Joe and Sharon McDonald
Joe with Susie O'Brien, Randy and Ginny Bailey and Sharon McDonald
Joe with Richard McDonald
Joe and Jay O'Brien
All of the photographs above were in Joe and Janie's house on his 64th birthday.
It seems a lot of memories have gone down this trail-
towards a destination at the time unknown.
Like a ghost light sparkling in the darkness.
Who leads this path...do we really know?
From a small town in Oklahoma,
putting people's groceries in their cars,
Knowing there were other paths to travel
towards this journey from his heart.
In later years, he went to school in the midst
of Oklahoma where the cowboys rule.
Never to become a stranger to hard work that lay ahead.
From running a cotton gin and being a rancher to trading
horses even if it was the same one time and time again.
There were no rules to follow; there were no fears he had.
This distinguished cowboy has the
true grit to stand for what he believes.
This mysterious stranger takes no bull from anyone
who is chicken about any kind of deed.
Chicken to be the optimum word, he has no regards
for this meat, Possibly because one summer
long ago he had to eat it two times a week.
Always known to be a sport and striving in whatever
he pursues to do. Still, there was something missing,
some place close to his heart not yet fulfilled
until July of 1983, that is, when he married the
love of his life, Janie, and they both said "I do"...
Joe has been blessed with a successful life both
personally and professionally. With the feedyards that he
heads today, to be looking back on all the memorable times
of the past, and for future stories to be told...
May the journeys encountered on the way be a a prize
in your heart to be treasured now and forever.
Happy trails to you.
Written by Mary Haygood for Joe's 1998 Birthday Celebration.
Joe Hathoot passed away from a heart attack on October 6, 1999. He put together the group that presently owns the lot and was the heart of the organization.
In addition to that, Joe was a good friend. He could lighten up a conversation when it needed levity and could get serious when it was time. Joe never had difficulty in making a decision; yet, he was not rash. Joe was fair, firm and fun.
He is pictured here at his birthday party last month. Joe loved people, dogs, ranching and hunting. Friends from all over shared life with him.
Joe's last season was a good one. He had reorganized his ranch and was proud that his cattle gained over 2 pounds per day without supplemental feed.
One of my favorite stories about Joe happened when Joe was president of Texas Cattle Feeders. At the evening meal of the summer meeting, the kitchen ran out of steaks and sent the last table chicken. Sitting at that table were Joe's partners, the Webbs and Dave DeLaney. I walked by the table and Dave called me over and pointed out the chicken. Always after a way to gig a friend, I went to Joe's table and told him. He wouldn't believe me, but I got him to see for himself.
I don't know if Joe originated the saying, "Promote beef, run over a chicken." He did print up bumper stickers saying it and he didn't like chicken. He sure didn't like chicken being served to his friends at a beef meeting he chaired. What I started as a small gig, turned major. Joe got the chef to find steaks and Dave told me he got a lot better steak than anyone else in the room. At the annual convention, we had a special plate of chicken cooked up and served to Joe.
Joe always had his lab with him. Hershey, a chocolate lab and great hunter, always wore a bandana and it was a different color each day. Joe swore she brought him a different color each morning.
Neal remembers, "During the mist of the dairy-herd-buy-out I was in Joe's office one afternoon and the current condition of the cattle market caused a much heated discussion. Towards the end of the discussion, Joe said something I will always remember, 'I have been worth a lot and I have been dead broke several time in this business, but looking back I guess it has made me a decent living. I guess that is all any of us can expect out of life - a decent living'."
Whether you were doing business with Joe, following his great bird dogs or having a drink, you always enjoyed his company. We have had many laughs and no regrets from our association with him. We already miss him.