By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Lake Kiowa —
Longtime Lake Kiowa resident Dorothy Baskett may hesitate in taking much credit for where her community is today, but admitted she became a resident during its formative stages, had a hand in its progress, and speaks highly of her surroundings.
“She’s been active since they bought their property here,” said son William Baskett. “She’s kind of an activist.”
Baskett, 88, has been a member of the Lake Kiowa Women’s Club, golf association and fire department auxiliary group, among other offices. She and late husband Max became official residents of the city nearly 40 years ago, and civic involvement was always part of their residence.
“We were here for so long that I feel like anybody who came early had to be an activist to keep the place going,” she said Wednesday. “And everybody took part. It wasn’t just me. But if anything came up that anyone felt needed to be corrected, we did it. I don’t know if that’s being an activist or just part of the community.”
The Basketts first visited a Lake Kiowa lot in 1968, following a return from Japan and Max Baskett’s military service in Southeast Asia.
“He had taken a job with the Federal Aviation Administration, and some of his friends mentioned Lake Kiowa,” she said. “We came up and looked at the lot — and I thought he was crazy for building a ‘lake lot’ on a lake that didn’t have any water in it. But it all worked out.”
She explained her husband had always wanted to build a house, which triggered their decision to move to Lake Kiowa despite her reservations. They set about constructing their home in 1970, a process that took five years while they stayed in Colleyville.
“We worked on holidays and weekends and summers and it took us a while, but we finally moved in,” she said.
The Basketts became permanent Lake Kiowa residents in 1975, raising three sons, all now grown fathers: Bob Baskett, an attorney in Dallas; Bill Baskett, a retired Army pilot; and Bruce Baskett, now a Paraguay resident with his wife, a Peace Corps administrator.
“I’m proud of all three of the boys, and I have grandkids and great-grandkids now,” she said.
Husband Max, died in 1998, possessing the distinction of having survived three major wars. Dorothy Baskett said one credit to Lake Kiowa’s community is that it embraces those residents who share her status.
“We have a lot of widows and widowers, and we are included in everything and we like to stay busy,” she said. “We don’t like to be out of place just because we’re widows and widowers. The people are absolutely wonderful, and I don’t care if they have a penny in their pocket or a million dollars; it doesn’t matter to me at all.”
She said the community includes people of many different backgrounds, and any tensions that do arise generally resolve themselves.
And Dorothy Baskett added that Lake Kiowa is not, as per its reputation, an elitist retirement village.
“It’s a very active community and a lot of people don’t know that,” she said. “They say, ‘You’re in a retirement community.’ And I say, ‘No, you wouldn’t know that I was retired.’
“I am retired; I’m 88 going on 90, in two years,” she said. “But that doesn’t make any difference. As long as God will let me, I will take part in anything, in any way that I can.”