Oct. 30, 1939 – April 25, 2016
Drue Tebbs-Meek died on April 25, 2016, at the age of 76 in her home in Cowley. She now rests peacefully and free of pain and worry in the Cowley Cemetery.
Drue was born on the James M. Tebbs Ranch three miles west of Cowley on Oct. 30, 1939. She was the youngest of six children born to Harriett “Hattie” Merrill and Jesse Tebbs. Her childhood nicknames were “sister” and “you little digger.”
At the age of 6, Drue and her family moved into town. Drue learned to work at an early age. She worked around the house and on the family ranch outside of town. She raised many bum lambs. She had a wonderful childhood, spending every holiday at her Granddad’s place, surrounded by all her cousins.
In her own words: “I realize what a tremendous, safe, secure, carefree life we had as youngsters, with our strong family ties.”
Many in Cowley remember Drue, as a young girl, walking down the street reading a book with her pet deer “Julie” following close behind. She always had a special place in her heart for animals, but lambs, deer and cats were her favorite.
After graduating from Cowley High School, Drue married Boots Shumway on Sept. 1, 1958. They had three children: Cresta, Rebb and Nathan. Rebb contracted a serious case of tonsillitis and died on Jan. 9, 1963, at the age of 18 months. Losing one of her children left a hole in her heart that never healed.
Drue and Boots were divorced, and Drue went back to college to complete her degree. She graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1973. She loved to teach English and English literature, poetry, mythology and writing. She was loved by many of her students throughout her years of teaching English literature in Cowley and Rigby, Idaho. She was also a substitute teacher for Big Horn School District No. 1 for many years.
After she retired she moved to Cowley to live the rest of her life. She loved writing the Cowley News for the Lovell Chronicle. Drue was married to Nate Townsend and then later married John Meek, who was the love of her life. Drue spent many years as a caregiver; she took care of John after a plane accident and after he was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She then took care of her brother Tom, who suffered from lung cancer, after he moved to Lovell.
Drue was an accomplished pianist and accompanied many musical numbers and church choirs. She was an accomplished poet. She was a voracious reader, reading several books per week. She particularly loved the classics, poetry and William Shakespeare. She loved animals, never leaving an animal that came into her life wanting for food or love.
What Drue will be remembered most for is her ability to love others. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, cousin and friend. She did not know a stranger and took great care to listen when other people told her about themselves. Several people have said Drue was the first person to welcome them to Cowley.
Drue Tebbs-Meek was preceded in death by her father and mother, her beloved son Rebb, her husband John Meek, her brother Thomas Tebbs, her sister Helen Schwartz and her stepson Tommy. She is survived by her daughter Cresta (Ray) Peterson, her son Nathan (Kathy) Shumway, three grandchildren, Reese (Stephanie), Jordan (Brittany) and Kyle Peterson, along with her cherished five great-grandchildren. She is also survived by John’s children Becky (Todd) Geary, Margie (Phil) Ovard, Johnny (Jessica), Teddy (Chidem) Michael and Lori (Andy) Metcalf. John and Drue had 26 grandchildren (plus spouses) and 19 great-grandchildren.
Drue once said, “I have always felt the tugging, the pull to return to my roots, my heritage, my family in Cowley, and here I am content at last, safe again.”
To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers & Gifts in Lovell, 307-548-7101