Obituaries: Heil, Gwynn, Engel, Whitaker

Norma Jean (Brammeier) Heil

On February 15, 1941 a ray of sunshine named Norma Jean (Brammeier) Heil was brought into the world. May 25, 2019 was the day the sun stopped shining.  Jean was born on February 15, 1941 to Donald and Margaret Brammeier in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.  Jean spent her younger years helping her parents and brother, Bob, on the family farm. She had one 4H steer that she raised and showed in the county fair, but it was her last when she cried when she had to sell him.  

Jean graduated from Lyman High School in Lyman, Nebraska in 1959.  While in high school, Jean met her future husband, Don Heil, at a dance.  While they were dating, Don learned that she was a fearless driver when they were racing his car and her father’s car.  Don knew he had met his match when she hit a rise in the road and went airborne.  (Grandpa never found out, which is a big reason my brother and I exist.  Well, that and the blonde ponytail).

On December 20, 1959 Don and Jean were married.  They lived for a time in Torrington, Wyoming, but soon moved to Casper, Wyoming where they have lived since.  April 21, 1961 was the day Jean and Don welcomed their son, Chet.  A year later, exactly, they welcomed me, Lynette, and Don nearly died when Jean came home from the hospital to find the birthday cake mess Chet and Don had made for Chet’s first birthday.  

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Jean worked for several different banks in her younger career years, making lifelong friends at every bank.  In 1985, Jean turned her hobby of ceramics into Crackpot Ceramics, which she operated until 1997.  She was an incredible artist and businesswoman. One of her favorite subjects were Santa Clauses. At Christmas she would decorate her home with Santas; much to the delight of her three grandchildren.  Jean made many more friends at her shop.

Jean was the best grandma to her grandchildren, Darby and Quinn Clark and Taylor Meyer.  She attended all of their school and sporting events.  Jean was especially excited when Taylor told her that she would soon be a great grandma.  While she never had the opportunity to meet the new little one, she loved her anyway.  

From her early days of auto racing to her retirement years, Jean always loved cars.  Not necessarily the fancy new ones, but the ones she watched Don restore.  Jean was an active member of the Oil Capitol Auto Club and enjoyed showing their two vintage cars.  Jean made even more friends at car shows.  

Jean also enjoyed traveling, either with Don, or their family.  One of her lifelong dreams was to go to Hawaii and see the Pearl Harbor memorial.  In 2010, she was able to go with her entire family. She even enjoyed the odd excursions I would con her into taking.  

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis.  She fought the disease with all her might, but in the end, it won.  

Jean is survived by her husband, Don, children Chet & Lynette, son-in-law Ron, grandchildren Darby, Quinn and Taylor, brother Bob, and sister-in-law Dorothy.  She was preceded in death by her parents.

Jean was an amazing daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend.  She was the one person who made sure all birthdays and Christmases were special for everyone.  Jean made her family better people, and we are grateful for her.

Services for Jean will be Saturday, June 1 at Bustards Funeral Home at 10 am.  A reception will follow at the Casper Senior Center at 11 am, with lunch being served.

Grammy, we love you more.


Charlie J. Gwynn

Charlie J. Gwynn, 88, of Casper, passed away on May 22, 2019 of COPD. He was born to Tollie and Ida Gwynn on July 19, 1930 in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

He attended high school in Thermopolis. Charlie became a truck driver and worked for several different companies over the years.

On March 31, 1951 he married the love of his life, Josie Ramsey. They just celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

Charlie was accepted into the Air Force, March 31, 1952. He was stationed at Hahn Air Force Base, Germany, and was attached to the 69th U.S. Pilotless Bomber Squadron.

He was preceded in death by both parents, two sisters, Betty Crooks and Lorene Jones; and a brother, Louis Gwynn.

He is survived by his wife, Josie; nieces, Betty Yoder and Sally (Rupert) Liddie; nephews, Bud Shoopman and Dana (Judy) Jones; cousins, Lloyd Tanner; Louise (Jim) Sikes; and Joe (Kathy) Golyd.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 10:00 am, Thursday, May 30, 2019 at Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery in Evansville, Wyoming. A reception will follow. Viewing will be at Bustard’s Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations and memorials to Wounded Soldiers and Hospice.



Marlin Eugene Engel

Marlin Eugene Engel, 78, of Casper, WY, passed away at his home on Saturday May 25, 2019. 

Marlin was born March 11, 1941 in Winner, SD to Henry “Hank” and Merle (Carroll) Engel. He graduated from Winner High School and attended Black Hills State College. Later he graduated with an electronics degree from Denver Technical Institute. Marlin served in the U.S. Army, spending most of his tour of duty in Kaiserslauten, Germany. 

Marlin worked for various electric and electronic companies in Colorado, South Dakota, and Wyoming, in 1986, he and Jo Ann started Communication Systems, Inc. which they ran until selling the company in 2001. Marlin continued to work for the new owners until he retired. 

He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, learning new things, and an after-work Coors Light. He loved spending time with his family. His three grandchildren were the light of his life. He enjoyed a unique and special relationship with each of them. 

