Obituary: William S. Hefley

Our beloved “Bill” peacefully and quietly departed from this life and returned to his heavenly father and eternal family in the early morning hours on Feb. 11, 2010.
Bill was born in Rifle to Harvey and Minnie Hefley. He had seven brothers and sisters. He was the grandson of Charles and Mary Elizabeth Hefley, early pioneers of the Rangely area. He grew up on the family ranch in Rangely and he attended Rangely schools, lettering in football and track. He went to Alamosa State College on a football scholarship. The passing of his mother, and subsequent passing of his father and grandmother all within three years while he was in his late teens and early 20s, deeply saddened him and shaped who he would become as an adult.
He met the love of his life, Kathleen Searle, at a drive-in movie in Vernal, Utah. Despite the fact that he was one of the wild boys from Rangely, she still went out with him. They dated for two years and married on Aug. 25, 1961. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Manti temple. Through this union, Bill was warmly welcomed into the Searle family. Their love and support throughout his life brought him great joy.
Bill and Kathleen had two daughters, Cherie and Natalie and one son Cody William. His greatest calling in life was that of husband and father. He worked tirelessly for his family, sacrificing much and providing all they needed and more. He freely and often expressed his love for each family member, and was a source of wisdom and guidance for his children, grandchildren and anyone else who needed a listening ear.
While he made his living as a cattle rancher with his brother George on the White River in Rangely, he also sometimes supplemented their income by working in the oil fields and as a hunting guide up Spring Creek. His favorite pastime as a younger man was chasing wild horses with his friends and family.
He was active in community affairs and he served on the Soil Conservation District and the planning commission in Rio Blanco County.
Later in life he was employed as a heavy-equipment operator and traveled to job sites in the western U.S. He took great pride in his work. He and Kathleen have lived in Rock Springs, Wyo., and Salt Lake City, Utah, for the last 30 years. During all those years, he still read the Herald-Times newspaper faithfully every week. He felt it was important to maintain contact with his roots because he always felt that Rio Blanco County was still his home.
Bill was an active member of the LDS Church, serving as stake Sunday school president, a high councilman and in the bishopric in Rangely and Rock Springs.
He was an avid sports fan and loved watching football and basketball games. His favorites were the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos and the Utah Jazz.
Most treasured to Bill was the time spent with his family in Blair Basin on Diamond Mountain in Utah. Recently, he was the senior project manager on the family cabin, still giving directions on a final project to be completed this coming summer to members of his family on the day before he died.
He was a true friend to all. He believed in hard work, good fun and integrity in all things.
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; his three children, Cherie and her husband Eric; Natalie and her husband Ron, and Cody and his wife Kara; his grandchildren, Dustin and his fiance Melissa, Andrea, Dixon, Hunter, Jordan, Jaeden, Mauri, Dylan and two special grandsons, Adam and Mat. He has one great-grand-daughter McKenna. He was preceded in death by everyone in his immediate family. His parents, Harvey and Minnie; his brothers Charles, John and George and his sisters; Peg, Lucille, Sally and Toots.
We will mourn our loss, he will be missed by all, but we rejoice in the peace we know he has found now that he is surrounded by those he was missed for so long. There is truly a joyous reunion happening in heaven today.
Services were held in Salt Lake City and in Vernal, Utah. Burial was in the Maeser Cemetery in Vernal.
Online condolences can be made at