Pelissier, Sophie Shepley 71

Article excerpt

Pelissier, Sophie Shepley 71, of Big Horn, Wyoming passed away on August 15, 2012 at Sheridan Memorial Hospital. She was born to Ethan A.H. Shepley and Sophie Baker Shepley in St. Louis, MO on January 18, 1941, the youngest of four children. Sophie graduated from Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT in 1959 and attended Washington University in St. Louis. Her childhood aspiration to become the next Debbie Reynolds would be put on hold when, on November 10, 1962, she married Jack E. Pelissier, whom she had met at Eatons Ranch, where her family were regular guests. They lived briefly in San Diego, CA while Jack completed his service in the United States Marine Corps, returning to Sheridan in 1964. Sophie's first career was as wife, mother, and homemaker. As her time allowed, she became an avid tennis player, spent several years as an aerobics instructor at the YMCA, and later, starred in several productions for the Carriage House Theater. Of those productions, she was most fond of her turns as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! Her lifelong passion for the performing arts led her to her second career. As a tireless advocate and supporter of the Save The WYO foundation, Sophie helped lead the charge to save the old downtown movie theater from demolition and transform it into a center for the arts in Sheridan. Sophie's love of performing on stage found a new outlet during these years as a member of The Femme Finales & Friends, a group of local performers who came together to put on shows to raise money to benefit the cause. With the theater saved, Sophie took a seat on the WYO's board of directors, until she was recruited by the board to take on the position of Executive Director, a position she held for the next ten years. It was in this role that she truly shined. From fundraising to hiring the staff to booking the talent to selling the tickets to (on occasion) helping to hang the lights, Sophie did it all, and it was during this period that The WYO's place in Sheridan's cultural landscape was secured. …