Nov. 10, 1943 – May 27, 2012
Warren Walter Shidler, 69, of Lovell died May 27, 2012, at North Big Horn Hospital due to complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. Funeral services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, May 31, at Haskell Funeral Home in Lovell. Burial will take place at Willow Grove Cemetery in Buffalo on Friday, June 1.
Warren “Tookie” Shidler was born Nov. 10, 1943, near Lovell to Fred and Edna Brightly. He joined older brothers Fred, Charlie and Leonard. The family later included his sisters Heidi (Sharon), Gale and Dale. His early years were spent at Gyp Creek and the Cowley area, where so many memories were made. His favorite was a caper with his brother Lenny, involving a mud bog and dynamite.
Somehow the Brightly Boys had become demolition experts, and dynamite was the tool of choice. Leonard came up with a plan to dynamite a bentonite bog. He sent Tookie to crawl across the muck and set the dynamite. Then they set up the fuse, and hunkered down to watch. Just as things were heating up, they saw their father walking the trail toward the bog. In an instant, the bog dislodged and shot airborne. Tookie and Leonard stuck around long enough to watch the muck explode. They knew their father would be very unhappy about the shower he was going to get, so they took off before the muck could settle.
Tookie and Leonard returned for supper, sure they would have a big plate of punishment waiting for them. As Fred sat down to eat, he told the family about a meteor striking the bentonite bog that day. Somehow, that man never got a spot of mud on him, but he managed to make a whole new trail through the greaseweed in his hurried departure.
When he was 7, Tookie went to live with Earl and Janet Shidler on their ranch west of Cowley. Tookie grew up helping Earl on the ranch. One of his fondest memories was harnessing the workhorses, Buck and Brownie. He was too little to harness them from the ground, so he improvised and used a milking stand to get the job done. Tookie loved to work the ground and make things grow, and he had a knack for irrigating.
At 17, Tookie joined the army. He was stationed in Germany from 1960 to 1963. He loved the military, and like all things in his life, he found humor and fun in it. Wherever he went, Tookie always had a good time. He wanted to serve in Vietnam, but was never called up.
When Tookie returned from Germany, he married Linda Beddes from Cowley. Eventually, they moved to Denver, and Tookie went to work as a welder in a metal fabrication shop. He honed his welding skill, and used it throughout his life. Tookie and Linda later divorced.
During the oil boom of the 70s, Tookie went to work on the rigs. Drilling paid well, and he was able to purchase a farm at the bottom of the Sand Hills southwest of Cowley. He loved the view it offered of the Pryors and Big Horns.
Tookie married Joyce Scott in 1976. Benjamin joined them August 18, 1977, followed by Daniel October 13, 1978. Tookie loved his boys, and he gave them his sense of humor and his wisdom.
In 1980, Tookie went to work on the rigs in Colombia, South America. The rainforest was a whole new experience for a guy from Wyoming. Tookie came to love the jungle and all its wonders.
Colombia was a country of unrest, and Communist Guerillas invaded the rig compound, taking Tookie and his crew hostage. They were rounded up and held in a small area for several weeks. The Colombian government eventually organized paratroopers to fly in and retake the compound. Tookie said the worst part of the ordeal was the food. No supplies were allowed in, and by the end of it, the crew was pretty hungry.
On July 4, 1984, Ruth was born to the family. Tookie called her his little firecracker. Shortly afterward, the family moved back to the farm near Cowley. Eventually, his marriage to Joyce ended.
Tookie married Sheila Morris Nov. 25, 1989. He adopted her son, Craig, in May 1990, and became a hero to one lucky little boy.
Tookie worked construction and the oil rigs for many years, but health issues began to take a toll, and he was hired by the Office Shop to do daily deliveries. His health continued to decline until he could no longer work, and he retired to work on his farm. He loved the outdoors and found peace in the landscape surrounding him. He was an avid treasure hunter and loved an adventure.
Tookie was diagnosed with dementia in 2004, and later developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Through it all, Tookie kept his faith and loved his family. His sense of humor was endless, and he passed it on to everyone he knew.
Tookie was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his wife, Sheila; sons Benjamin (Jennifer) of Thermopolis, Dan (Bethany) of Evanston, Craig of Lovell; his daughter Ruth of Salt Lake; his granddaughter Hailey, who he waited patiently for; his mother-in-law, Rita; his brothers, Fred, Charlie and Leonard; and his sisters Heidi, Gale and Dale; his dear friends Mel and Leah Andren of Cody and Jim and Debbie Warner of Basin; and many, many friends and family who cared about him. Tookie will always be remembered for the laughter he brought to their lives.