Coyne L. (Sonny) Tibbets, 73, died Saturday, January 9, 2010 at Sheridan Memorial hospital, following a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Cremation has followed. A memorial service will be held at Kane Funeral Home, 689 Meridian on Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. All family and friends are welcome to attend.
Sonny was born November 1, 1936 in Sheridan Memorial Hospital to Coyne C. Tibbets and Marie P. Anderson-Tibbets. The family lived on a ranch north of Leiter, WY where he attended various country schools until old enough to attend Sheridan High School. He graduated with the class of 1954. He and his high school sweetheart, Margaret Leland, were married in August of 1955. They lived at the family ranch for nearly three years, then worked briefly on a ranch south of Buffalo. From there they moved to another ranch south of Gillette, where Sonny worked as a ranch hand until April of 1962. Sonny and his wife bought an irrigated place at Leiter to be operated in conjunction with his parents property. The couple were divorced in 1991.
Sonny was active in the Cadiz School Board at Leiter, and later the combined board of Arvada, Leiter and Clearmont. He served 24 years as board member, including several terms as Board Chair, and was involved in the planning and building of the B.O.C.E.S. School in Gillette as well. He was also on the ditch board serving the Clearcreek valley, and was instrumental in helping to form the Cadiz Corporation to secure water for the State of Wyoming. For years, he also wrote regular editorials in the Country Journal and, later, The Sheridan Press under the title-name Willie and Sunshine. Sonny was a skilled big game hunter and guided out-of-state hunters at the family ranch and in the Big Horn Mountains for many years.
In 1992, after losing the property to the state, he moved to Sheridan and studied to become a real estate agent. After passing the exams, he worked briefly for ABC Realty and Purcell Land Company, eventually striking out on his own as Sunshine Realty, specializing in rural properties. He was a member of the Realtor’s Association, serving as president for a year. He enjoyed writing, reading, particularly books by Louis L’Amour, and playing the guitar in his leisure moments.
He is survived by six children, Coyne E. (Butch) of Orlando, FL, Diane Campbell, Susan Rochelle and Michael all of Sheridan, Elizabeth (Beth) Welsh of Redlands, CA, and David, whereabouts unknown, as well as eight grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made at First Interstate Bank, 4 South Main, Sheridan, Wyoming 82801.