Obituaries: Knapp, Mills, Culbertson, Sander - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Obituaries: Knapp, Mills, Culbertson, Sander

Detmer “Abe” Rex Knapp

CASPER, Wyo. –

Detmer “Abe” Rex Knapp: February 12, 1944 ~ February 7, 2020 (age 75)

Detmer “Abe” Rex Knapp passed away peacefully on February 7, 2020 in his home surrounded by his family.

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Abe was born in Gillette, Wyoming on February 12, 1944 to Robert and Reba Knapp.  He grew up with his sister, Rita Neville, in Gillette where he forged lifelong friendships and helped with the family businesses.  He graduated from Campbell County High School in 1962.

After high school, Abe served as a sergeant in the US Army. He was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War and upon his return home he attended the University of Wyoming; earning his Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering.  He later went on to earn his Professional Engineering license and worked as a Structural Engineer in Casper until his retirement in 2009. 

Abe was an accomplished fly fisherman, enjoyed flying model airplanes and all things Disney.  But, by far, his most beloved activity was spending time with his family and grandchildren, who filled his life with immeasurable pleasure and joy.  He was always quick to tell a listening ear how proud he was of his “beebies”.  Abe was also a proud Master Mason and active member of the Casper Shrine Club.  He even attended Clown College and loved “clowning up” for local Shrine parades and activities.  Abe always had a bright smile and his kindness touched all who knew him. 

He is survived by his daughters, Sage and husband Shelby Brooks of Casper; Ashley and husband M. Kent Risien of New Braunfels, Texas; sister Rita and husband Frank Neville of Casper and grandchildren Jackson and Harper Brooks, Emma Grace, Isla and Lucy Risien.  He also leaves behind a beloved niece, nephew and multiple cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant granddaughter, Lola. 

Abe’s presence will be sorely missed, however his love of family and his big heart will always be remembered. 

Services will be held Friday, February 21, 2020 at 10 AM at Highland Park Community Church with a reception to follow.  Interment of his ashes will take place at 1 pm on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Gillette, Wyoming with a reception to follow at the Gillette Masonic Lodge. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Casper Shrine Club in his honor. 

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


Robert William “Bob” Mills

Robert William “Bob” Mills, 79, passed away on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, Wyoming, from complications of several surgeries. He passed peacefully into God’s hands, surrounded by his wife Sharon, sons Rob and Mike, daughters Teri and Debbie, and granddaughter Tiffani.

Mr. Mills was born in Thermopolis, Wyoming on April 24, 1940, to Robert J. and Katie E. (Durham) Mills. He attended schools in Thermopolis, graduating from Hot Springs County High School with the class of 1958. He subsequently attended the National Institute of Dry Cleaning and Laundering, in Silver Springs, Maryland. Joining the Wyoming National Guard in 1959, Bob spent twenty six years serving his Country, State and Community.  He was married to Sharon Doerr on August 12, 1964.

Bob spent his life growing up in the laundry and dry cleaning business. He and his family owned and operated Thermopolis Laundry and Dry Cleaners, and with his wife Sharon operated Diamond Cleaners for over 40 years. During his later years, Bob also worked as a groundskeeper at the Wyoming Pioneer Home, as a maintenance man at the Plaza Hotel, and delivered for Airborne Express throughout the Big Horn Basin. He and his wife relocated to Texas Hill Country in 2001, both working for HEB Grocers for 10 years before returning to the family home in Thermopolis, for retirement.

Throughout his business career in Thermopolis, Bob was an active member of B.P.O. Elks #1746, Fraternal Order of Eagles 1884 Aerie, Lions Club, Rotary Club where he served as President, Kiwanis International and the Thermopolis Volunteer Fire Department, serving as Secretary, Treasurer, Captain and Assistant Chief, and was named Fireman of the Year in 1982.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sharon; daughters Teri Mills of Kiowa, Colorado, and Debbie (Mark) Zink of Fruita, Colorado; sons Robert A. Mills of Jarrell, Texas, and Michael W. (Randy) Mills of Dover, Florida; and brother Allen (Carol) Mills of Green Valley, Arizona. Grandchildren include Tiffani (Shelby) Clayburn of Duchesne, Utah; Robert j. Mills of San Angelo, Texas; Bailee (Chad) Wiesman of Midland, Texas. Great Grandchildren Addelyne and Tayson Clayburn, and McKenzee Sue Wiesman.

