Famed Missoula mule named Horse dies after being hit by SUV in Washington

Horse, the cranky mule that turned into a jewel in a 20-year friendship with the late Dr. Deloit Wolfe of Missoula, is dead.

The molly was killed instantly in the wee hours of Oct. 22 when a sport utility vehicle hit her on a country road outside of Monroe, Wash.

“She and her sidekick Pony just got out of the gate, out of the fence line somewhere and went up on the road,” Deloit Wolfe Jr. of Monroe said Monday. “Somebody came around the corner and she was standing there and it killed her instantly.”

The accident occurred at 1 a.m. on Oct. 22, Wolfe said. Pony, also a mule, was shaken but uninjured.

“Nobody was hurt except for Horse, which was a blessing for all of us,” said Wolfe, who contacted the Missoulian with the bad news. “The thing too is I’m thankful the mule was killed instantly and not maimed for life.”

Wolfe took Horse and Pony to his Washington home some 25 miles northwest of Seattle at the request of his father shortly before the latter’s death in May 2010 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Dr. Wolfe, 79, had already helped immortalize the toffee-colored mule, carving her legs to anatomical correctness for A Carousel for Missoula in his last months. Three other sculptors completed the project, which initially was intended to honor Wolfe’s daughter Schoeni, a talented orthodontist who took her own life in 2005.

An official unveiling at the carousel took place five days after Deloit Wolfe’s death.

The wooden Horse wasn’t in circulation at the carousel and was recently loaned to the Holt Heritage Museum, a personal museum west of Lolo. Ramona and Bill Holt were friends of Dr. Wolfe.

“It was his wish for it to come out here if it was not in use at the carousel,” Ramona Holt said Monday. “They have no storage area where they can keep (extra horses) so they won’t get damaged, so we said yes, we’d be happy to take it.”

The Holts have Horse displayed in front of a white vis-à-vis carriage, and are contemplating holding a public reception for the addition. Visitors are welcome, but only by appointment at 273-6743.

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