Sheila Epley Fichtner made her transition on Oct. 30. She faced ovarian cancer with the same faith, dignity, grace and courage that she practiced throughout her life.
She was born Jan. 24, 1936, in Midland, Texas to Ernest and Ilamae Epley. She grew up in Pecos, Texas where she married and had her four children. It was there she opened her own dance studio and taught ballet, tap and ballroom dancing. In 1968, Sheila moved the family and “Foo Foo” to Grand Junction, Colo. where Sheila had her first love affair with the mountains.
Sheila raised her four children as an x-ray tech in special procedures. In 1976, shortly after becoming a grandmother for the first time, she moved to Alaska with her youngest child, Nicole and her three stepchildren, Jana, Mariam, and Jay Glass for a yearlong adventure. In 1982, Sheila moved into a teepee to connect with her creator and her beloved earth. It was during these next two years she received an associate’s degree in applied sciences and began her life’s work as a bio energy healer, studying under Mietek Wirkkus and others.
Following the death of her daughter Nicole in 1985, Sheila had the honor of raising Nicole’s son Jeremy. They moved to the Bitterroot Valley in the early 90’s. Sheila found her hearts’ home here, as well as many soul connections. She added to the bright lights of the valley where as a yoga and meditation teacher she helped many people on their spiritual path. She had a bio energy therapy practice and taught yoga in the Bitterroot Valley. She was also politically active to save the pristine nature of the valley that she loved so much.
In 2002 Sheila met and married James Fichtner and moved to his home in Conrad. In 2005, they bought their beautiful summer home, “Shady Creek” in Corvallis. Sheila lived at Shady Creek, cared for by her two daughters and son, until she made her transition.
Sheila was preceded in death by her mother, Ilamae Epley, brother Ernie Epley, and daughter, Nicole Martin.
Sheila is survived by her husband, James Fichtner; father, Ernest Epley, Houston; daughters, Caprice Shelton Hayden (John Lindt), Las Vegas; Michelle Shelton (Scott) Rosier, Kemah, Texas; Jana Glass, Hollywood, Fla.; son, Shane (Lisa) Shelton, Lemoore, Calif.; grandson, Jeremy Martin, Pocatello, Idaho; sisters, Nikki (Doug) Richnow, Houston; Diane (Max ) Beere, San Ramon, Calif.; Brian (Amanda) Fichtner, Portland, Ore.; Holly (Bob) Bender, Conrad; nine grandchildren, four great grandchildren and many loving nieces, nephews and special friends.
At Sheila’s request, a private celebration of her life will be held for close family and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Bitter Root Nursery at 521 East Side Hwy, Corvallis, MT 406-961-3806 so trees can be purchased and planted in Sheila’s memory at Shady Creek.
The family would like to send special thanks and gratitude to Mom’s extraordinary friends; Dr. Georgia Milan, Carylon Stone-Reuthlinger and Hannah Rimensberger, who’s care of both ourselves and Mom touched us more deeply than words express. Marcus Daly Home Health Care and Hospice nurses; Cindy, John, Betsy and Mary, and the Oncology staff at St. Patrick’s Hospital provided exceptional care and compassion, and we thank you.