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Obituary: Scifres; Lund; Oliver

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Zach Newton Scifres

Zach Newton Scifres: 1942 – 2024

Zach Scifres, 81, passed away February 20, 2024 at The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center.

Zach was born in Long Beach, CA in 1942 and was a proud graduate of Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Zach continued his education and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from California Sate College in Long Beach.

Zach is survived by his wife, Linda Stewart of Gillette, Wyoming; sisters-in-law, Cynthia Tilman, Dr. Jo Campbell both of St. George, Utah; Lori Cummins (Greg) of Peyton, Colorado; nephews: Dennis Kildall, Lakewood, California, Andrew Cummins, Denver, Colorado; niece, Jessica Cummins, Colorado Springs, Colorado; and his lifelong friends and high school basketball buddies, “The Mixed Five:” Maynard and Pat Law, Cerritos, California, Larry Remlinger, Monrovia, California, Fred Hamm, Long Beach, California, Loren Kensinger, Fremont, California; and many other dear friends.

Reading and books were a strong interest of Zach’s from a very early age. He began his book collection when in grade school. This love of reading and book collecting continued throughout his life. At one point, Zach had over 8,000 books in his well-organized personal library. Zach’s passion for reading was integral to his life and laid the framework for his career as a school librarian. It was through his library position that Zach’s passion for books and reading was knitted together with his uncommon ability to help his students grow to love reading. Zach had a unique ability to discover a student’s interests and then lead them to selecting just the right book. Zach’s library classes were fun for his students whether they were learning about different genres of books or listening to and singing along with Zach as he played music on his guitar.

One of their favorite stories was “Abiyoyo” by Peter Seeger. The library was definitely not quiet when Zach told that story! Zach particularly enjoyed reading and learning about history. If presented in an exciting way, he strongly believed children would learn to enjoy history themselves. To this end, Zach taught himself to be a superb storyteller. His students loved his stories about the Titanic, George Armstrong Custer, and so many more. Students sat mesmerized as Zach told the stories behind mythological characters. If he wasn’t telling stories or working one-on-one helping a student find a good book, Zach was playing his guitar and singing. The sounds of children laughing and singing along with Zach could be heard in the halls around the library.

Zach was asked to tell stories for many different classrooms and organizations. He participated in teaching storytelling classes at Gillette College. Zach was also the guide on many enjoyable school bus trips to Fort Phil Kearney when he would tell stories of the Johnson County Wars and the Fort. He also let many tours to the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Throughout his life, even after retirement, people would approach Zach to thank him for his stories. Many told him that he had sparked their interest in reading. Zach could often be found sitting quietly in his large music and library room listening to his music; lost in appreciation.

Zach met Linda at Sunflower Elementary School, where she was the art instructor and he was the librarian. They deeply enriched each other’s lives, sharing philosophies and interest in the arts, music, politics, animal welfare and life-long learning. Together, with their cats, they shared life’s ups and downs, with the ups far outweighing the downs. Zach and Linda’s love, respect and appreciation for one another continued to deepen as nearly 25 years together seemed to fly by.

Zach was preceded in death by his parents, Denis and Mildred Scifres; sister, Denise Kildall; Linda’s parents, Robert and Margaret Stewart, who welcomed him into the Stewart family with love and friendship.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made in Zach’s remembrance to Campbell County Friends of the Library, at friendsccpls@gmail.com or Fur Kids Foundation at furkidsfoundation@gmail.com. Both organizations were important to Zach.

A celebration of Zach’s life will be held at the Campbell County Senior Center at 701 Stocktrail Ave, Gillette, Wyoming on March 5, 2024 at 5:30 p.m.

John (Jack) Alan Lund

John (Jack) Alan Lund: 1951 – 2024

Jack was born in Sidney Richland County, Montana. He was the youngest of two children.  His parents John William (Bill) Lund and Ruby M. Wyatt Lund preceded him in death. 

Jack died of a sudden heart event.  Jack attended CY Junior High school, NCHS, Class of 1970,  Casper College, Parks Business School Denver, and graduated from Beauty School. 

Jack was a hairdresser in La Jolla California and lived on the beach. He also was a hairdresser in San Francisco, California. Jack left home early with $50 and a rattletrap car to take on the world. He slept in his car for two weeks until he secured a job. He learned to be extremely fiscally responsible. He had no tolerance for users or manipulators. He had a big heart. He fed people and offered them his personal wisdom. Jack was an excellent host, a great cook, an artist. An actor. A lover of 70s music, a strong gay activist. He participated in all the gay parades starting in 1976. Jack lost 26 friends during those times. 

Jack is most known for throwing gasoline on the flames of controversial politics and religion. You would not break his will. He spoke his truth and he was authentic. He transformed the pain in his life to power. He had threatened to write a book about behind the scenes life in Denver but said it would be shocking to the common man. Who are the good guys and how many wear masks? Jack retired from Mountain Bell phone company.  

He is survived by one sister, Cheryl K. Lund Penny; and nieces; nephew; cousins; friends.

He wanted no funeral. Sing a Diana Ross song and give to your favorite charity. Jacks final words would be: “Have no tears for me. Speak your truth and be happy.”

Terry Leigh Oliver

Terry Leigh Oliver: 1949 – 2024

Former Campbell County resident, Terry Leigh Oliver, of San Antonio, Texas, was born Sept. 22, 1949, in Jordan, Montana, and went to heaven, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at his home, surrounded by loved ones.

He fought extremely hard to keep going until the very end and remained in good spirits throughout.

Terry was born to Claude “Jeff” Oliver and Helen Ruth (Robb) Oliver and grew up in Casper and Campbell County.

Terry married Betty Jo (Cook) Oliver on June 14, 1972, in Meeker, Colorado, and three children were born in this union: Jody Oliver, Dan Oliver, and Tara Lyn (Oliver) Cojocaru.

Terry was extremely hard-working from a young age and always provided for his wife and children. He worked on family ranches, traveled with oil rigs, owned a flooring company, and worked up until retirement as a Field Mechanic. He was a member of the Rio Blanco Mason Lodge and Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. He enjoyed hobbies like hunting, fishing, going to auctions, rebuilding trucks, gardening and reading. He was an extremely intelligent man who never stopped learning and could fix anything.

Terry was a wonderful husband, father and friend. All who knew him loved him and enjoyed spending time with him, talking and laughing. He made everyone smile and was always there to help someone in need. He was an amazing father and was adored by his children and grandchildren.

Terry is survived by his wife of 51 years, Betty Jo; his children, Jody Oliver of Rozet, Wyoming, Dan (Toni) Oliver of Gillette, Wyoming, and Tara (Nick) Cojocaru of San Antonio, Texas; 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; two half-sisters, Kelly Gaskins and Shelley Craig of Gillette, Wyoming, and mother-in-law Roberta Cook of Meeker, Colorado.

Terry was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Jerry (1971) and Berry (1992), three grandbabies, and father-in-law Walter “Fuzz” Cook (2011). The immediate family will have a private memorial for him in Port Aransas, Texas.