Extended family include sisters in-law Joanne Myers of Michigan, Betty (Bill) Noud of Thermopolis, and Tana Doerr of Nevada; and brothers in-law Joe Vaske of Minnesota, Gary McMillen of Michigan, and Michael (Barbie) Doerr of Michigan.

He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter Katie Marie and son Brandon Ray.

In accordance with Bob’s wishes, no funeral services will be held, with burial of cremains sometime in the Spring of 2020, at Monument Hill Cemetery in Thermopolis. 

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


Clarence Wendell Culbertson

Clarence Wendell Culbertson, 98, of Casper, went to meet his Lord peacefully in his sleep, February 6, 2020. He was born September 25, 1921 to Clarence and Lucille (Sheets) Culbertson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated high school in Pueblo, took Post-Graduate studies, then went 2 years to Central Bible School Springfield, Missouri.

In October of 1942, Wendell joined the Navy due to World War II. Because of some previous radio schooling, and his high entry scores, he entered the Reserves as 2nd Class Radio Technician. He served 36 months in active service. During that time, he was stationed at Treasure Island (boot camp); Oklahoma A & M at Stillwater (Radio School); Ward Island at Corpus Christi (Radar Training); Quonset Point, Rhode Island (forming Night Fighter Squadrons); and the South Pacific on numerous aircraft carriers in battle zones. He received two Presidential Unit Citations and battle ribbons with silver and bronze stars, and an Excellence Ribbon for meritorious service.

While stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 18, 1943, he married Arlene Williams. He accepted his honorable discharge as Chief Petty Officer in Virginia at the end of the war. In December 1945 he drove to Joplin, Missouri where he learned drafting skills at Joplin Junior College. Later, he re-enlisted for three more terms in the Naval Reserves with weekend warrior activities.

Moving back to Colorado, he continued his education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying engineering. He then moved to Denver where he started raising his family while working at the Rocky Mtn. Arsenal, Buckley Field in the Naval Reserve. He also worked with the contracting company that built the refinery in Commerce City for Continental Oil Co. (now Conoco). He was hired by Conoco as a refinery employee, due to his knowledge of the layout while helping to construct it.

He was approached to take a temporary job as warehouseman and engineer clerk in Conoco’s Glenrock Refinery, with an office of his own. This was during the Winter of 1949 when terrific snow drifts closed most roads and hay had to be airlifted to isolated ranches to feed the livestock. He hitched a ride with a fellow employee who wanted to check the well-being of his relative living in Glenrock. Arriving on a freshly plowed highway in the small town where many houses were still covered over their rooftops in snow drifts, he got a hotel room and started working immediately at the refinery. The refinery was due to shut down within months but remained open for seven years. Instead of moving back to Denver he provided for his family in Glenrock, including his son, Richard and daughter RheaAnn.

Wendell was transferred to the Controllers Department February of 1956 in Casper for Conoco. He had the title of Inventory & Accounting Engineer. His work with Conoco now involved much traveling throughout the Western U.S., as well as off-shore Louisiana and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska for Production and Pipelines.

Wendell worked for Conoco 36 years until he was offered an early retirement package at age 64. He then enrolled in Casper College and earned an Associate of Arts degree. He completed many oil and acrylic landscape paintings and was known for his pen-sketching, sometimes on paper cups and napkins while sitting around with friends. He used his experience in mechanical drawing, to help in the planning and construction of the Faith Assembly of God Church addition on the South Poplar as well as with the new Church building on Casper Mtn. Road. His partner and inspiration, Arlene, passed away in 2002 after they enjoyed 59 happy years of marriage.

On the following Valentine’s Day, he shared a romantic first date at a church party with Lolabee Thompson and they later married. They shared over 16 years of love and care. He enjoyed eating Lola’s wonderful pies, cakes, and fresh baked bread. They went on four cruises and often drove to Arizona, California, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington to visit family and friends. They played games and worked jigsaw puzzles and Wendell continued his art through photography and sketching. He kept his mind sharp by doing word games and Sudoku as well as regular reading. Lola and Wendell kept the practice of daily Bible study and praying together for their many family members and friends. He continued to go to church each week and had a standing date at Taco Bell.

