Sheila Marie Downey Whitlock
Aug 11, 1935 - May 28, 2023
Sheila Marie Downey Whitlock
After 38 years of missing him, our loving mother is now dancing in heaven with the love of her life again. Sheila Whitlock passed away peacefully at home, after years declining health, on Sunday morning, May 28, 2023.
Sheila was born in Riverton, WY on August 11,1935 to her parents, William Kenneth Downey and Marguerite Harriett Chapin Downey. She was the third of four children born to their union. As a young girl, she resided in Riverton with her family. After her parents’ divorce when she was very young, she spent her school years at Saint Patricks Academy in Sidney, NE with her sister Dorothy. She enjoyed her summer breaks with her beloved Nana and Gramp Downey on the family ranch in Lyons Valley. In later years, she entertained her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with stories of adventures on the ranch, including swimming and ice skating on the river and helping Nana in the kitchen where she learned her stellar bread baking and canning skills; talents that she then passed on to the next three generations. She also reminisced about the hours she spent giggling in the treehouse with her sisters that they built themselves.
After graduating from high school, she moved home to Lander and began working as a telephone operator. Her career life was short lived however, as she soon met her "movie star handsome" airman, Richard "Dick" Whitlock who was home on leave. After only a few weeks of dating, they married on December 26, 1954 in Lander before he was due to return to Nellis Air Force Base.
After joining him in Nevada, they resided there until Dick's discharge in 1956. They returned to Fremont County with their infant daughter, Cynthia. They soon found their longtime home in Jeffrey City where three more children, Scott, Paula and Linda, completed the family. Sheila loved their years in Jeffrey City where they formed lifelong friendships and made countless memories. Some of her favorite afternoons were spent enjoying homemade fried chicken and potato salad with her family while fishing at Long Creek or the Sweetwater River, picnicing on Green Mountain, or sage chicken hunting north of Jeffrey City. Weekends were often spent at “The Cabin” near Atlantic City. She looked forward to their annual week-long vacations in the backcountry of the Wind River Mountains where her favorite destinations were Christina Lake and Shoshone Lake.These simple family times were enjoyed for many years and her grandchildren were fortunate to share these adventures with her as well. As a young married couple, Dick and Sheila were each other's best friend and partner in all of life's endeavors. Whether Dick was helping Sheila prepare a holiday feast for their extended family or Sheila was helping build fence and cut firewood, their love story was truly something to be admired. As Dick often said, they were "pertinear perfect".
After Dick's unexpected death in May of 1985, Sheila moved to "The Place" up Willow Creek outside of Lander. She started this next chapter of her life in the place they had been fixing up for years as their retirement home. Here is where Sheila's quiet independence and incredible resilience became obvious to everyone that knew her. She picked up the pieces while continuing to support her children and grandchildren in all ways. Eventually, this independence and the desire to rebuild her life took her to Fort Collins, CO despite the fact that she was in her early sixties. She enjoyed the glam of city life, formed new friendships and continued enjoying the outdoors with solo fishing trips to Horsetooth Reservoir.
She eventually found her way back home to Lander after spending several years in Casper and Greybull. She had spent the last fews years living quietly outside Lander being cared for by her daughters, Paula and Linda. She enjoyed watching her "stories" on TV, shopping on QVC and always looked forward to her children and grandchildren visiting. She never passed up a sweet treat, Mexican food or chocolate milk with a cold cheese "sammich".
Always the lady, she was rarely without her hair and makeup done. She loved all things classy and beautiful which extended to her sense of fashion as well as her beautifully decorated and well kept home. Her family often looked to her for inspiration in decorating their own homes. Christmas was truly magical as she was meticulous in her holiday decorating, candy making and she never failed to shower her loved ones with gifts. If you were lucky enough to have her cinnamon rolls or tea rings, you never forgot them. Although she had a great sense of humor, perhaps the biggest joke was her inability to get the joke.
Sheila is survived by daughter, Cynthia (William) Deal of Casper; son, Scott (Sheila) Whitlock of Stayton, OR; daughter, Paula Whitlock of Lander; daughter Linda (Danny) Denevan of Lander; grandchildren, Kendra Deal, Shawna Berg, Jolene Deal, Corey Whitlock, Justin Whitlock, Dea Kobbe, Tawnie Eisele, Ace Hancock, Brice Denevan, Evan Denevan, Vanessa Denevan; numerous great-grandchildren; sisters, Donna Cielinski of Montana and Kathleen Mathews of Texas.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Dick in 1985; grandson, Shane Deal; great-grandson, Kyler Kobbe; siblings, James (Jim) Downey and Dorothy Downey; parents and grandparents
A rosary will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 5, 2023 at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Lander, WY. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, June 5th at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. The Rite of Committal will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery in Lander.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Jason’s Friends Foundation, in care of Davis Funeral Home, 2203 W. Main Street, Riverton, WY 82501
Please sign the online guest book at www.TheDavisFuneralHome.com
Services are under the direction of the Davis Funeral Home, Crematory, and Monuments.