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Errol “Sonny” Baughman, 78, of Colony, WY, died Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, at his home near Colony.

Errol was born June 7, 1934, in Sheldon, WI, to Foster and Charlotte (Sweet) Baughman. He was the eldest of 4 sons. He attended a one-room school house through the 6th grade, and graduated from Tony High School in Ladysmith, WI, in 1953. He entered the Army in 1955 and was sent to Alaska from 1955 to 1957 to test cold weather Arctic survival gear. Because of the injuries and casualties that had occurred due to lack of proper clothing protection against the elements, jackets, boots, sleeping bags, ect. were tested. The gear that passed the test is still saving lives to this day. Sonny received a plaque that distinguishes him as one that survived so many days during the Arctic Test. Following his honorable discharge in 1958, Sonny helped his dad at the family’s sawmill for a year, then went on to weld for Flower City Architecture Metals Plant in Minneapolis, MN, building escalators, swinging doors, ect., until 1964. He then decided to move to Alaska where he went to work as a pipeline welder. A few years later, he hauled mail for the Postal Service, traveling 150 miles one way, every day, from Anchorage to the Peninsula.

Sonny married Shirlee Ann Landrum on Oct. 10, 1981. Sonny always enjoyed working with horses and enjoyed the sport of rodeo, and became involved in team roping around 1978 when he was coaxed by a friend to attend a Leo Camarillo Team Roping School in Yakima, WA. From then on he was hooked. He and Shirlee were committed to promoting rodeo on the Kenai Peninsula where they used to make their home. They traveled to rodeos in many parts of Alaska and were instrumental in organizing Play Days in Alaska. Events included barrels, poles, stick horse races, flag races, steer roping, goat tying, mounted ring toss, ect.

Before Sonny retired in 1986 from the Teamsters, he worked as a winch truck operator and moving oil drilling rigs throughout Alaska for years. He is an accomplished welder, and could build or repair almost anything. Sonny enjoyed training horses, roping and was an avid gardener. He also enjoyed rebuilding an old car.

Sonny shared this bit of advice to anyone who “had an ear to hear:” “Remember, God made you. Be what you are. Stay honest. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Don’t drink or smoke to impress-it won’t and it don’t!”

He is survived by his wife, Shirlee Baughman of Colony; daughters, Babbette (Thomas) Edlund of Arvada, CO, Lisa (John) Wyatt of Lakewood, CO and Stacie Nienhaus of Rapid City, SD; brothers, Ray (Barb) Baughman of Holcome, WI, Gilbert (Geraldine) Baughman of Kenton, OH, and Jerry (Becky) Baughman of Conrath, WI; 10 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Foster and Charlotte; cousin, Susan “Chris” Black and uncle, Bruce Black.

Graveside services were held 11:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 19, at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis with the Belle Fourche Honor Guard providing military honors. A Ceremonial Tribute followed at 1 p.m. at the Summit Open Bible Church in Belle Fourche with the Reverend Rick Brennan officiating.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to the Butte County 4-H Youth Rodeo.


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