Obituaries: Niemi, Patton, Bouzis

Randy Carl Niemi

Randy Carl Niemi passed away April 27, 2019, doing one of the things he loved most, riding his four-wheeler, in Casper, WY. 

Randy was born on April 29, 1957 to Edward and Grace Niemi in Red Lodge, Montana. As a child, he enjoyed getting into mischief with his two older brothers, Neil and Larry. They worked hard with their dad on the ranch, though we aren’t sure if he kept the cows in line or if they kept him in line. 

After high school, Randy decided to pursue a higher education. He obtained a Bachelor of Accounting from the University of Wyoming in May, 1979. He promptly decided that he would not spend the rest of his life doing accounting work, so he got a job at Shorty’s Autobody and then a summer job on the corrosion construction crew at Northern Gas Company in Laramie, WY. That “summer” job ended up lasting 39 years with the same assets and people through his whole career, making it from Northern Gas; to Northern Utilities and KN Energy in Riverton, WY; Rocky Mountain Natural Gas in Glenwood Springs, CO; Kinder Morgan, SourceGas, and Tallgrass Energy in Casper, WY. He left a trail of people behind him through his vast network of colleagues and industry partners that he preferred to call friends.

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Randy was married to Jill Long in 1985 and they had two daughters, Nikki and Kacy. Though this marriage didn’t work out, they were able to successfully raise their daughters to adulthood. In 1994, Randy met Rita Palomino and they began dating. They were married on August 16, 1997, in Dubois, WY where two families became one. Nikki and Kacy gained sister Sashia and brother Michael and the four of them grew up together. As Randy’s kids became adults, they started having children, and he discovered that being a grandpa was one of his life’s greatest pleasures. He spent most of his off time going to sporting events, plays, school ceremonies and any other activities that his grandkids had. He was a staple in all of their lives and will be greatly missed. 

Aside from his family, Randy’s favorite pastime was riding his ATV’s. His need for speed was legendary and there were many warm spring afternoons you would find him riding the streets or the local ATV tracks. He shared this love of riding with his family and they made many memories with him on the trails, especially in his favorite place, Cooke City, MT. Everyone knew that when Randy was riding, Randy was happy, and those memories will forever warm our hearts. 

Randy had the warmest heart, always having time to stop and talk to anyone he knew. If you called and asked him for help, he would drop anything and be there for anyone. His light made the world a better place.
Randy was preceded in death by his parents Edward Niemi and Grace Niemi.

He is survived by the love of his life Rita, daughter Nikki Sims (Harrel), granddaughters Avril and Jade, grandson Gage, daughter Kacy Reishus (Nathan), grandson Mitchell and granddaughter Myla, daughter Sashia Patterson (Craig), grandsons Kolter, Treysan, and Gannon, and son Michael. His brothers Neil and Larry Niemi, parents in-law Filbert and Lupe Gonzales, and numerous cousins and in-laws.


Kenneth Dayton Patton

Kenneth Dayton Patton died on Monday, April 29, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. Ken was born May 9, 1927 in Lovell, Wyoming, the son of Perry Malone and Beulah Lee (Guinn) Patton. He was inducted into the Army upon graduation from Lovell High School and served in Germany and France. Ken was assigned to Headquarters’ Command, Western Base Section in Paris.

Upon discharge in 1947 he was employed with the Bureau of Reclamation at Heart Mountain and Cody, Wyoming. He moved to Casper in 1950 to accept employment with the United States Geological Survey. In 1974 he transferred to Los Angeles and in 1976 was promoted to Area Petroleum Accountant. In 1977 he transferred to Casper as Assistant Petroleum Accountant. In 1981, he retired after 35 years of Federal service.

He married his beloved Norma Katherine Johansen on November 26, 1955 at the Chapel of Transfiguration in Moose, Wyoming. They celebrated their sixty-third wedding anniversary in 2018. They are parents of son, Craig, and daughter, Gail. 

“Bumpa” loved his family and was affectionately known as the Baby Whisperer. He enjoyed gardening, working crosswords, and playing music with his friends in the Twang Gang. Ken was active in the Credit Union Movement in the 50‘s and 60’s, a member of the First United Methodist Church, and the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees.

Survivors include his wife Norma; son Craig; daughter Gail Schenfisch (Joel); and grandchildren Robyn Bopp (Dave), Andrea Burger (Justin), Sarah Patton, Mark and Anna Schenfisch; as well as great-grandchildren, Adam and Jocelyn Bopp, and Adela Burger. 

Memorial services will be held at the First United Methodist Church on Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m.. A Military Honor Service will be held on Friday, May 3, at 2:00 p.m. at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Willard, Perry, and Raymond; sisters Gussie Massey, Mary Alice Rhoads, Helen Wilson, and Tiny Patton. 


Mary A. Bouzis

Mary A. Bouzis

CASPER – Mary Bouzis lived 92 years with two priorities — faith and family. After a lifetime of unconditional love, pious worship and a kitchen that never closed, she fittingly passed away on Greek Orthodox Easter, her religions most sacred and holy day, April 28, 2019 at Life Care Center in Casper, surrounded by the many people to whom she dedicated her life. 

