Wednesday, Jun. 26, was bittersweet for many at Boys Ranch as they gathered during a send-off reception for long-time house parents Cliff and Dona Goss.
Since 2009, this couple has served as house parents, most of this time as the primaries for Jefferies Home.
Work colleagues and numerous children came to the reception to wish them well.
The Gosses will be remembered for many reasons. One is their reputations for being tough, but fair house parents who provided many young men love and guidance over the years.
“I’m really going to miss all of his witty comments and the advice and wisdom he was always giving to us,” said Kevin, 15.
“Keep your elbows off the table” laughed Connor, 15, when asked what he learned. “Never back talk anyone, especially not Mrs. Goss! Stand up when a woman comes in the room! Take off your hat when you go inside! He is really big on table etiquette and manners.”
The Gosses have also inspired many of our young people with their classic western ways.
Cliff’s love for chuck wagon cooking is something he generously shared with Boys Ranch. Over the years, he often took his wagon to the annual Boys Ranch brandings to feed the crews or used it for camping overnight with youth and staff.
Cliff is also infamous for the fruit pies he and his helpers fry and serve at the annual Boys Ranch Rodeo +adventureFEST. This tradition has become a special staple that is in high demand each year — and one our community plans to continue.
believes she is more distraught about leaving Boys Ranch than her husband.
“He’s really looking forward to sleeping a whole night,” she laughed, reminiscing on Cliff’s willingness to supervise night activities and let her rest.
The Gosses have many wonderful memories they’ll take away with them.
While laughing, Cliff says his best memory happened last week when he got to spray all the boys in their house with a fire hose during the First Responder’s Day celebration on campus.
Another favorite, Cliff says, was the best prank ever.
“Two weeks after we became primaries, Dona and Leon Hollis worked with all the boys in the house to get them to all run out at the same time, setting off all the alarms,” Cliff recalled.
“I hustled out to locate and round them all back up only to find out when I got back to the house that they were all inside ready to surprise me for my birthday! I’ll never forget that one.”
During the reception, the Gosses were each gifted a hand-made Boys Ranch branding iron in honor of their service to our vibrant community.
The Gosses plan to relocate to Killeen, Texas, about 35 miles from their daughter and her family, including their only grandson.
Dona said she and Cliff have a farm in Clarendon, Texas, which they plan to keep. They will schedule their trips back to the Panhandle during dates when they can come and support activities at Boys Ranch.