WILLIAM R. (BILL) MUSGRAVE passed away peacefully with Judy at his side at the Sheridan Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, losing a two-year battle with cancer.
Bill was born April 6, 1944, to Deva D. and Berniece Thomas Musgrave in Sheridan, WY. He spent his first eight years living at Decker, MT, where he started school at the Squirrel Creek School. The family moved to Sheridan from Decker when Bill was in 3rd grade so his brother could begin high school. Bill could often be found sitting on the creek bank longing for the country, sometimes when he was supposed to be in class. He always looked forward to the weekends and summers when he could be in his beloved country. Bill graduated from Sheridan High School in 1962. At daylight, the morning after graduation, Bill was in Montana on a horse moving cattle.
Bill was a lifelong rancher never claiming to be a cowboy but a cowman. He ran a cow/calf operation on several different leased places continuing that practice even after he purchased his parents’ ranch near Decker, MT, in the 1970s. He especially enjoyed raising longhorn cattle the last few years of ranching, saying that they were the smartest breed he had ever been around.
United in marriage to Judy Peterson Compton on December 22, 1986, Judy brought two children to the marriage – Charlie and Kyle Ann Compton. Judy taught school in Sheridan, joining Bill weekends and summers on the ranch for nineteen years, before retiring.
In 2004, they sold a large portion of the ranch and all the cattle but continued to live on the home place along the Tongue River. They built a modular home in 2007 and had plans to restore the 1905 log homestead cabin that they had lived in for many years. They spent the last eight winters in the sunshine of Yuma, AZ, near Bill’s mother Berniece, where he made several close friends. Bill didn’t care if he ever saw snow again.
A true aficionado of western and local history, Bill loved listening to and telling stories of the old days. His mother said he was born 100 years too late. He always had a marvelous sense of humor, even when he was ill, and was proud to say that he never grew up. Bill was a true gentleman and admired by many as he worked to cultivate friendships with all ages.
Bill was a member of Sheridan Elks Lodge 520, the Northern Plains Resource Council, and the Montana Farm Bureau. Bill and Judy were honored by the Big Horn County Montana Conservation District with a Goodyear/NACD Conservation Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Resource Conservation in 1999.
Bill is survived by his mother Berniece of Sheridan and Yuma, AZ, wife Judy, son Charlie (Michella) Compton of GreatFalls, MT daughter Kyle Ann (Zane) Hopkins, and granddaughter Tiffany Hopkins all of Gering, NE, a nephew Tom (Sally) Musgrave of Gig Harbor, WA, and a niece Marianne (A.J.) Regnier of Ventura, CA. He was preceded in death by his father and brother Ted.
Cremation has taken place. Private family services, with Cathy Storm officiating, will be held with burial in the Elks section of the Sheridan Cemetery. A Celebration of Life Reception will be held at the Elks Lodge from 2:00pm–4:00pm on Wednesday, November 14, with Roger St. Clair facilitating the remembrances. The family welcomes friends sharing their memories of Bill at that time.
Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Berniece at 620 W. Loucks, Sheridan, WY 82801, and memorials may be made to the Sheridan County Museum, PO Box 73, Sheridan, WY