Obituary: Elspeth Newman Tibbetts

February 8, 1938 ~ December 8, 2021

Elspeth Newman Tibbetts, “Els”, died at home, in her sleep, on December 8, 2021 with her beloved Corgi, O’Henry the Eighth, never leaving her side.   

Els was born February 8, 1938 in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada to mother Eliza “Lalah” Bannerman (McLeod), and father Frank Stanley Newman.

Els was raised at the Saint Williams Forestry Station, Ontario, Canada where her father was the Superintendent for 34 years.

In 1959, Els was set up on a blind date with a strikingly attractive man, James Caleb Tibbetts III “Jim”. They discovered they had actually met two weeks prior when Jim loaned Els a jacket during a cold day at a racetrack where Jim raced Austin Healey automobiles. On June 30, 1962, Jim and Els were married in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada and resided in Buffalo, NY. Eventually Jim and Els moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 1966. One of her proudest moments was being naturalized as a US citizen in 1976. In August of 1998, Els and Jim rebuilt “the cabin” in Sturgeon Bay to become their retirement home and their families and friends gathering place. Els was also proud of her Highland Scottish Heritage and honored the MacLeod clan crest “Hold Fast”. She recently began introducing herself as Lady Elspeth Tibbetts because of her land ownership in Wigtownshine, Scotland. Everybody who met mom was immediately a close friend, and always got a big hug when parting ways.

Els made every house a home. She loved to entertain with her Madison “bridgeless group”, tastefully decorated for every holiday season, and she had a natural “green thumb”. She loved to arrange bouquets, garden, pull weeds, and care for any plant that was past its prime (always managing to nurse it back to life). Bringing her family together by cooking an evening meal was her passion, but she hated baking. She loved People magazine…for the recipes. She had fantastic artistic talent and enjoyed painting with watercolors and acrylics and had impeccable penmanship. She spent many years volunteering in the Edgewood High School Art Department, assisting and encouraging young artists. Els loved her animal friends, dogs, grand dogs, grand cats and other grand pets (dogs, O’Henry, Annie, Charley, Eli, Tallulah, Ginny, Ava; cats, Kevin, Stuart, Carl, Mini, Remy, Merle, Maureen, Dot, Chip, Kenni, GusGus, and Puff; ducks, Cheese and Quackers; horses, Grayson, Rainier, Lucy, Jitterbug, Candy, Sage, and Fayte). All the dogs knew where “Grandma Cookies” were stored and how to convince Els to hand them out. The deer gather nightly in the driveway for their evening snack, and the birds and squirrels are well fed.

Jim and Els have three loving children and seven fantastic grandchildren, James IV (wife, Amy; children, Dave, John, and Samantha) of Janesville, WI, Jennifer Kraemer (husband, Matt; children, Bennett, and Elizabeth “Libby”) of Pickett, WI; and George (wife, Connie; children, Veronica, and Madelyn) of Stoughton, WI. Els was blessed to be able to stay at home to raise their children.

Els was preceded in death by her devoted, loving husband, Jim, on August 29th, 2018.

A service to honor Els’ life will be held on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay. She will be laid to rest in Clay Banks Cemetery beside her husband, Dr. James Caleb Tibbetts III, in the Spring of 2022.

Visitation for family and friends will be held from 3:00 p.m. until the time of service.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in Els’ name may be sent to Sunshine Resources of Door County, Wisconsin Humane Society – Door County Campus, or Door County Medical Foundation.

Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Els may be shared with her family through her tribute page at