C.E. (Bud) Webster


(May 2, 2005)

Funeral services for legendary car dealer, Constant Edward (Bud) Webster of Cody, who died Monday, May 2 at West Park Hospital in Cody, will be today (Thursday), May 5 at the LDS Stake House in Cody at 10 a.m.

As the firm guiding hand of Webster Motors, Inc., he still manned the showroom and directed the fortunes of the Cody auto dealership at age 92.

In his 65th year as Cody's Chevrolet dealer, he was honored by General Motors in 2002 with a one-of-a-kind plaque with the notation that no other dealer had continued as a dealer operator for that long. At his death, he was in his 68th year as owner-operator of the dealership.

C.E. "Bud" Webster was born Oct. 12, 1912 on the Webster Ranch on the Greybull River, six miles from Meeteetse. He was the son of Charles A. Webster and Mae Bennion Webster.

Bud attended the country school on Long Hollow next to the ranch. It was called the Webster School. In the fourth grade, the school consolidated with Meeteetse and he graduated from Meeteetse High School in 1931.

His youth was spent on the ranch, doing lots of chores, milking cows, chopping wood and keeping the coal bucket filled for his mother's cook stove. When he got old enough to ride, he rode with his brothers and dad as ranch hands for cattle. He helped bring cattle to Cody often, delivering them by noon the second day, having dinner at the Diamond Café and then riding back to the ranch 28 miles. Fifty miles in a day was not unusual.

When he was 17, he was given the responsibility of tending to sheep camps in the upper Greybull and Francs Fork. He did this every summer for five years, until he graduated in 1935 from the University of Wyoming.

Bud had two wonderful brothers, Clyde, Owen, and his beloved sister, Margaret, all of whom have been gone for many years. Bud was especially close to Clyde's sons, Charlie, Dan and Gene.

At the university as a freshman, he met Lucille Moncur. They were good friends and occasionally dated. After graduating, they got more serious and seven years after meeting her, he finally succeeded in talking her into marrying him. He often said that was the best deal he ever made. They have three children: Margaret, a retired speech language pathologist, is married to Dick Scarlett, living in Jackson Hole and in the banking business; Ed, a practicing attorney in Cody and vice-president of Webster Motors, Inc., is married to another UW student, Nancy Ratliff; and Bill, the youngest. Bill went on to become a medical doctor, and after practicing as a Board Certified Emergency Physician at Long Beach Memorial Hospital for more than 20 years, he retired. He is married to Judy Pinkert whom he met as a nurse at the University of Colorado Medical Center.

Bud and Lucille have four grandchildren, Shannon Wyatt Becker married to Eric Becker; Leslie Scarlett Noble married to Kent Noble; Bill Scarlett and Alison Scarlett. They have three great-grandchildren, Lindsey and Tate Noble and Riley Belle Becker.

Graduating from UW in 1935, times were extremely tough and Bud ended up working for an oil company in Los Angeles for $81.50 per month. He was delighted when he received a wire from the Wyoming State Board of Equalization offering him a job as an auditor for the brand new Sales Tax Division at $150 per month. He jumped at the opportunity.

In the fall of 1937, Bud's brother, Owen, had sold his interest in the Webster Ranch and had some money. Bud knew the Chevrolet dealership in Cody was bankrupt. It was an opportunity for both of them. Owen financed the deal for which Bud was forever grateful.

Four years later, however, Owen decided to quit the car business, and Bud bought him out on Dec. 6, 1941, the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Bud's history in the car business is pretty well known. He received about every honor any car dealer ever had, including president of the Wyoming Dealers Association and Wyoming's representative for six years on the National Automobile Dealers Association. Bud was named as Wyoming Time Life Dealer of the Year.

He served six years on the Wyoming Highway Commission and spearheaded the reconstruction of the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway. UW awarded Bud many honors, including Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Commerce and Industry in 1971, Businessman of the Year in 1987, and in 2002, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UW Alumni Association. The Webster Family was recognized by the university as the 2001 University of Wyoming Family of the Year.

Through the years, he was active in the Cody community. He served as president of the Cody Club in 1951, and his crowning achievement that year was to acquire, through the help of his dear friends, Lloyd Taggart and Glenn Nielson, an additional 160 acres so the airport runway could be lengthened to accommodate commercial airlines coming to Cody. The next year, Frontier Airlines landed its first plane in Cody.

He served on the hospital board for 20 years and 12 years as chairman, the Stampede Board for six years, and in 1985, he became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

Along the way, he acquired a partnership in two car dealerships in Utah, and in 1948, he bought the Powell Chevrolet dealership which he operated for four years. He named it Eddie Chevrolet after his 4-year-old son.

In 1943, Bud and Lucille purchased the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Thermopolis. The Coca-Cola franchise covered all of Fremont County and the four Big Horn Basin counties. In 1963, they moved the plant to Cody, and in 1979, sold it to Si Cathcart. For many years, his day started at 4 a.m., and he worked late evenings, managing both the Chevrolet and Coca-Cola businesses. During his tenure as a Coca-Cola bottler for 36 years, he bottled Coca-Cola, Sprite, Orange Crush and White Rock mixes supplying more than 1,000 outlets throughout the territory from Muddy Gap to Dubois to Frannie.

In 1946, although he was banking at the First National Bank, he was invited to become a director of the Shoshone National Bank. He served on the board for 40 years until it was sold to his daughter and son-in-law's holding company, United Bancorporation of Wyoming, Inc.

In a book compiled by the American Heritage Center at UW in 2000, Bud was named as one of eight "Businessmen of the Century" for Wyoming. Bud loved his horses and riding with his kids in the evenings. After they had left home, he rode, weather permitting, most evenings, often with his son, Ed, or alone. He thoroughly enjoyed the pack trips into the mountains accompanied by members of his family. He rode in the Stampede Parade for more than 50 years.

Bud's hobby was his garden, always next to his home, and his success as a gardener was well known. He always was first to have ripe tomatoes. Bud always gave credit to his wife, Lucille, and repeatedly said his life had been wonderful because of Lucille, and that went for his financial success and happy life they shared together.

There were two sayings Bud often repeated; first, "Give life the best that's in you for it's only a one-night stand. There are no repeat performances brought back by popular demand." And then in closing, Bud would often quote a famous Codyite, "I ain't mad at nobody."

Interment will follow services at the Riverside Cemetery.

Memorials should be directed to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center or the Cody Medical Foundation.