Wendy Vaughan has lived in the Cochrane area most of her life. Her parents, James C ‘Jim’ and Matilda ‘Tillie’ (maiden name Zuccolo) Richards, homesteaded land 30 miles west of Cochrane in 1936.
Wendy and her younger brother, Doug, were raised on this ranch, and because of the distance from Cochrane, they had to take their schooling by correspondence. Wendy did, however take her Grade 12 in Cochrane when she had the opportunity to board with her Aunt Katie Zuccolo.
There wasn’t much social life for kids who lived so far out of town in those days so Wendy and Doug both belonged to the Cochrane 4H Beef Club. “This became our social club,” said Wendy.
Doug Richards is still ranching the original homestead today, while Wendy decided to venture off the ranch to pursue her own career. She attended Modern College of Business in Calgary and was subsequently hired by Canadian Superior Oil & Gas in the royalty department.
Wendy met Walter Vaughan at a rodeo at the Calgary Stampede and they married on Nov. 10, 1966 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Cochrane.
“I was well prepared if he ever forgot our anniversary and sure enough it happened one year,” said Wendy. “It was the day, after when I said to him – do you know what day it is? He said no. I told him it’s Remembrance Day. We both still chuckle about this.”
Wendy and Walter lived in Cochrane for the first two years after they were married, as Walter worked at the Domtar plant (which is now our Quarry shopping area). Wendy landed a job closer to home at the Wildcat Hills plant, which lasted nine years. She was the only female working there at the time she was hired. When Walter’s father, Raymond Vaughan, became very ill and suddenly passed away, they moved to his ranch east of Bottrel in order to take care of the livestock and this is still their home today.
It is interesting to note that the government had opened up land to be homesteaded in the Peace River Country in the 1960s. This was called “proving up the land,” whereby if you lived on a quarter section for a period of one year and cleared at least 60 acres, the land would be yours. Both Walter and Wendy were there in the ‘60s and when this offer was extended, they decided to go there again. So in 1974 they moved to a place between Spirit River and Bonanza and stayed for a four-year period.
After they returned to their land east of Bottrel in 1978, Wendy got a job with the County of Mountain View as a purchasing agent for two years before settling down to have a family.
Wendy and Walter had two daughters: Alberta Rose, married to Cory Telfer, living in Edmonton with their daughter Una; and Amanda, married to Roggero Ciofani, with their two children, Siena and Andreas, living in Calgary.
Wendy has always enjoyed her work and still does. For many years she has been operating a business selling promotional products from her home.
Besides her work, she has always had a deep passion for writing cowboy poetry and has been doing this for many years. She is a member of the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association and has held various positions over the last 25 years. Some of her work can be found in the More Big Hill Country Cochrane and Area history book. In 2003 she decided to publish a book titled The Corral Bars Are Down, which can be found in the Cochrane Library. Her descriptive stories are mostly about local people. You may want to have a read.