Photo Of Brother Stepping Up For Ranching Family After Dad Died Moves Sundance Woman To Tears

A Sundance woman said that when she caught a glimpse of her brother on their dads tractor plowing the snow to take care of his employees and his sisters and mother, her heart was filled with gratitude for her brother, who has filled-in for their Dad since he passed on.

Wendy Corr

February 26, 20235 min read

Tractor Snow Frolander
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The photo is simple: A man on a tractor is plowing the snowy driveway and followed by two plucky dogs.

But the love and devotion embodied in this simple image goes much deeper than the photo can express, said Becky Stoddard, who took the picture of her brother, Mike Frolander, through her kitchen window.

“Since my father’s passing, my brother has filled my father’s boots and held our family together,” Stoddard wrote on the Wyoming Through the Lens Facebook page captioning the photo she posted this week. “He has no idea how important he is to us! He is a business owner, a full-time coroner, an amazing brother & son, and one heck of a good man!”

Stoddard’s brother Mike is the Crook County coroner and owner/operator of Robert’s Machine and Repair in Sundance. The photo that moved Stoddard emotionally happened before a snowstorm and after Frolander had just made an official call as coroner.

It’s what the image represents that means so much, Stoddard said.

“He’s exhausted and tired, and this storm is rolling in,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “He had the dogs trailing behind him and here he came, just to make sure that everybody could get home safely before the storm came. And even though he’s exhausted, he’s just filled my father’s boots that way – everything that my father used to do for the ranch, my brother just slid right into that spot.”

Mike Frolander with sister Becky Stoddard, right, and sister Shannon, left (Photo Courtesy Becky Stoddard)

Sixth-Generation Ranchers

The family moved to the Frolander ranch in Sundance in 1969, where the family of Becky and Mike’s father Robert had lived for five generations.

Robert’s wife Patricia was the Wyoming state poet laureate from 2011-13. Their daughters Becky and Shannon are florists in Sundance, and the eldest Mike worked as an EMT and later the county coroner, as well as running the machine shop on the ranch after his father died in June 2016.

“When his heart physician said you can’t raise cows anymore, because it’s just too hard on you,” Stoddard said of her father, “then he opened up a machine shop out here on the ranch, and my brother worked for him faithfully all those years until my father passed away.” 

Stoddard said Mike is devoted to his sisters and his mother, who all live on the ranch.

“My sister lost her only child, Taylor, when he was 18 in a pretty horrific car accident (in 2014),” said Stoddard. “But there again is another spot that my brother stepped in and helped our entire family. He was the rock that helped get us through, because my dad was very sick at that time.”

Since their father’s passing, Stoddard said her brother has taken over all the tasks Robert used to do, on top of his own jobs.

“My brother grew up sitting right next to him watching everything that he did,” said Stoddard. 

(Photo Courtesy Becky Stoddard)

EMT To Coroner To Flower Delivery

Stoddard said Mike has been an EMT for decades and has encouraged her to become one as well. 

“I was an EMT for 16 years,” said Stoddard. “But more importantly, he was an EMT for quite some time, and then transitioned (to the coroner’s office). He was very interested in the coroner’s field as well as the medical field.”

Frolander has been the Crook County coroner for nearly 30 years, and although he holds that job as well as running the machine shop, he still makes time to help his sisters.

“Every Valentine’s Day, he dresses up and helps deliver flowers for us,” said Stoddard. “He loves that, because he loves the community.” 

(Photo Courtesy Becky Stoddard)

Filling His Father’s Shoes

Stoddard said that when she caught a glimpse of her brother on their dad’s tractor plowing the snow to take care of his employees and his sisters and mother, her heart was filled with gratitude for her brother, a humble man who is devoted to family and community.

“It was just such a powerful moment, seeing him in that tractor,” said Stoddard. “My father used to sit in the seat of that tractor and do this all the time for us kids, as well as the rest of the people that came in and out of the ranch, to the machine shop, our clients, our neighbors.”

Although the photo is simple, Stoddard said that “there’s an enormous amount of feeling and meaning behind it, because he’s such an incredible human being.”

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Wendy Corr

Broadcast Media Director