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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of July 17 - 23, 2002


Oliver Dibble, longtime Sun Valley official, dies

Express Staff Writer

Longtime Wood River Valley resident and Sun Valley city official Oliver Dibble died July 4 at Magic Valley Regional Medical Center in Twin Falls. Dibble, 77, suffered respiratory failure brought on by lung disease and lung cancer.

A resident of Hailey, Dibble had previously lived in Sun Valley for 35 years, where he worked as the city’s Planning and Zoning Board administrator, fire chief and chief building inspector.

Raised in California, he moved to Idaho in 1965. He met his wife, Roberta Corby, in Sun Valley, and the couple married in 1968. Corby Dibble—who retained her maiden name as her first name—said Monday that Dibble had a genuine love of the Wood River Valley and its residents. "He was just a very special person, and he loved the Wood River Valley," she said. "He died with a great deal of dignity, just as he lived his life."

Upon his arrival in Idaho, Dibble worked as a carpenter and contractor. He later worked as administrator of the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission in the late 1960s and early 1970s before becoming the city’s fire chief.

Sun Valley Fire Chief Jeff Carnes was hired by Dibble in 1973. "He made me captain and then assistant chief," he said. "He gave me some good direction."

Carnes said that the two men in the late 1970s split duties of running the department, with Dibble handling the administrative tasks while he himself managed operations. "He was a great guy to work with," Carnes said. "Sometimes people thought he was a little too tough, but he really knew how to treat people well."

Carnes said that Dibble was a key figure in Sun Valley’s development as a city, and helped compose the city’s codes and ordinances in its early phases. The fire chief added that Dibble enjoyed hosting parties and barbecues for friends and co-workers.

Carnes said that he will remember Dibble as he continues his work for the city. "Any individual that wants to get into emergency services stands out in my mind," he said. "I’m still kind of in shock that he passed away."

Dibble also served as the city’s chief building inspector until his retirement in 1991.

Jim McGlaughlin, president of the Sun Valley P&Z, said that Dibble made countless contributions to the city as its building inspector and planning administrator.

"He was an invaluable resource for those of us on the commission," he said. "He knew the history of all the projects and properties in Sun Valley."

McGlaughlin noted that Dibble was not afraid to challenge development projects that did not conform to city standards. "He wasn’t afraid to give his opinion," he said. "He was the devil’s advocate on a lot of the zoning issues. Sun Valley was his home, and he took it very personally."

Sun Valley resident Joe Humphrey, a longtime friend and co-worker of Dibble, also said that Dibble was a primary figure in the early development of the city’s zoning and building regulations. "He was one of the team in the early days," he said. "He was missed when he left."

Humphrey noted that Dibble took his position as building inspector very seriously. "He was very on top of things."

He added that Dibble "got along with most people, but contractors sometimes had problems with him."

Dibble for many years was an active member of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Rotary Club and Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Ketchum

He was given special mention at Masses last weekend at Our Lady of the Snows, and will be honored in a memorial service at the church on Sept. 7.

An obituary appears on Page A31 of the printed edition of the July 17, 2002 Idaho Mountain Express.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.