Mary Nickolakakis was born in the small village of Neriana, Crete in Greece December 12, 1926. Her family farmed olives, and though they were not wealthy, they were rich in love and faith, and devotion to family and God were instilled in her as a young girl. With this foundation, she survived WWII and Nazi occupation of her home, trusting that God would not pose a challenge for her she couldn’t handle.

In 1954, Tony Bouzis, who had moved to America from Crete, was in Mary’s village visiting childhood friends when he saw Mary and fell in love at first site. In a time of dowries and arranged marriages, Tony asked only for Mary’s hand, which was all she needed to know about the man who would become her husband just two weeks later. Though she had never left Greece and didn’t speak English, she trusted the path God had sent her down. She immigrated to America in January, 1955 to join Tony, already eager to become a mother to his two daughters from a previous marriage. She’d never seen snow before and was actually excited when a storm welcomed her to Wyoming on her first day in Casper. She decided she preferred the Mediterranean climate the second day.

From 1956 through 1969, she gave birth to two daughters and three sons, and just as it was on her childhood farm in Greece, faith and family were her world. Nothing was more important to her than her husband and children, and she only ever asked that they love each other in return, though her love was truly inimitable. It was her mission to provide a better life for her children than the one she had. She was especially proud that each of them graduated college, despite her own limited education. In addition to being a wife and mother, her greatest joy was being Yia Yia, or Grandmother, to 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, although she was “Yia Yia” to everyone who knew her. Forged behind the example she set, her family now shares an unbreakable bond and extraordinary closeness.

Her kindness, patience and cooking abilities were nearly ecclesiastical. She did little for herself, and instead filled her time caring for her family and worshipping God. She attended Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church at every opportunity throughout the week and prayed at least twice a day, every day. She was also a longtime member of her church’s Philoptoches Society, an organization dedicated to serving the poor. Her connection to the Lord was uncommonly strong, and the Orthodox religion was her foundation of strength, values, direction and wisdom. Rather than preach Christianity, Mary practiced it through the way she mothered her children and grandchildren. She was generous with her love, time and portions, and no value was more important to her than forgiveness.

Between practicing her faith, raising her children and preparing food, Mary was quietly spirited and surprisingly funny. She was an excellent dancer, and she taught her kids traditional Greek line dances in their living room, and would turn on American Bandstand every Saturday morning to dance along. A hopeless romantic, her favorite entertainment always included a dramatic love story like General Hospital, Dirty Dancing (especially Patrick Swayze) and Erotokritos, a Greek romantic tragedy. In the warmer months, she enjoyed taking long walks and relaxing on her front porch. 

Although she spoke little English, her love and grace didn’t need translating. She communicated through kindness. Her kids’ and grandkids’ friends received the same doting maternal care as her blood family, and everyone was welcome in her home at any hour, but they weren’t given the option of turning down food. Her accent made everything she said funnier, and her crooning Elvis singalongs were legendary. Her renowned idioms conveyed wisdom and humor, including “slowly, slowly, everything fine” and “Don’t be late. Be home 10:00-10:30.” The only lie she ever told carried into her 90s, which was that every birthday she turned 22. 

The strength of her character, the pureness of her heart and the gentleness of her spirit made her prayers especially powerful, and she warmly fulfilled prayer requests on smaller matters like lost clothing and school tests to issues as big as death and divorce. She was a moral compass for her children, who all considered her their best friend and confidant. She was also fantastic company to her English-speaking neighbors and friends, all of whom found great pleasure in sitting on her porch with her, enjoying nature. Her forgiveness was unqualified, often coming undeservedly or without apology, including when her two 4-year-old granddaughters locked her out of her own house for an afternoon.

Mary is survived by her five children: Angie, her patient translator, Chris, her faithful companion, John, her reliable patriarch, Nektarios, her gentle doctor, Demetrios, her partner in humor, their spouses, Mike, Diane, Amie and Becky; her brother, Petros; as well as two step-daughters, Merry and Deanna and their spouses, Harry and John. She is also survived by 17 grandchildren, many of whom she provided free daycare throughout their childhood, 11 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. She leaves behind many friends and fellow parishioners of the Orthodox Church. She resided at Life Care Center in her final years, where she received compassionate care from the staff. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Tony Bouzis, who she mourned since his death in 1987, her parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, sister-in-law and step-granddaughter. Her family is grateful that she is reunited with them.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation on Mary’s behalf to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Saint Nektarios died in 1920, just six years before Mary was born. He was one of her most beloved saints, who quietly spread God’s word across a lifetime of practicing Christian love and ideals rather than performing one single, miraculous event. Not only did Mary frequently ask for his prayers, but his story sounds familiar to anyone who knew Mary. The consistency of her message and character, even in times of great adversity, was perhaps her greatest strength and certainly how she will be remembered. Although she didn’t quite make the one hundred years to which she always toasted, her legacy will live hundreds more through her family that will always try to live up to her example.

Trisagion service will be held on Friday, May 3, 2019 at 7:00 PM at Bustard’s Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church at 2:00 PM with Father Stephen Ziton officiating. Following interment at Highland Cemetery, the Makaria (Meal of Mercy) will be offered at Holy Trinity.