Dorsell Bibbee: Coolville’s grounded gentleman

Bibbee puts supplies in place before beginning to dig. Rather than work with the aid of machinery, Bibbee prefers to do all his work manually, even at the age of 82. The mark of a veteran gravedigger.
Dorsell Bibbee helped dig his first grave as a teenager, and 60 years later, he’s still diggin’.
By Christopher Miller
Ordinarily, retirement is spent resting and relaxing, not regularly shoveling dirt many times your own weight. Suffice to assume, Dorsell Bibbee, an 82-year-old Tuppers Plains resident is extraordinary. Bibbee works as a gravedigger for White-Schwarzel Funeral Home in Coolville inAthens County, a job Bibbee has held for over 60 years. Here’s a look into the life of TupperPlains’ denizen gravedigger.
Tuppers Sweet Tuppers
“I was born [in 1934] down the road here in Tuppers Plains on Success Road. In 1971, me, Mom and Dad moved out the other way between Tuppers Plains and Darwin at Alfred and 71st Street.After my parents died, I had a trailer at another fella’s place, then I stayed at a friend’s great aunt’s til I come out here in May. I’ve stayed around Tuppers Plains my whole life.”
A hand in the land
“In the 1950s and 60s we had an 83-acre farm with a half dozen cows for selling milk. My dad and I farmed some, and I’d help with hay. When people needed help digging a water line or electric line, I’d do that too.”
Spare time 
“I like to go listen to live music and go to the [County] Fair. I used to play the guitar, until I lost it when our trailer burnt down. But I never got into them ballgames or nothing.”
Super (and natural) forces
“Sometimes it’d be really windy and a tent would blow over and certain graves would be tougher than others but nothing scary [ever happened], even though I used to dig at night with a lantern when we were running behind.”
Workplace Hazards
“People don’t know it can be dangerous. One time, the young boy operating the tractor swung the bucket around, hit my arm and I fell into the hole. Had I hit the hard vault, it could have been much worse. Like anything else, you really have to be careful.”
Why he still digs his work
“One reason is you are not in the same place every day. You get to work at other places, not like working in the same store every day. And, you get to meet lots of different people, families, and people from the different vault companies.”


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