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Obituaries: Cotney; Schmidt

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Jeffrey Gerald Cotney

Jeffrey Gerald Cotney: 1984 – 2024

Jeffrey Gerald Cotney, a loving father, husband, brother, son, uncle and friend of Gillette, Wyoming, gracefully departed this life in the presence of his loving family on February 21, 2024.

Jeff’s journey began in Mesa, Arizona on March 2, 1984 to Gerald Cotney and Barbara Houston. He shared his childhood with his brother, TJ Russell, Jerry Cotney and sister, Sabrina Edwards.

Jeff’s path led him to Sundance, Wyoming where he met his high school sweetheart, Amber Tibbetts who stole his heart. Jeff and Amber welcomed Hunter Jeffrey James Tibbetts on March 5, 2003 in Gillette, Wyoming. Jeff and Amber exchanged vows on January 20, 2005 in Sundance, Wyoming and in just a short time, on September 19, 2006 their family expanded with the birth of Payton Timothy Douglas Cotney, in Gillette, Wyoming.

Yet, fate cast a shadow on Jeff’s life on September 20, 2012, when he was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma. Jeff faced each day with courage and strength, and while going through chemotherapy he continued to work for Nelson’s Auto Glass. Over the duration of twelve years of treatment, he underwent a series of surgeries to remove a kidney, and tumors that had surfaced. During treatments at Campbell County Health Jeff would sneak out of the hospital in between chemo treatments to watch his son’s baseball games and practices. At the time of Jeff’s death he was employed with Paintbrush Services as a Fleet Manager.

Jeff enjoyed playing softball and basketball.  He thoroughly enjoyed going to Keyhole to fish and camp with his family. He enjoyed playing video games with his brother and tinkering with engines. You could also catch Jeff watching his 49er’s play football. Jeff enjoyed spending time with his dog Max and catching up with friends. Jeff felt an enormous amount of pride in coaching both Hunter and Payton while they played baseball for Gillette Babe Ruth, instilling in them values of discipline and perseverance.

Jeff is remembered by his devoted wife, Amber Cotney; his sons, Hunter and Payton; father, Gerald Cotney (Lisa Cotney); “Pa” Mark and “Ma” Janet Potts; Rose Cotney (grandmother), Linda Gustafson (grandmother); brothers, TJ Russell and Jerry (Cassie) Cotney; sister, Sabrina (Alex) Edwards; sister-in-law, Brooke Crystal; mother-in-law, Dawn Fulciniti; bonus step-sisters: Brittani, Nicole and Haley; aunts: Tina, Tammy and Julie; uncles: Phillip, Don and Emit; several cousins: Summer (Ryan) Roberts, Ernie, Amanda, Nick, Casey, Justin, Anna, Tempest; nieces: Linda, Kennidee, Lilee; nephews: Douglas, Devon, Liam, Trenton, Montana, Pierce, Kamdyn, Weston, Layton; and so many dear friends that touched his life. 

Jeff is predeceased by his grandfather, Donald Cotney; uncle, Tim Land; mother, Barbara Haar; grandfather, Jerry Land; step-father, Douglas Haar; father-in-law, John Fulciniti; best friends, Beau Grammer and Anthony Nold; and Jeff’s dog, Cole.

The Cotney family extends their heartfelt gratitude to those who offered love and support during Jeff’s valiant battle. To the compassionate individuals who donated generously through Go Fund Me and Campco Support, to the mound of love and support received by Jeff’s employer, Paintbrush Services and to the dedicated physicians and nurses at CCH (‘Hepner Cancer Center) in Gillette and UC Health in Denver. Special appreciation is extended to Amber’s colleagues at Campbell County Home Medical Resources, whose unwavering support provided strength in moments of fragility. Special appreciation to families that supported Jeff, Amber, Hunter and Payton throughout the years as Jeff walked through his battle of cancer.

Marsha Rae Schmidt

Marsha Rae Schmidt: 1944 – 2024

Marsha Rae Schmidt passed away on February 22, 2024, at the age of 79 at Westview Healthcare Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. She was born on September 17, 1944, in Doland, South Dakota. Marsha was raised by her beloved grandparents for five years of her life where she enjoyed farm life with her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. After five years, her mother, Betty, relocated Marsha to Bellflower, California where she raised her for the rest of her childhood with her stepdad, Melvin Young, and younger brother, Mike.

After Marsha graduated Downey High School, she decided to move back to Redfield, South Dakota where she worked at a local diner, worked in a psych institute, and did some house painting jobs for people. Her hobbies consisted of riding horses, riding bicycle, helping on her grandparents farm, reading, and a little bit of traveling. She saw life in South Dakota like heaven on earth. 

The diner was where Marsha met Carrol Schmidt as he was a regular customer. Carrol asked her to go on a date and few months later, in 1974, they arranged to get married. They enjoyed married life, but yearned to have children. Eventually Melissa was born in November 1980, and then 11 months and week later, Christine was born in October 1981. 

Life has a way of getting rough.  Carrol lost his business and had to look around for other jobs. He traveled around for a while to find a good reliable job. He and Marsha made a new start in Gillette, Wyoming With stress of life, Marsha and Carroll divorced in 1986. They did the best they could to work together to raise the girls. Marsha was always very devoted to going to church, praying for her loved ones and friends. Loved taking the girls out to eat, to the movies, and taking trips out to South Dakota to see family.

While she was raising the girls, she worked as CNA at Pioneer Manor for a few years, then she worked at McDonald’s for over 10 years, and then finally was hostess at Wendy’s for a few years before retiring for good. Later on after the girls were grown up, she enjoyed all of the family going to church together, going shopping, and going on trips. The holidays were always spent together as a family.  When Marsha moved to the senior citizen apartments, she made some friends, loved going out on trips and Cam-Plex events with them through the senior center, visited friends in the lobby for hours, loved going shopping and out to eat with friends or her daughters and grandkids. Her other major loves were her cats and her daughter’s dogs. Marsha was always an animal lover. 

In accordance with Marsha’s wishes, her remains will be cremated. Funeral services and a celebration of her life will be at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, March 2, 2024 at Gillette Memorial Chapel with Knute Johnson officiating. Masha will be buried at a later date in eastern South Dakota. She would love to have everyone dress in bright colors to honor her memory. As we gather to remember Marsha, let us cherish the moments we shared, the lessons she taught us, and the love she gave so freely. May she rest in peace, knowing that she was cherished and adored by all who were fortunate enough to know her.

She is survived by her brother, Mike Young of Redding, California; daughters, Christine and Melissa Schmidt of Gillette, Wyoning; granddaughters: Terissa (Dane) Hansen, Sylvia (Dominick) LaPlante of Gillette, Wyoming; Elizabeth McClure of Gillette, Wyoming; great-granddaughter, Delilah Hansen of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Marsha was preceded in death by her parents. 

In lieu of flowers the family established a memorial to benefit the Council of Community services.