Earl Lawrence Dempsey

Earl Lawrence Dempsey was born November 11, 1894 in Iowa. His parents were Francis Xavier Dempsey and Katherine ("Kit") Brodie who were farmer/ranchers of Irish descent.

Earl Dempsey attended school through 2nd grade when he was needed at home to help with the farm. He grew to be an avid reader and had a beautifully scripted handwriting. His favorite book was The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayam.

In his teens he became a cowboy. During World War I he went to France with the "horse Marines," breaking and training horses for the U.S. Marines.

Before his marriage he roamed the west, working with his brothers on ranches throughout the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon. The Federal Census of 1920 lists him at age 25 as a roomer in a boarding house in Iowa.

When he and his brother Tom attended a dance in Astoria, Oregon he spotted a pretty girl with a red dress. He said to his brother, "I am going to marry that girl."

That girl was Evelyn Jensen, and in October 1923 they were married. He became "Daddy" to her two daughters, Jane, age 7 and Patricia, age 3.

Five years later he and Evelyn had another daughter, Helen Evelyn, born in Seattle, Washington.

Earl Dempsey spent many years as an insurance broker in Hawaii. He did very well as a businessman, and when the opportunity arose he bought the Eyres Transfer and Warehouse Co. in Seattle from his widowed sister-in-law. The Eyres Co. was deeply in debt when he bought it, but he turned it into a thriving business.

He was devoted and generous with his children and grandchildren who called him "Papa." He liked to tease Evelyn about her parties and society events, but it was always with a gentle humor, and the family could tell he was very proud of her. He once said he would get annoyed when she used every dish in the house for a meal because he had to clean up after her. But, when he thought about it, he realized it was a very great talent she had - the ability to use so many cooking utensils - so he had learned to admire her for it.
At one time he and Evelyn owned land in the Redmond Valley which is now a public park. He always owned Cadillacs and bought a new one every two years. The used one was offered to a family member or an employee.
Even though he was a successful business man for many years, he never lost his love of the Wild West. He had cowboy paintings on the walls, and when he died his gun and holster still hung from one of his bed posts.

E. L. Dempsey, circa 1950's

Earl Dempsey was truly a gentleman. When he died of cancer on June 4, 1975, one of his friends said he was "the finest man I ever knew."

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Family of Earl Dempsey and Evelyn Jensen Dempsey