Lela Patricia “Pat” Campbell

Oct. 12, 1935- June 10, 2015

Pat Campbell led a life pulled straight from an old western tale. It was composed of wild stories, many nights spent gazing at the stars after a long adventurous day on the hill surrounded by strangers that she claimed as friends in short order. Her journey started in Wales Township, Mich., where her closest sister was 20 years her elder, thus leaving Pat with room to run and wreak havoc on her little hometown, making her name known quite early in life.

[caption id="attachment_9923" align="alignright" width="126"]Lela Patricia “Pat” Campbell Lela Patricia “Pat” Campbell[/caption]

In 1954 she wed Donald Campbell (deceased) and built a family around him and her three boys, Donny, Rick and Norman. In 1973, Pat packed up her family and headed west to what would be her home until the day she died. A homestead filled with heartache, entrepreneurial success, family and utter love of this great land.

Pat’s wild west story began with heartache. Shortly after they arrived on the Tillett Ranch to build their dream, she lost her first son Donny in an accident on the Deaver Reservoir. However, this great pain would not deter Pat or her family from their western dreams. In 1981, while visiting with her daughter-in-law LuAnne, they hatched a plan to repair horse blankets. This small business model (that consisted of one sewing machine, a small one-car garage and two gals) grew into a tack and saddle shop that ships and conducts business all over the world.

To this day, cowboys and cowgirls come from hundreds of miles away to find almost anything they could want or need for their horse at the shop. Mostimportantly, Pat helped create a business that welcomed strangers in from every walk of life for a stout cup of  “camp coffee” and a great conversation. This little repair shop was built into the The Frannie Tack Shop: “The Best Little Horse House In The West,” a slogan, of course, that was created by the only mind wild enough to dream that big.

Even though there was a business to operate, Pat’s story wasn’t to end as a simple business owner in a small town. Pat created adventure wherever she went.  If you were to ask anyone that knew her they would have a story to tell and each story would be unique, memories that the Campbell family hopes you hold onto and pass on as one of the great western stories of this area.

A few of Pat’s highlighted wild west adventures can be found along the trail of the Pony Express, next to the lakes and rivers and in the surrounding mountains, in the Big Horns during the great moose hunt of 2006, or even the stage where she was crowned TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Wyoming Queen.

Pat’s story ended just as it had begun with her last great adventure, a western shootout where she battled her greatest foes, but unfortunately this time she was not the fast draw. She died peacefully surrounded by the love of her closest family members in the same log cabin that holds so many great memories and western tales of her westward bound adventure.

“Happy trails my friends…. until we meet again.”

There will be no service, with a celebration of life to be announced at a later date. She was preceded in death by her husband Donald Campbell; sons Donny and Norman; brother Joe Sparks; sister Margaret Dunsmore; parents Herman and Lela Sparks and many others. She is survived by a son, Rick (LuAnne) Campbell; eight grandchildren andsix great-grandchildren; sister, Dorothy Potter and favorite nephew Jerry Sparks.