Obituaries: Lance, Nicely, Hand - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Obituaries: Lance, Nicely, Hand

Marleeta Kay Lance

CASPER, Wyo. –

Marleeta Kay Lance was born on August 21, 1947, in Lewellen, Nebraska to Ernest and Donna Tophoj.  She passed away peacefully in her sleep from natural causes on January 29, 2020, 30 years to the day after the passing of her beloved daughter.  She was 72.

Marleeta is survived by her husband of 26 years, Elgan “Butch” Lance, her son, Kirk, his wife, Tiffany, and their children, Lennon (8) and London (1), and son, Wade, his wife, Lettie, and their children, Jesse (8) and Rosemary (1).  She is also survived by her siblings, Lavonne, Yvonne, Jeanette, Anita, Elton and their families.  It brings her family great solace to know she is reunited in heaven with the family members she lost in life.

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She worked at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf and the Wyoming School for the Deaf in Casper.  Her dedication and service to the deaf community never wavered as she also worked tirelessly as an interpreter.  Marleeta found great purpose in being the ears for those who could not hear, and her impact can still be felt today.  

Spending time with family and friends at the lake, golfing, or enjoying great conversation and laughter on her back deck, with a glass of wine in hand, were her happiest times second only to time spent with her grandchildren.  They filled her life with immeasurable pleasure and joy.

Marleeta always had a smile on her face and a kind word. Those closest to her never doubted the love she felt for them. Her steadfast devotion to her faith and her ability to see the light during troubled times were awe-inspiring and set a great example for all those fortunate to know her. The world is truly a better place because she was part of it.

In lieu of flowers, please enjoy dinner with your family and toast her well-lived life.  If you care to do more, please make a donation to the American Heart Association or St. Jude’s in her honor.  There will be a celebration of life on July 31, 2020, beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Butch and Marleeta’s back deck.  All who loved her and want to celebrate her life are welcome to attend. 

Services are entrusted to the care of Bustard & Jacoby, Funerals, Cremations, Monuments and Receptions, 600 CY Avenue, Casper, WY 82601.

Donald Edward Nicely

Don Nicely was born June 30, 1954 in Santa Maria, California to Quillie and Berthabelle Nicely. He remained in Santa Maria throughout his childhood, attending Nightingale Elementary, Lakeview Junior High and finally graduating from Ernest Righetti High School. It was during his childhood that he developed his lifelong love of fishing, walking over to Waller Park daily. Don loved to fish and spent many hours throughout his life with a fishing rod in his hand. Don was active in the Cub Scouts and then the Boy Scouts. While in high school he was a very active member of the FFA, serving as club president and being the first to receive the State Farmers Award. He had a well decorated FFA jacket with a majority of his badges in Hortamental Horticulture. He had a love for growing flowers and plants and built his own greenhouse in his early teens that is still standing and in use today. Don was an entrepreneur in his own right, with his first business venture involving the growing and selling of $50,000 worth of daffodils that he recruited most of the town to assist in. He spent a lot of time with his grandparents traveling the state of California and learning the art of taking care of the customer. He lived in the state of California for thirty years spending hours enjoying the outdoors – hiking, fishing and accomplishments including hiking the 213-mile John Muir Trail. In 1984 he decided to embark on a new adventure and with little more than a brief case moved to his forever home Casper, WY. Don worked for various oil field companies throughout his first several years in Casper, with his work taking him all over the world. He would tell you that he had traveled enough miles to circle the world seven and a half times and he had the passport stamps to prove it. He had a soft spot for children and made sure to provide something for all that he came across in each and every country that he visited. In 1990 he settled into tool manufacturing and opened his first machine shop called Applied Downhole Technologies, owning several others throughout the years, with the last being Turntec Manufacturing that he was able to grow from one building to a campus that now includes ten buildings. He was known to be a great leader and was admired by all that worked with him. He made a point to talk to each of his employees every day and made sure that they were aware of the value he knew they brought to the team. He inspired those around him to be their best self and did not stop until he pushed them to reach their full potential. Don found great joy in helping others – always there for a helping hand and a listening ear. He was a lover of all animals and throughout his years had nearly every pet you could imagine, wild and domestic. He was generous to his community, regularly sponsoring activities and events, especially those that supported children.

Don is survived by this wife Deana Nicely, their dog Maya and two cats Samson and Oliver; his five children Chad Nicely, Jeremy (Cody) Nicely, Heather Nicely, Misti Nicely and Quillie (Rosie) Nicely; three step children Kodi (Tangney) Dockham, Mandy (Eric) Blajszczak and Roscoe (Carman) Dockham; sixteen grandchildren; sisters Virginia (Harry) Olson and Patricia Nicely; and brother John (Nicole) Nicely.

Don was preceded in death by both of his parents and his sister Aquilla.

In lieu of flowers and in recognition of his love of animals and assisting kids in the community the family asks that you consider a donation to:

Casper Humane Society
849 East E Street
Casper, WY 82601


Platte River Judo
910 Bristol
Casper, WY 82609

Services will be held on Saturday, February 8th at 2:00 pm at the Newcomer Funeral Home with a celebration of his life to follow at The Hall on Ash located at 355 S. Ash Street. All are encouraged and welcomed to attend.

