Kern Valley Native Jeff Tibbetts succumbed to his lengthy battle with cancer at his Lake Isabella home on May 26th.
Jeff attended Wallace Elementary and Kern Valley High School, graduating in 1974 as salutatorian, then on to Cal Poly where he excelled in his courses and was urged to go into teaching.
But Jeff was an outdoorsman and decided on Law Enforcement. So following his training and graduation from the Bakersfield Police Academy in 1979, he became a police officer for the city of Bakersfield.
But the call of the Kern Valley was in his blood and he returned home where he was hired with the U.S. Forest Service in Timber Management. He was stationed in the Piute Mountain area where he had such fond childhood memories of the family cabin.
Following the Forest Service job, he was with the Kern County Sheriff’s Department as a reserve deputy in the Kern Valley. He married Phyllis Bowen in Las Vegas on Oct. 8, 1984 and became dad to youngsters Keri and Randy Bowen.
They enjoyed 35 years of marriage. During this time they had the Dam Korner automotive station in Kernville, and later Jeff was employed with Kern County Lake Patrol at Isabella Lake. He was head of it for several years and was honored as Officer of the Year by the Exchange Club before transferring to Kern County Probation Department at Camp Owen Youth Detention Facility, retiring in 2007.
Jeff’s interests were working on vehicles and restoring Jeeps. He especially enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle daily.
He was an avid fan of NASCAR. He also kept busy maintaining his acreage properties. He enjoyed numerous friends and was known for his sharp mind which so many relied on.
Jeff was the rock of the family and will be missed by his beloved wife Phyllis of Lake Isabella, his mother Bunny Woods of Bodfish, daughter Keri and Jason Halsell of Wofford Heights, son Randy/Claudia Bowen of Arizona, serving in the U.S. Air Force, grandson Jaydan Davidson of Wofford Heights, Brother-in-law David Baskin of Oregon, nephew Brian Baskin of Lake Isabella, Niece Lindsey/Brandon Mason of Bodfish, stepbrother Jim Woods of Keeler CA, stepsister Darlene/Jerry Frates and family of Hemet CA, grand-nephews and nieces, many buddies and his Beagle Harley.
He was so proud of his family and their achievements. An outdoor celebration of Jeff’s life was held on June 6th with family and many of his friends and former co-work-ers joining in.
The family greatly appreciates all the tributes from Kern Valley Search & Rescue, Wallace school teachers, Penny Rivers of NAPA Auto Parts, and Shannon Solis for arranging and organizing it.