Mona (Denson) Lange, daughter of Albert M. Denson and Lucille A. (Singletary) Denson Yopp, was born on October 14, 1907, in Bisbee, Cochise County, Arizona Territory. Albert and Lucy were both from the great state of Texas. Mona had one brother, Albert Jr.  Mona was "Miss Smoki" in 1929, in Prescott.  That same year, she graduated from Tempe Normal School.  Mona taught English as a second language to Hispanic children in Avondale, Arizona.

Mona eloped with Walter Rudolph Lange on December 14, 1934. They eloped to Florence, Arizona and kept their marriage a secret until the end of the school year, so she could continue teaching.  The family began living and working on ranches, and Mona became deeply involved in the day-to-day activities of a ranch wife.  The family lived at the Charles Ward Ranch in Rimrock (1938-1939) and the Yolo Ranch in Camp Wood (1940-1948), both located in Yavapai County.  They also lived at Willow Springs Ranch in the town of Oracle, Pima County (1949-1950); and the SV Ranch located northeast of Wikieup in both Yavapai and Mohave Counties (1950-1971).

She worked hard cooking for roundups, rising at 4:00 in the morning to cook steak and egg breakfasts before the crew started its long day. Then she was busy cooking most of the day to have another hearty meal ready when they returned at 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. Depending on where the cowboys were working and the availability of a four-wheel drive road, she took lunches to holding corrals where they were working cattle.

Her work also encompassed occasional substitution for the chore man. Her duties included caring for animals, milking the cows, nursing bunged-up cowboys, and driving long distances to shop for supplies and food in large quantities.

When her daughter, Mona, who was born in Prescott on March 23, 1938, started high school, she moved to Phoenix and secured a job in the school library. The two Monas commuted to the ranch (some 180 miles one-way) every weekend for four years.

Mona always welcomed people into her home and acquired a great variety of friends. She worked as an election volunteer when her husband was foreman of the Yolo Ranch, and neighbors filed through the cookhouse to cast their ballots. She was interested in nature and loved the outdoors. She often sent plant samples to the University of Arizona for identification, and, in her later life, she gathered dried pods and plants for sale to a Tucson wholesale florist.

Mona died in Phoenix on June 21, 1971, and her ashes were scattered over the SV Ranch near Wikieup.

Donor: Mona Lange McCroskey
Photo Located: Smoki Collection MS-11, Box 2
Updated: 11/05/2015, N. Freer