Dorothy Amanda Eva Brill Epps passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 25, 2018, at home on her beloved ranch, surrounded by her family and friends. Dorothy was 105 at the time of her death.
Born in White Oaks, New Mexico, on August 20, 1913, Dorothy moved to the family ranch on the northeast side of the Capitan Mountains when she was 3 months old. She spent her time helping with chores and running the mountain. When she was 4, her first job was running the sluice trough daily to remove all the needles and trash that had clogged up the house water supply. When she was 5, the family built a house closer to the Bethel School house, where she attended school every day. Her Aunt Florence was the teacher, so she was very motivated to go.
She moved to Roswell to attend high school and graduated from Roswell High in 1929. She attended Business College in Abilene, Texas where she graduated at the top of her class. Despite her success, she was very homesick. To be able to visit home, many of the students, including Dorothy, would pool what little money they had to come home for several vacations and holidays.
After college Dorothy moved home and enjoyed living back on the ranch and attending the dances and social functions of the day. She met Nute H. Epps originally from Deming, NM, at one of the dances at Pine Lodge and fell in love. They were married October 29, 1935 in Alamogordo New Mexico.
Their married life started in Santa Rosa, NM where they helped his mother run the Club Cafe. After that, they had many adventures including traveling cross country while Nute worked for the War Mapping Department. From Crescent City, CA to Gettysburg, PA, they lived in their Silverstream Trailer pulled by a Dodge International. After the War they returned to New Mexico, where they settled in Roswell. Their daughter, Nickie Sue Epps, was born on May 31, 1946. From Roswell they moved to Conchas Dam and established a concession stand and the boat docks. While there, Dorothy looked after their small daughter, helped with the business, and became postmaster. Later, Dorothy operated the hotel lodge on Conchas Lake.
When Nickie was eight, they moved to Tularosa, New Mexico and purchased several plots of land for business development. They ran a gravel pit and a small trailer park. During this time, Nute was also the head engineer working on the new Highway 70 being built from Ruidoso Downs to Hondo. On top of all this, they also worked at the ranch.
Nute died August 15, 1958, from a massive heart attack on their way back from the ranch. Afterwards Dorothy continued to raise her daughter and run the businesses while also caring for her elderly parents. In 1964, Nickie Sue gave birth to her first child, naming him Nute Houston Beach after her father. Dorothy’s father, Nickolas Brill died February 3, 1965. Dorothy’s mother, Mary Ann Current Brill, died November 10, 1973, shortly before the birth of her great-grandchild and namesake, Mary Brilla Folkner. Nickie Sue also preceded her mother in death.
Despite these losses, Dorothy continued to run both the businesses and the ranch, not an easy task for a woman raising a child alone, but she was determined to keep her family ranch and husband’s legacy alive. She did with both with grace and courage. Dorothy was very blessed to have the support of neighbors, and close family and friends at this difficult period in her life She continued to actively ranch up until the age of 99, when she fell and sustained an injury that prevented her from continuing with the physical labor. While not able to work in her remaining years Dorothy remained at home with friend and family and was a constant source of love, inspiration, and devotion to all in her presence.
At the time of her death Dorothy is survived by her grandchildren, Nute Beach and Mary Folkner of Capitan NM, and her great-granddaughters, Sydney Fae Beach and Cheyenne Amanda Beach and great-great grandson Cyrus Ian O’Connor.
Memorial services will be held at Ballard’s Funeral Home on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 10:30am. A luncheon will be at The Kokopelli Room at the Roadway Inn following the service.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.