JOHN AND SELMA VENABLE COOKSEY BLANKENSHIP
From 'Fanning the Embers', published 1971, Range Rider Reps, Miles City, Montana
Life has always been busy and interesting for me -- like Dad, I enjoy all people. I was born in 1911, in Miles City to Van and Cora Venable. As a child we always had many extra persons around home. Norm and Herm, of course, are like brothers to me. Our work was also our play and way of life on the ranch. We rode to school and rode for pleasure. Several years we rode race horses at the Roundup Lelia Light right, Mary Cooksey left and Selma Venable (Queen of the Rodeo in 1928. July 4 for Johnny Ramer. He gave each of us 1/3 of the winnings. Dad helped us invest this in registered pigs and certified seed potatoes, which helped us through school. I was about 12 years old when I was thrown in front of the grandstand. As I loped by, A. G. Jones caught my horse by the cheek strap and jerked him to a sudden stop. I was furious because I had dirt on my white blouse and was embarrassed. Dad had told me to lope over to the race barn after I won the race. After I recovered from surgery in Rochester, Minn., I married Claude C. Cooksey, Aug. 2, 1934. 1 was the first member of the Christian Church to be married in the new building, by Rev. Perry Swan. We had two sons: Allan Gordon who died 18 days after he was born on Sept. 30, 1935, and James J., born Feb. 7, 1937. Jim now works at the Federal Boys Reformatory in Englewood, Colo. Claude died of rheumatic fever Dec. 4, 1937, in Dallas, Tex., as his family was taking us south for his health. I worked several years at the old County Farm hospital. In January, 1944, 1 returned to Montana Deaconess in Great Falls to complete my education. I later worked in Billings, Havre and Hardin; in Hardin I met John S. Blankenship. We were married June 23, 1947, in Miles City, by Rev. Fitz. John has a southern ranch background and is a third generation cattle rancher. He was born in Stegler, Okla., to J. S. and Isabell Caruth Blankenship. We have four sons: John S. 111, born Apr. 8, 1948, is in the service; Van Lee, born Sept. 21, 1949: Bert Edward, born Feb. 14, 1952; and William Robert, born June 2, 1953. All the boys are stock and ranch minded and they are presently raising registered Morgan horses with their parents. We have three grandchildren. I was night nurse at Sidney for five years while the boys attended high school. I am a charter member of the Range Riders Reps, belong to the Christian Church and the Nurses Association.