Empty Saddles ~ Bill Nugent

Bill Nugent, Water Valley, Alta ~ 1943 – 2023

Bill Nugent, photo taken at his Water Valley ranch for the Living Legend feature we published in 2004. Photo by Kyle Clapham.

Born William Walter Nugent on March 7 in Napanee, Ontario, Bill moved to Cochrane, AB in 1965. When Bill arrived in Alberta, he started working at a PMU farm in Cochrane. Bill married Shirley Vincent in 1967.


In 1972 Bill purchased some wooded land in Water Valley, it had a shack, outhouse, and power. The first building he built was a horse barn that is still on the property today. 


Everyone in the family worked hard to build an indoor arena, barn, and corrals. Bill traded horses during all of it. He would take horses to the sale, sell them, buy more, trim and ride them, and put those horses back in the sale the next day. Eventually, he saved enough money to be able to buy some cows and from then on, he would always have cattle. Bill would feed them with a team and wagon. He was a great teamster and broke all of his many teams himself. He would even hook his rope horses; it made him very proud to train teams.


Besides his loving partner June, Bill is survived by his son Mark (Randa) Nugent of Water Valley, AB and daughter Marcy (Cody) Cunningham of Banner, Wy.;  four grandchildren, Cashlee (Chantz) Cates, Cricket Cunningham, Ryatt and Court Nugent; and three great-grandchildren, Carsyn, Corbyn and Casyn Cates. Bill is also survived by his brother Dick and sister Shannon, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.


Bill was predeceased by his wife Shirley, parents Earl and Wilma, and sister Emily Clermont.


As per Bill’s wishes, no service was held.