Sophie Pelissier, 71, of Big Horn, Wyoming passed away on August 15th, 2012 at Sheridan Memorial Hospital.
She was born to Ethan A.H. Shepley and Sophie Baker Shepley in St. Louis, Missouri on January 18th, 1941, the youngest of four children. Sophie graduated from Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut in 1959 and attended Washington University in St. Louis.
Her childhood aspiration to become the "next Debbie Reynolds" would be put on hold when, on November 10th, 1962, she married Jack E. Pelissier, whom she had met at Eatons Ranch, where her family were regular guests. They lived briefly in San Diego, California while Jack completed his service in the United States Marine Corps, returning to Sheridan in 1964.
Sophie's first career was as wife, mother, and homemaker. As her time allowed, she became an avid tennis player, spent several years as an aerobics instructor at the YMCA, and later, starred in several productions for the Carriage House Theater. Of those productions, she was most fond of her turns as "Miss Adelaide" in "Guys and Dolls" and as "Dolly" in "Hello, Dolly!"
Her lifelong passion for the performing arts led her to her second career. As a tireless advocate and supporter of the "Save The WYO" foundation, Sophie helped lead the charge to save the old downtown movie theater from demolition and transform it into a center for the arts in Sheridan. Sophie's love of performing on stage found a new outlet during these years as a member of "The Femme Finales & Friends", a group of local performers who came together to put on shows to raise money to benefit the cause.
With the theater "saved", Sophie took a seat on the WYO's board of directors, until she was recruited by the board to take on the position of Executive Director, a position she held for the next ten years. It was in this role that she truly shined. From fundraising to hiring the staff to booking the talent to selling the tickets to (on occasion) helping to hang the lights, Sophie did it all, and it was during this period that The WYO's place in Sheridan's cultural landscape was secured. In honor and recognition of her efforts, Sophie received numerous awards and accolades, including The Wyoming Governor's Arts Award and was the first recipient of The Sheridan Press' "Person of The Year" honor.
Another of Sophie's favorite pastimes was travel. She had the opportunity to travel to Europe on several occasions with her daughter Suzie, as well as several vacations to Akumal, Mexico and Bali, Indonesia. Vacations were always an excuse to spend time with her family and to share stories and conversation over a glass of wine or a margarita.
To the end, Sophie maintained an incredibly active lifestyle. She continued to travel with her family and persisted in her exercise regimen that included long daily walks that put her in contact with so many different people around Sheridan. She loved everyone and they loved her in return.
Sophie is survived by her husband Jack, of Big Horn, WY, daughter Suzie (Andrew Stewart) of Los Angeles, CA, son Jay (Lauren) of Thousand Oaks, CA, and son Peter (Cathy) of Big Horn, WY. She was affectionately known as "Toots" to her four beautiful grandchildren, Will, Lulu, Bennett and Jack. Her sister Sally Lilly and her brother Lew Shepley, both of St. Louis, MO, also survive her. She will be missed by all.
No funeral is immediately planned, but a memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at The WYO Theater at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 6th, 2012.
Memorials in Sophie's memory may be made to The WYO Theater, Inc., 42 N. Main Street, Sheridan, WY 82801.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements..