Cover photo for Zach Newton Scifres's Obituary
Zach Newton Scifres Profile Photo
1942 Zach 2024

Zach Newton Scifres

July 2, 1942 — February 20, 2024

Gillette

Zach Scifres, 81, passed away February 20, 2024 at The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center. Zach was born in Long Beach, CA in 1942 and was a proud graduate of Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Zach continued his education and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from California Sate College in Long Beach. Zach is survived by his wife, Linda Stewart of Gillette, Wyoming; sisters-in-law, Cynthia Tilman, Dr. Jo Campbell both of St. George, UT, Lori Cummins (Greg) of Peyton, CO; nephews, Dennis Kildall, Lakewood, CA; Andrew Cummins, Denver, CO; niece Jessica Cummins, Colorado Springs, CO; and his life long friends and high school basketball buddies, “ The Mixed Five;” Maynard and Pat Law, Cerritos, CA, Larry Remlinger, Monrovia, CA, Fred Hamm, Long Beach, CA, Loren Kensinger, Fremont, CA, and many other dear friends. Reading and books were a strong interest of Zach’s from a very early age. He began his book collection when in grade school. This love of reading and book collecting continued throughout his life. At one point, Zach had over 8000 books in his well-organized personal library. Zach’s passion for reading was integral to his life and laid the framework for his career as a school librarian. It was through his library position that Zach’s passion for books and reading was knitted together with his uncommon ability to help his students grow to love reading. Zach had a unique ability to discover a student’s interests and then lead them to selecting just the right book. Zach’s library classes were fun for his students whether they were learning about different genres of books or listening to and singing along with Zach as he played music on his guitar. One of their favorite stories was “Abiyoyo” by Peter Seeger. The library was definitely not quiet when Zach told that story! Zach particularly enjoyed reading and learning about history. If presented in an exciting way, he strongly believed children would learn to enjoy history themselves. To this end, Zach taught himself to be a superb storyteller. His students loved his stories about the Titanic, George Armstrong Custer, and so many more. Students sat mesmerized as Zach told the stories behind mythological characters. If he wasn’t telling stories or working one-on-one helping a student find a good book, Zach was playing his guitar and singing. The sounds of children laughing and singing along with Zach could be heard in the halls around the library. Zach was asked to tell stories for many different classrooms and organizations. He participated in teaching storytelling classes at Gillette College. Zach was also the guide on many enjoyable school bus trips to Fort Phil Kearney when he would tell stories of the Johnson County Wars and the Fort. He also let many tours to the Little Big Horn Battlefield. Throughout his life, even after retirement people would approach Zach to thank him for his stories. Many told him that he had sparked their interest in reading. Zach could often be found sitting quietly in his large music and library room listening to his music; lost in appreciation. Zach met Linda at Sunflower Elementary School where she was the art instructor and he was the librarian. They deeply enriched each other’s lives sharing philosophies and interest in the arts, music, politics, animal welfare and life-long learning. Together, with their cats, they shared life’s ups and downs, with the ups far outweighing the downs. Zach and Linda’s love, respect and appreciation for one another continued to deepen as nearly 25 years together seemed to fly by. Zach was preceded in death by his parents, Denis and Mildred Scifres, sister, Denise Kildall, Linda’s parents Robert and Margaret Stewart, who welcomed him into the Stewart family with love and friendship. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made in Zach’s remembrance to Campbell County Friends of the Library at friendsccpls@gmail.com or Fur Kids Foundation at furkidsfoundation@gmail.com. Both organizations were important to Zach. A celebration of Zach’s life will be held at the Campbell County Senior Center at 701 Stocktrail Ave, Gillette, WY on March 5, 2024 at 5:30 p.m.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

5:30 - 6:30 pm (Mountain time)

Campbell County Senior Center

701 Stocktrail Ave, Gillette, WY 82716

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