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Raymond Moore Tibbetts

Born: 4/22/1932, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Death: 4/4/2017, Moab, Utah
Service: 04/15/2017, 2:00 pm, Red Cliffs Lodge

Moab lost a legend today April 4, 2017, his family lost a pillar of strength, but heaven gained a true rider in the sky. Raymond Moore Tibbetts, who was known for his honesty, integrity, and great sense of humor was born April 22, 1932 in Santa Fe, New Mexico to James William (Bill) and Betty Jewel Agens Tibbetts. Ray was the youngest of four boys: Bob, Jim, and Gail, who all preceded him in death. The family returned to Moab in 1939 where Ray completed his education at Grand County Schools and served four years in the U.S. Air Force. After returning to Moab, Ray worked two years in the Grand County Sheriff’s office.

Ray married his sweetheart Carolyn Grace Miller on August 7, 1955 and they had recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. Out of this marriage, they were blessed with five daughters, Melinda Lee, Monica Tibbetts Fryer (Colin), Cynthia Lyman (Tim), Shellee DeVore (Donn) and Megan Pepper (Bill). Ray was a wonderful father to their five daughters, and they were the apple of his eye, along with their 15 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

For 32 years, Ray and brother-in-law Hal Johnson, owned and operated Miller’s Clothing and Family Budget Clothing in Moab. After closing the stores in 1987, Ray went into real estate full time. He served as a Grand County Commissioner and on the Moab Travel Council in the early 80’s.

Ray was a key player in the Sagebrush Rebellion in the 70’s and 80’s, appearing before congressional committees to protest BLM encroachment on the sovereign rights of state and local governments to manage road and public lands within their jurisdiction.

Ray loved the Moab area, especially the desert, and was instrumental in setting the boundaries for Canyonlands National Park in the early 1960’s. As plans for the park were being developed, Ray took several high-ranking government officials, including former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall on helicopter tours of the canyon country to show them places that he felt needed to be protected. Most of those places were included within the park boundaries. Ray was a keeper of the land, and believed in its multiple use, along with a diverse local economy. He seemed to know every rock and bush in his beloved red rock country, which he liked to call “God’s Country.” Ray loved spending time deer hunting, finding the jewels of the earth, and feeding his soul in “his church.”

Ray worked with the U.S. Geological Service to put the Jewel Tibbetts Arch near Dead Horse Point on the map because his mother had discovered it.

In recent years, Ray’s family stories were developed into the book “Last of the Robbers Roost Outlaws, Moab’s Bill Tibbetts” written by Tom McCourt.

It’s been said the mold was broken with Ray Tibbetts - he was one of a kind, and there will never be another like him.

A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, April 15, 2017 from 2 - 5 pm at Red Cliffs Lodge, the Colorado Room, in Moab, Utah. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Ray Tibbetts Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo.


Carolyn and family, Was so sad to hear of your great loss. Ray truly was one of a kind. I feel so fortunate to have known him and his kindness when I lived in Moab. Coming to your home and calling both of you friend is truly an honor. May your wonderful memories be the source of some peaceful moments in the coming times when you feel the empty spot that he held here on this earthly existence. My love and condolences to all.
- Judi Hyita-Bishop

Monica and family, our sincere heartfelt condolences to you all... best wishes for your celebration of his marvelous life and love, and in the healing that is forthcoming. Kindest Regards to you all
- Rhonda, Rick, Andrew Cary & Crew

Dear Tibbetts Family,

My sincere sympathy on the passing of your beloved Ray. A true Moab icon.
- Marilyn Costanza Dominy

A great steward of the land who will be missed by all those who knew him. His family will miss him but so will all the friends he has made through the years. A great man.
- Gene & Glenda Ciarus

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