an organ from them for her mom in the early 1980’s.

That information led to many internet searches and Facebook searches. There were many women named Kathleen Black.  Without a middle name (or even initial) it seemed like a lost cause.  BUT $2,000 was a lot of money to give up on.

Through an obituary listing, family members of a Barbara A. Discoe were contacted.  No one responded.  Finally one of her sons was reached by phone.  His mom had spent her entire life working on Fisherman’s Wharf.  Ooops.

Another internet search led to the Lemhi County Gen Web Project.  Barbara had died on 10/3/1999.  A visit to the Salmon Public Library for a microfiche obituary search resulted in a new clue.  Because the microfiche reader was being difficult the Head Librarian came to the rescue and learned of the quest.  She remembered both women and said they were supportive patrons of the library.  She remembered Barbara had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and they had moved to Missoula so she could receive treatment.  The Librarian printed off a form which would be needed to request a certified death certificate from the State of Montana. She shared she thought the two women had been members of the Back Country Horsemen (BCH).MT Form

A long time member of the BCH was called.  She did not remember the two women but suggested contacting another individual who had started the BCH.  His wife answered the phone and lo and behold she had been their meter reader.  She confirmed where they had lived while in Salmon and that they had moved to Missoula.

Given the free searches was not yielding use information it was time to move to the next step.  Genealogy membership searches.  Thank goodness for trial memberships.  It was learned Kathleen’s middle name was Newton and she had died in Missoula on January 28, 2008.  The information needed to complete the death certificate requests was found and the trial memberships were cancelled!


Certified State of MT Death Certificate


Certified Return Receipt – Proof MPI Receives Documents

Fortunately for the LCHS Montana is a state that issues certified death certificates to whoever requests them for a small fee.  If either of these women had died in Idaho only a surviving family member could obtain their death certificates.   Old Census records showed both women were only children.



A Complete Package = $2,000.00










A certified return receipt envelope was mailed to the MPI containing the two death certificates and a completed death form. It will be an exciting day when the $2,000.00 check is received.

It doesn’t seem fitting to close without sharing some information about Kathleen and Barbara.  Kathleen was born in New York, New York in 1919.  She was an Administrative Assistant for the MPI.  She lived 88 years.  Barbara was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1935.  She was an Accountant and lived 64 years.  According to old Census Records both women were only children.  What brought them to Salmon?  Visiting friends while on a vacation.  It is obvious they became friends of the LCHS.

Their thoughtfulness for animals is an indication of the type of people they must have been.  $2,000.00 goes a long ways to make the animals that currently call our Shelter home comfortable while they wait for their forever families.  Kathleen Black and Barbara Discoe – THANK YOU!!!!

Brother Mo’s Llamas Find Forever Homes

labama n moses

The llamas below a ribbon of light.


A Lemhi County resident, Sally, recently wrote to the LCHS.  We thought all of you would enjoy –

“I was first drawn to the llamas when I noticed a posting on the Salmon Animal Shelter facebook page for Moses. I was told that Moses had found a home already, but that there was yet another llama that needed a home, so I agreed to take that one. Only problem was, we had to go out and catch this one!

I agreed to be a part of the capture effort so when Carol Yerden got word that the llama had been spotted up Hayden Creek I met up with her and Chuck Kempner – the llama whisperer – at the shelter and we set out to meet the rest of the capture crew. This included Fran Tonsmier and her ranch hand who, it turns out, could lasso just about anything, which is how we finally managed to catch the llama. I know all of us felt great joy knowing that we saved this guy’s life and it was without question a good thing to do. From the moment we caught him I started calling him Labama – don’t know why, but that’s his name now.

A couple days after Labama came to live at my place Carol called to check in on him, and let me know that the first llama, Moses, was in need of a different home. Things weren’t working out well at his first home, so Carol asked if I might be willing to take Moses also. What the heck! I thought it might be nice for the two llamas to be together again, after all they’ve been through, so agreed to take on Moses.

It turns out that Moses had been the dominant animal when they lived on Hayden Creek, so the last few days have been very interesting watching the two males do what llamas do to try to reestablish the pecking order. I think we are finally coming to a peace settlement and the two are starting to settle down together.

Besides the two llamas I have two dogs, two cats, one Scarlett Macaw Parrot, two pygmy goats, one La mancha milking goat, chickens, and an Arabian/Draft horse. Many of these were rescues and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I can honestly say that rescuing an animal gives me the most joy I’ve ever had.”

Thank you for all the love you share, Sally!

Thank you, Bill!

Friends of a friend!

Friends of a friend!

About two years ago the Salmon Animal Shelter started receiving a generous monthly donation from Bill who lived in Tacoma.  Month after month his checks arrived yet no one involved with the Lemhi County Humane Society knew who he was.  For every donation we sent Bill a thank you note.

We wondered why Bill was sending monthly checks to our shelter in Salmon, Idaho.  We were certainly pleased yet our curiosity was aroused.  Bill became a sort of pen pal with the volunteer who sends the thank you’s.  She started telling him about happenings at the Shelter.

In July, 2013, Bill included a note with his check.  He was coming to Salmon!  An invitation was extended to him to contact us because we wanted to meet him and give him a tour of our shelter.  He graciously accepted and we finally learned who Bill is.

Bill has vacationed in Salmon for years and decided his donation would probably make a bigger difference to the Salmon Animal Shelter.  He has a soft spot for dogs and since he knows older dogs are harder to place, he opens his home and his heart to them.  He shared a picture of the two he currently shares his life with.

We gave Bill a tour of our facility and showed how donations such as his make a difference.  Bill went back to Tacoma and then another check was received.  Included in it was a delightful note which he ok’d posting.  It reads in part:  “I was very impressed with your shelter and all the hard work you put into it.  I would say the happiest most animal friendly shelter I have ever seen.

Thank you, Bill!!!