Stobie Burnell Isbell, 64, of Douglas, peacefully departed this world on January 3, 2018 in Casper, WY. This fisherman carpenter finally kicked the bait bucket, bit the sawdust, reached the end of his line, arrived at his last jobsite, bought the boat, cashed in his woodchips, was reeled in by the great fisher of men. On his last day he said he was ready to meet Jesus, but heaven knows if they're ready for the impact of meeting him. He was born on August 18, 1953 in Peoria, Illinois to Stobert and Wilma (Jenkins) Isbell who had no idea what they were in for. He grew up there and enjoyed spending his time in the woods with his grandpa, fishing and hunting squirrels, possums, crawdads and morels. In his early adulthood he traveled the country, giving him many tales to tell about his "hitchhiking" days. This seemed to be his kickoff point for chasing women as well. While it feels like 64 years is too short a time to have had him here, he was alive for 33,860,272 minutes into which he packed more life than most people are daring enough to attempt.
He found his affinity for woodworking and apprenticed while working entry level until carving a name for himself as a master finish carpenter completely worth his lumber. His talent, vision and skill for woodworking and carpentry were first-class and those who have seen his work know why he had a reputation for the finest artisanship. Nature created it and he assembled it like poetry. Stobie was notoriously hardworking and his gift for working with wood carried into his spare time; he carved extraordinary showpieces and hand crafted exquisite fine furniture.
Stobie was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Shirley Jean (Isbell) Allen, and his beloved friend, the greatest German Shepherd ever to have lived, Noble. He is survived by four uncles, one brother, Bill (Sue) Isbell of Peoria, Illinois, one sister, Cindy Pomeroy of Illinois, two daughters, Liberty (Ryan) Matteson of Sheridan, Wyoming, and Tori Isbell of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, one grandson, Julian Matteson of Sheridan, Wyoming, nieces and nephews galore, an extended list of cousins and countless dear friends, another extended list of baffled ex-wives and girlfriends, and a legion of people whose lives were changed by knowing him. He really couldn't help that.
He will be remembered most for his unmatched woodworking skills, infatuation with fishing and enjoying all activities in nature, offbeat sense of humor, willingness to help those in need, being a highly accomplished cabinetmaker and counter-fitter, teaching his daughters they come from a long line of hillbilly ancestry, belonging in a class of the rarest and least ordinary folks, seeing life not as a glass half empty or full but being twice as tall as it should be, honesty, living wild and untamed, and the tremendous love he had for family and friends. He was a distinguished builder, but there's no blueprint for life; he constructed a grand one and luckily having been such a unique artist the flaws can be hidden by the trim.
The Fisherman's Prayer:
I pray that I may live to fish until my dying day, and when it comes to my last cast I then most humbly pray: When in the Lord's great landing net and peacefully asleep, that in His mercy I be judged as big enough to keep.
According to his wishes he has been cremated. Never would a pre-fab funeral have satisfied him so there will be a rollicking affair to remember and celebrate his life. He has left the "building" though he wooden want anyone to pine away for him, but instead to raise the roof in his honor. This summer, at a date yet to be determined and announced, we will put the fun in funeral with food, drink and revelry. Ashes to ashes, sawdust to sawdust we shall commend his spirit to eternal care of the Lord, but we'll wait for nice weather as he wouldn't want anyone traveling on winter roads. There will be a private family gathering to scatter his cremains in a favorite mountain spot where he will sleep with the fishes- well, the ones that got away.
Although he was well known as a practical joker, he assures us he really is dead this time. In lieu of flowers or other memorials please give generously to a charity benefitting dogs, or commit a selfless act of kindness for a stranger in need.