Bill and Sybil Newcomb have been married for 55 years. One of their dates was to Kelly's Lake Truck Stop in Bristow. Photo by Chris Landsberger
Bill said he provided for his family by building gasoline refinery tanks and booster stations.
Sybil said her husband’s life wasn’t all about work. As a rodeo clown, he livened up their lives, and she was there to support him. She said she made all of the costumes he wore, and she and her children enjoyed seeing his antics at the rodeo as much as the audience did. She said it seemed natural for Bill to eventually become Blue Nose the clown with the Shriners. He entertained as Blue Nose for 27 years and was named the International Clown of the Year in 1999.
Their love of laughter didn’t come without some challenges, though.
Twenty-two years ago, Bill got a call from a woman who told him he was her father.
Sybil said she never worried about how to handle the delicate situation, because she knew the daughter was from a relationship that had ended before they began dating. And Bill, 80, said he had always told his wife "this isn’t my first rodeo,” referring to his previous relationships.
The couple eventually met his daughter, Elaine Getscher, and welcomed her into the family.
"Since I love him, I’ve got to love her, too,” Sybil said. "How could I not accept her? She’d been looking for her dad since she was 14.”
The couple faced another challenge after Sybil went to testify in a court case at 9 a.m. April 19, 1995, at the federal courthouse, adjacent to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. She worked in the Oklahoma County sheriff’s office.
Sybil said she went to offer help and ended up in the area that had housed the day care. At home, Bill watched the television news and waited for word about his wife. Her co-worker called him to tell him she was OK, but he said he did not stop worrying until she returned home that evening.
When an exhausted and traumatized Sybil got home, Bill just held her in his arms.
"I was glad to see that she was all right,” he said, recalling his relief. "I don’t know what I would have done without her.”
The Newcombs said they try to encourage married couples as much as they can.
They said they advise couples not to go to bed angry with each other, and Sybil said she and her husband have never ended the evening mad at each other.
"We might have angry words, but we don’t go to bed angry with each other,” she said.
She said their best advice for married couples is to follow their example and enjoy many experiences together.
It’s why they started square dancing in 1967 and continue today. Sybil said she makes most of their costumes and can still wear one of the dresses she made in 1976.
They plan to dance their way through the next season of their multifaceted life — together.