William Calvin Schell II, of Valentine, Nebraska, passed away on Feb. 9 after a valiant fight with cancer.
Bill was born in Ogden, Utah, on July 21, 1943, to William Calvin and Bernice Margaret McGuire Schell. He was raised and spent many years operating the family ranch in Robertson. He married Tanya Graham in 1961 and fondly referred to her as “Ma.”
In 1998, Bill moved the ranch to the promising Sandhills of Valentine, Nebraska. While once a devoted Wyoming Cowboy fan, Bill found himself in a sea of red with a complete head-to-toe outfit of Nebraska Husker gear. Although he missed his lifelong friends back in Wyoming, Bill thought his cows were in the best place they could be. In October 2011, a man of few words and emotions had a few unannounced tears in his eyes when he spoke of his bride of 50 years, Tanya. Known for taking the kids to the neighbor’s house to change a diaper if he had babysitting duty, Bill loved his kids unconditionally.
Bill made the most out of each day and thoroughly enjoyed the everyday little things. He wouldn’t pass up a time to tease a bull snake on the side of the road, listen to ‘50s on 5 while checking cows, square dancing, playing cards and a dice game every morning for the past 14 years. He often introduced the game, which requires quick thinking and mathematics, to new members of the family to see how they measured up.
Bill took pride in his ranch’s appearance, and he could often be found pulling weeds, painting corrals, washing Ma’s Cadillac and mowing his lawn every other day. He didn’t know a stranger and always had something witty to say that would leave a lasting impression. There wasn’t a stronger, ornerier, more stubborn cowboy out there. His last few years he spent doing what he loved, ranching and watching Fox News. Bill can rest peacefully knowing Trump is in office. At 70 years old, it took a small army to keep up with him. He was always the first one up and last one to the house.
He is survived by his wife, Tanya; their three children Bill (Raynette) Schell of Washam, Deb Hoffman and Jim (Cindy) Schell of Valentine, Nebraska; nine grandchildren; and five great grandsons. Awaiting his arrival on the other side are his parents, son Michael, numerous friends and many horses.
A viewing will be held Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Fort Bridger. Graveside services will be held at the Fort Bridger Cemetery at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 16.