Wendell worked with the Boy Scouts for many years, being one himself when he was young. He had been a Scoutmaster in Glenrock and in active adult leadership in the River Bend District here in Casper. He earned and received the Silver Beaver Award, as a result. He also helped in the formation and development of arts and science advancement for Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. He served as a Vice President of the Northwest Region in support of the College for nearly 20 years. He still supports the university and strongly promotes higher education.

Wendell faithfully served his church, Casper Faith Assembly of God, since 1956. He served on the church board much of the time under each pastor, since the beginning of the church. He also was actively involved with the Gideons International Bible Ministry, since 1958.

Wendell is survived by his loving wife of 16 years, Lola Culbertson; his son Richard (Donna) Culbertson and daughter RheaAnn (Garth) Crowe. Stepsons: Tom (Connie) Thompson, Larry (Brenda) Thompson, Jeff (Julie) Thompson; Stepdaughter Starla (Mike) Rockert.

Preceding Wendell in death was his first wife, Arlene Culbertson; his parents Clarence and Lucille Culbertson; his brother, Marvin Culbertson; and his sister Alta Moore.

Services will be at Casper Faith at 10 a.m., Friday February 14, 2020. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Gideons International for Bible distribution world-wide. Newcomer Funeral Home providing services. www.NewcomerCasper.com

Additional Survivorship Listing of Wendell’s loving family:

Grandchildren: Melody (Seth) Moore; Michael (Porscha) Culbertson; Jonathan (Mirjam) Culbertson; and Kevin Culbertson; Becky Wise; Garth Jr. (Ann) Crowe; Tim (Pauline) Crowe; Step-grandchildren: Lane Thompson; Seth (Corrine) Thompson; HaLee Thompson (David Forshee); Allison Blevins (Josh Hudnall); and Ashley de los Santos.


Marvin Sander

Marvin Sander passed away peacefully on January 27, 2020 at the age of 85. He was born on January 17, 1935 in Victoria, KA to Edmund and Mary Sander. He married Genevie Romero in 1954 and fathered Marva Jo, Cheryl, Allen, Dennis and David. He married Julie Marshall in 1964, the love of his life for 55 years and fathered Carrie, Deborah and Mark. They moved frequently with the drillings rigs throughout Colorado, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. Their final move was to Casper in 1977 working for Signal Drilling Company as a Field Superintendent. Signal merged of Brinkeroff of form Brinkeroff-Signal. They were bought by Grace Drilling, which was subsequently purchased by Nabors Drilling Company. In 1998 at the age of 64, Marvin started Sander Consulting and worked until he retired at the age of 71.

     Marvin was an accomplished carpenter and general all-around “handyman.” He could fix anything (cars, toasters, ect.) and built bookshelves, shop benches, and numerous household projects. He is known for a spunky sense-of-humor and storytelling. Sit with him for even just a few minutes and you were entertained with oil-field stories sprinkled with humor. He enjoyed trolling, ice fishing, hunting and bowling. He was an avid reader and self-taught petroleum and mechanical engineer. Marvin and Julie spent their early retirement years in their motor-home traversing the country attending baseball games, sight-seeing and visiting friends and family. They enjoyed playing card games and watching western classics. The Sander family includes 12 grandchildren, many great grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.

     Marvin is survived by his wife, Julie and children: Marva Jo (Steve) Mooney of Gillette; Cheryl (Tim) Moser of Loveland, CO; Allen Sander of Gillette; Dennis Sander of Walden, CO; Carrie (Troy) Dameron of Pleasanton, CA; siblings Rita Vonlintel of Hays, KA and Vera (Bob) Wear of Lewisville, TX.

     He was proceeded in death by his sister, Patty Younger of Largo, FL; children, Deborah Weant in 2013 of Cheyenne and Mark Sander in 2018 Billings, MT; grandson, Zachary Weant in 2019 of Riverton; and various uncles and aunts.

      A viewing will be held on Friday, February 7th from 5:00 to 7:00 at Bustards Funeral Home with the memorial service, also at Bustards on Saturday, February 8th at 11:00. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Marvin’s life. Julie sends a special thank-you to all the friends who have supported them both during these final years

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