Sylvan Williamson

Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Cutter Spotlight | 5 comments

At 3 o’clock, I sat quietly beside him….held his hand and prayed. I prayed to my God to let him be peaceful, I spoke to him, promised him we will take care of things. At 5:55, he passed away….out of his pain. Sylvan was 94, a tough buckaroo! We all learned so much from this man….so very much.  Linda Williamson

In fondest memory of Sylvan Williamson who passed on January 12, 2011 at the age of 94. He was a dear friend, a patriarch to the Williamson Cutting Horse Legends, and father.  You will be missed greatly….

I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I’d like to leave an Afterglow of Smiles when day is done. I’d like to leave an echo… Whispering softly down the ways of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days. I’d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun of happy memories that I leave behind when day is done.

Please leave your responses here.  I know we all have a story to tell about Sylvan and how he has touched our lives.  If you would like to post a picture, email to


Funeral arrangements have been made for Sylvan D. Williamson, Summers Funeral Home-Ustick Road Boise, Tuesday, January 18th @ 11:00 AM. Burial to follow at Dry Creek Cemetery. Thank you all for your kindness.       Linda Williamson

Sylvan Donald Williamson

Sylvan Donald Williamson, 94, left this earth on January 12, 2011 in the comfort of his Eagle, Idaho ranch home, with his family by his side. He was born in a house on Mann Creek near Weiser, Idaho on November 15, 1916. He was the older of two sons born to Willard Don Williamson and Relia Lolley Williamson. Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 18th at Summers Funeral Homes, 3629 E. Ustick Road, Meridian, Idaho. Burial will follow at Dry Creek Cemetery.

Sylvan spent his early life with his parents on Mann Creek near Weiser, Idaho where they worked at various farms and ranches. They helped in the produce harvest, picking fall apples at Mesa Orchard. Sylvan was very proud of his little brother, Duane. He really never stopped mourning for him after his tragic death at the age of 8 years old. In his teens he traveled where ever he could find work. He jumped the train, as he so often told the story, hoping he could find work somewhere in the Northwest, whether it be in the orchards, grain harvest or shearing sheep. He tells of his hunger, at times eating sweet onions to fill his belly or the bread his newly acquired friend Wendell Neff earned working the night shift at a bakery. He eventually found his way back home where he partnered with his parents and honed his legendary equine skills. Sylvan moved with his mother and dad to Vale, Oregon where he was a car salesman at the Nash dealership. He met and married the love of his life, a beautiful lady, Barbara Bush, married on April 13, 1941, 69 years they spent together. They operated, with Sylvan’s parents a service station and motor court. Shortly later, they began to seriously engage in operating a stock ranch. From around 1946 on, they raised some of the first registered American Quarter Horses in this part of the country. In 1965, they purchased the family ranch in Eagle, satisfying his dream of owning a river ranch. Sylvan knew good horse flesh! He had an incredible ability. He could look through the rough to find a champion. This is apparent by his success in the horse industry. Sylvan, along with his wife Barbara and sons, were the recipients of the very first American Quarter Horse Association Legacy Award, an award given for breeding and registering horses continuously for 50 years. A highlight of Sylvan’s life was on the eve of his 80th birthday, where he won the ICHA Legends Cutting, scoring an incredible 154 points.

Sylvan is survived by his wife Barbara of Eagle, sons: Doug (Carol), Todd, Toby (Linda) and his daughters: Betty Critzer, Diane Stevens (Jim), Kay Brassfield (Al), and Karla Brown as well as special friends Marcelo Garcia and Very Ortiz. He is also survived by 19 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and 6 great great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Duane and a grandson, Justin Tipton.


  1. We send our deepest condolences to the Williamson family.

    Sylvan was truly “one of a kind” and hope your memories his larger than life experiences will ease your grief.

    Happy Trails Sylvan,

    Tom and Laurie

  2. Dear frienda am sorry to hear of your lost he will be missed by us all , im sorry we couldnt be there , for his funeral , we have enjoyed his mant stories of his life ,he was a great person , clay and sandy

  3. I just found out of Sylvan’s passing. I will always remember his stories but I will sure miss the story teller. I guess it was time he took his place at the big rodear. I will remember him every time I look at the deep cinchin’ bald face mare I got from him. She’s my best one. My deepest condolences.

    Ken Linck
    Hermiston, OR

  4. Sylvan Williamson & HollywoodMany people remember my grandpa Sylvan for being the horseman he was. I too remember him coaching me when I was younger, telling me how to win. He was so proud of my family and I, and even if it were a small accomplishment, grandpa thought I was the best at everything I did. True love. I recall holding Hollywood (the dun horse many of you remember, and the same one who taught half of Idaho to ride) next to a set of steps so that grandpa could get on. Once he was up there, there was no stopping him. He presented himself in a way that many winners do, confident and sure of himself. He was in charge. That is why he got so far in life. Williamson FamilyI try to model this behavior in many aspects of my life. Grandpa enjoyed music. During the last few years of his life he spent short periods in the hospital. I brought my ipod to let him listen to big band music and old country tunes…what a generation curve! He tapped his toes on the foot board and smiled the whole time. Whenever anyone would leave the house at the ranch, grandpa would say, “hurry back!!!” and meant it, he loved company. He had a sweet tooth, (which was passed on in my genetics), and he taught me to eat peanut butter mixed with syrup! There are so many times that grandpa made me laugh, and I cherish those memories. I was his good friend, and he was dear to me. Sylvan & BarbaraGrandpa started to forget things, and when he passed away, he forgot Hollywood down here at the ranch when he went to Heaven. But don’t worry, he remembered him the next day and came to bring him home too. I find a strange comfort in the poetic ending of this duet. There are so many words to speak of him, I could go on for days. I loved my grandpa and Hollywood, and can’t wait to ride with them again one day in the green pastures above.

  5. I sat with Sylvan and Barbara at the ICHA cutting show in Nampa about 5 years ago. He told me about the early days of the NCHA, his horses, and what the cutters were doing right and wrong at the show that day. He got upset and had to turn away at a couple of runs when a fella lost a cow and decided to use the rest of his time to “school” the horse. He was an honorable man who loved his life, family and his horses.

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