My turn: Fair booth honors longtime resident

More than a few of us wondered if a Roosevelt County Fair could happen without Lillie Belle Toombs.

Lillie Belle, who died early this month at the age of 90, "was the heart of the Home Arts building" for seven decades of Roosevelt County Fairs, according to Connie Moyers, our local extension home economist.

Diane Lieb, superintendent of the Home Arts building, said Lillie Belle "exemplified what the county fair was meant to be."

In her prime, Lillie Belle had dozens of entries each year: Rows of canned goods, quilts, baked items, Christmas ornaments, and always — always — a western shirt made for her son Douglas.

Within hours of her death a few weeks ago, Connie and Diane simultaneously came up with the same idea: An entire booth dedicated to Lillie Belle and her 72-year run as a member of extension homemaker's clubs.

The memorial booth was filled with items Lillie Belle made, including an almost-finished piece of embroidery with a threaded needle tucked and waiting for her touch, probably destined for this year's fair. Her framed photo sat atop an antique bureau.

With her characteristic humbleness, Lillie Belle would have probably said it was all too much.

She would have been wrong.

Like her last piece of handiwork, it was perfect.

If Betty Williamson had been a pioneer woman, she would have wanted Lille Belle Toombs on her wagon train. You may reach her at

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