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jo Ann (Lawler), daughter, Tonya Kourt, son-in-law Sheldon Kourt, grandchildren Bailey Kourt, Brandon Kourt, and Brevan Kourt of Casper, and his brother Tim Engel of Ft. Pierre, SD plus nieces, great nieces, and numerous cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Merle Engel, sisters, Sharon Brown and Linda Tracy, and son, Eugene Rae Engel. 

Marlin requested a Celebration of Life Service and burial in Winner, SD. The date has not been set at this time. 


Genevieve Rose (“Johnnie”) Whitaker

Genevieve Rose (“Johnnie”) Whitaker 
1927 – 2019

Genevieve was born August 31, 1927 to Carl Henry and Katherine Echkardt in Loveland, Colorado but spent most of her life in Wyoming and was known to her friends as Johnnie. She died surrounded by her husband of 53 year, Robert E. (“Bob”) Whitaker, family and friends. 

Johnnie grew up in Wyoming with six brothers and sisters only one of whom, Delores Kasner, survives her. Her parents and older brother, Elmer Eckhardt, were ranchers in Worland; her brother, Terry Eckhardt, was a high-school teacher and coach in Thermopolis; her sister, Lucille Bucholtz married a soldier in WW II and moved to California; her sisters JoAnn Lombardo Long and Irene Bott lived and worked in Casper and Worland while raising their families and her sister Delores and her husband, Bob, own a KAO campground in Douglas. 

Johnnie exemplified everything good about this state. She hunted for elk in the Tetons, fished our beautiful lakes and rivers , camped in the mountains cooking over campfires, went snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter and fussed over her roses in the summer. Johnnie could expertly clean the fish she caught and dress the elk she shot with her hair, makeup and nails perfectly done. She could cook as well as any gourmet chef and loved fixing meals with her beloved sisters and daughters, whether a huge Thanksgiving feast or a backyard barbecue. 

Johnny loved country music, Las Vegas, fishing in the Tetons, playing bingo at the Elks Club and sitting with her sisters as they drank coffee, worked on their hair and told stories about growing up and working hard on the family ranch. Johnnie went to California after high school and drove a jeep for an Army major while helping out her older sister, Lucille, who had given birth to twins. Johnnie also lived in Kimball, Nebraska where she became an excellent bookkeeper and developed an interest in finance which was helpful when she and Bob later owned a trucking company and a truck sales company in Casper. Johnnie and Bob kept a winter home in Arizona so Johnnie could golf which she loved and kept up into her mid-eighties. 

Although Johnnie’s life was filled with great joy she also lived with great sorrow. A Gold Star Mother, her beloved son, Kenneth Walter King, died in the Vietnam War. Her grandson, Michael Scott Strauch and granddaughter, Michele Jeanne Strauch, died much too young. All but one of her siblings also preceded her in death – her sisters, Lucille Bucholtz, California, Irene Bott, Casper, Elmer Eckhardt, Worland, Terry Eckhardt, Thermopolis and JoAnn Lombardo Long, California. 
She faced these tribulations aided by her Christian faith which only grew stronger as she aged. 

The birth of her great-grandaugher, Eliza Mitford Barberton, brought her great happiness even as Johnnie began to slip away mentally from Alzheimer’s over the past few years. She died before meeting her newest great-grandchild, Calvin James Merino of Arizona.

In addition to her husband, Bob, of Casper and sister Delores who lives with her husband Bob Kasner in Douglas,WY Johnnie is survived by her daughters Constance Mitford-Barberton of Casper and Linda Whitaker of Yorba Linda, CA; her son, Robert Whitaker and his wife, Kristin of Mesa, AZ; Grandsons Jason Whitaker and his wife Kim of Citrus Heights, CA and Ian Mitford-Barberton of Casper; Grandaughters Lauren Merino and her husband, Sterling and Elise Whitaker of Arizona, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews all of whom she loved and adored. 

The funeral service will be held at Newcomer in Casper at 1:30 pm on Friday, May 31st with reception to follow and viewing on Thursday, May 30th from 2:00 to 5:30 pm.

A devoted Christian, Johnnie is now at peace and we ask you to please remember her family and friends in your prayers.

Mary Margaret Obert

Mary Margaret Obert, age 88, of Casper, Wyoming passed away May 11, 2019. Mary was born December 2, 1930 in Paris, Missouri to Marvin and Oleta Roney. Mary and her family moved to Casper, Wyoming in 1939 where she resided until her passing. Mary married Clyde Obert in 1947 in Casper, Wyoming. Clyde passed away in 1983. For the majority of her life, Mary worked as a salesperson. Mary was a very loving mother and grandmother. Mary was a homemaker and enjoyed crocheting, sewing, gardening, canning and baking. 

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Clyde Obert and two sisters. She is survived by her daughter, Carol McCann, grandson, Brian McCann, granddaughter, Rae McCann Quintana, great-grandchild, Jasmine Platt, sisters, Helen Riggle, Ruby Robinett, Joan Kennard, and Shirley Provence.

A graveside service was held at 1:00pm, Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at Wyoming Memorial Gardens. A reception followed at Fraternal Order of Eagles, 306 North Durbin St, Casper, WY 82601.