Robert Jerald “Jerry” Hand

Robert Jerald “Jerry” Hand passed peacefully on January 29, 2020, at the age of 88, while at his Florida home away from home. He was born May 1, 1931, in Wagner, S.D., the oldest of seven children, of H.R. and Mary Rose Hand. His family relocated to Cheyenne and then to Casper in 1938. He attended St. Anthony’s School, Jefferson School, Dean Morgan Junior High and was a proud graduate of NCHS in 1949. He was a Cadet Colonel in the Army ROTC and was honored as a distinguished military student. He served in the U.S. army during the Korean Conflict, receiving his discharge as a Captain. He attended the University of Wyoming where he was a member of numerous organizations including: Sigma Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Cai Gamma Lota, Alpha Kappa Psi, and Scabbard and Blade. Jerry served as Student Body President from 1956-7 and went on to serve as President of the Alumni Association from 1968-69. He received both a BA and a JD from the University of Wyoming, graduating 2nd in his class at the University of Wyoming School of Law. Jerry was a proud Cowboy Fan, cheering on the Pokes. He was especially proud to cheer on his favorite Cowboy Players, Josh Harshman and Logan Wilson, who he considered to be his adopted grandsons.

He married Agnes Catherine Troughton in Laramie in 1958 and had the habit of introducing her as “his beautiful bride.” He passed away 10 days short of their 62nd Wedding Anniversary.

Jerry was a hard worker. He started working at the family business, Handy Spot, as a child where he sold pop, candy bars, popcorn etc. at Washington Park Band Concerts. He worked many odd jobs to put himself through school. He was a paper boy, a carpenter helper for the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad on the line from Casper to Thermopolis, a hasher, and a dishwasher. Following his graduation from Law School he was appointed to serve as a Clerk for Judge Pickett on the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court. He returned to Casper and served as assistant City of Casper Attorney under Dick Tobin. He served 8 years as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Natrona County and 12 years as Municipal Judge for the City of Casper. He became a member of the Wyoming State Bar in 1957 and after retirement was a member under Emeritus Status.
He served as President of many professional organizations, including the Wyoming State Bar Foundation, Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association and Natrona County Bar Association. As a member of the Bar Association, he also served as Secretary/Treasurer and was on the Board of Directors of the Wyoming State Bar Foundation. Jerry was also involved with Wyoming Reporter for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, American Judicature Society and the Task Force on Adjudication of National Highway Safety Advisory Committee. He was a member of the Natrona County Zoning Board from 1963-8 and served as their attorney from 1972-6. He became the Airport Board Attorney in 1968 and remained their counsel for many years. Jerry was in private practice for a good part of his career, where he was honored to work with his youngest brother Dennis Mark “Joe” Hand until Joe’s death. He partnered with his beloved son, Robert Jerald Hand, Jr. until his retirement. Jerry was a Certified Arbitrator and Mediator and worked with the Wyoming Guardian Ad Litem Program. He lectured at American Tribal Indian Judges School, Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy, University of Wyoming College of Law, Casper College People’s Law School and various other continuing legal education seminars. He had articles published in the Wyoming Law Journal. In 2017 he proudly received a recognition from the Wyoming Bar Association for 60 years of Distinguished Service.

Jerry believed in giving back to his community. He was a member of BPOE 1353, serving as Exalted Ruler; American Legion George Vroman Post #2, Past State Judge Advocate; Friends of Natrona County Library; and Casper Chamber of Commerce where he served on the Aviation Committee. He was a charter member of Wyoming Pilots Association. He attended Wyoming’s First Boys State in 1948 and served many years on their staff. He was the Attorney for the Wyoming Girl Scout Council from 1965-1980 and proudly said he was a card-carrying member of the Girl Scouts. He served as President of Law Enforcement Assistance Administration from 1969-78 and Sertoma International. Jerry was a member of the Cross-Country Ski Club; Friends of Natrona County Library; Fort Casper Museum Association; and Wyoming Pioneer Association. He was a patron of Nicolaysen Art Museum and Children’s Center; National Historic Trails Interpretive Center; Casper Children’s Chorale and Platte River Trails. He served as an usher at his beloved parish, Our Lady of Fatima for many years.

Jerry was a beloved father to Michele Hand, Debbie LaChance (Joel) and Robert Jerald Hand, Jr. He leaves behind his precious grandchildren: Brendan LaChance, Breanne Walker (Zach), Cate Camacho (Dylan), Colin Hand-Bailey (Alex), Brady LaChance, and Brynley LaChance and 2 great-grand children Mia Mae Walker and “Smiley” Riley Camacho. He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Dennis Mark “Joe” Hand, James Francis Hand, Richard Thomas Hand, and Mary Ardis Heuer. He is survived by 2 siblings and many nieces and nephews.

A Rosary will be held Tuesday, February 18th at 6:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, February 19th at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. A private family burial will take place following the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Mary’s Fund, Casper Children’s Chorale, or Friends of Natrona County Library.