Sat, Oct. 19

Obituary: William Gibbons 1947-2018

William Gibbons

William Gibbons

William “Bill” Gibbons passed away after a long struggle with cancer on Aug. 1, 2018. He had just turned 71 years old.

Born in Los Angeles, California, on July 29, 1947, to William and Jackie Gibbons, who soon moved to Ajo, Arizona, where his Dad worked at the smelter.

In the early ‘50s Bill’s Uncle John convinced this parents to move to Cottonwood, Arizona, to help construct the Phoenix Cement Plant in Clarkdale.

He loved the outdoors and his horses and dogs from the very beginning, and Cottonwood was a great place to develop those passions which later became his livelihood.

He attended Mingus Union High School where he met his wife-to-be Tamra. He graduated in 1966. Bill attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dairy Science in 1970, and then completed two years towards his Agriculture teaching degree.

Bill and Tamra were married in 1969, and their first son, William L. Gibbons, was born in 1971.

Shortly after that he was offered a position running the El Cazador Pheasant Shooting Preserve located in the southern part of Arizona near Sasabe, Arizona. This is where his true calling came about. He thought he wanted to be a teacher, but instead became a dog trainer. Working on the preserve gave him the opportunity to excel at this profession. And he was off and running.

Daniel J. Gibbons was born in 1974. Bill had by this time been mentored by several dogs trainers, one of whom, Bill West, became his true and best friend, and for better or worse, led him down a path that would take him to many different places and introduce him to many wonderful people who would catapult him forward on his chosen career.

He campaigned dogs all over the United States for others and loved every minute of it. He accomplished many wonderful things, and made many amazing friends along the way.

He and Tamra owned Westside Pet Center in Phoenix for 35 years, just recently retiring to Cottonwood to live. He has a plaque in the Bird Dog Hall of Fame, was inducted into the Region 12 Hall of Fame, and has won championships with dogs in five different breeds.

He loved people and would talk to anyone about dogs for hours, helping them improve their dogs. As his sons will attest, a 5-minute conversation usually lasted an hour.

He helped many people and loved to hear that they had continued and done well with his help.

He was also an avid Bluegrass musician. Loved the music and the people, traveling around to different festivals thru the years, and playing in a couple of bands

He never missed a chance to pull out his guitar and sing, whether it was around a campfire with friends, or all night at a festival, or at a care facility for the elderly.

He cared for those around him.

He is survived by his wife, Tamra (DeVault) Gibbons; his son, William L. Gibbons (Faith); son, Daniel J. Gibbons (Tanya); and his beloved grandchildren, Andrew J. Gibbons and Elaina Noel Gibbons; his brothers, Thomas E. Gibbons (Ricki) and John S. Gibbons (Mary); and his sister, Patricia Bice (Chuck). And his many, many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by both of his parents.

He will be greatly missed by the many people he called friend.

There will be a Celebration of his Life on Aug. 25 at 4 p.m., at the American Legion Hall at 480 S, Calvary Way, Cottonwood, Arizona. There will be Bluegrass music, and stories to be told of a wonder life for those who wish to attend.

An online guestbook is available to sign at

Information provided by survivors.