Obituaries: Cardenas, McKendree, Taylor, Ridenour - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Obituaries: Cardenas, McKendree, Taylor, Ridenour

Michael K. “Mike” Cardenas

CASPER, Wyo. –

Michael K. “Mike” Cardenas: 1960 – 2021

Michael K. “Mike” Cardenas, a mentor and leader in the electrical community of Casper, Wyoming, passed away Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at the age of 61.

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Michael is survived by his wife Jean “Jeanie” Cardenas; his children, Natalia Montoya (Gabe), Nicole Stovall, Brittany Barrera (Barry), Michael Joe Cardenas (Krista), John Parrett; his siblings, Tim Cardenas, Judy Costalez; eighteen grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Michael was born in Douglas, Wyoming on February 2nd, 1960 to Michael Jose Cardenas and Camilla Cardenas. Michael graduated high school and immediately went into the electrical industry. He became the General Manager of City Service Electric where he devoted his life servicing the community of Casper.

Michael was a very caring and loving man. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, cars, football, working on his various home projects, and spending time with his family. He took great pride in being a strong foundation for both his family, and co-workers. He loved the community and had very good, strong morals. He was a man of great integrity, unquestionably honest, unparalleled work ethic, reliable, intelligent, humble, and patient. Mike treated everyone like family and often-times put others before himself. He was a great mentor, father, brother, and leader, and he will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him.

A memorial service is pending and will be posted as soon as information becomes available.


James T. “Red” McKendree, III

James T. “Red” McKendree, III: 1928 – 2021

James T. “Red” McKendree came into this world on March 12, 1928 or 1926, depending on which records you are reading. He was born in Russellville, Kentucky to J.T. and Madelean McKendree. “Sparky”, as he was affectionately known to family and friends, had a colorful life growing up in Kentucky around Moonshiners, Revenuers, Honky Tonks and Roadhouses.

When he wasn’t in school, he was working for different people in Russellville as a farm laborer, or whatever else someone might need, including his dad. His education ended after the 8th grade due to a fire at the schoolhouse. He always joked, “they had to burn the school down just to get rid of me”. They then moved to Hobart Oklahoma where he continued to work doing odd jobs, farming, or whatever someone needed to have done until he had his Mom and Dad “fudge” his birthdate so he could join the military. At 15 years of age, he served honorably in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific with the 5th Amphibious Group, during WWII. While serving his country, he signed over half of his military pay to his Mother and beloved sister “Babe” to help them get by. Sadly, his Mom passed away in 1944 while he was serving in Saipan. When he returned after her funeral, he served with the 7th Amphibious Group near New Guinea. He was in the Philippines when the war ended. He was discharged in December 1945 before he was even 18 years of age. After he returned to Oklahoma, he then hitchhiked to Wyoming, to join his father and begin the next chapter of his life.

After arriving in Wyoming, he found employment at Salt Creek Freightways in Casper, where he met his future bride, Helen Virgilio. They were married November 8th, 1947. Red then went to work for Standard Oil Company. Over roughly 36 years there, he drove almost 3 million accident free miles. That almost ended one day while hauling a load over McDonald pass in Montana when Red saw a runaway lumber truck that had lost its brakes. He quickly passed the truck on the two lane road, got in front of the runaway truck, and let his rig act as a brake. It took 4 miles before the two trucks were able to stop. There were two men in that truck, the driver and the owner of the company, and he may have saved their lives that day.

In the 70’s and 80’s there was a 55 mile per hour speed limit on all highways, which Red did not care for, but driving 58 MPH would allow him to get home without running out of hours. Standard informed him that he had to drive 55 MPH instead of 58 MPH and his reply was, “No, I don’t”, and right then he retired from Standard Oil. His love of driving trucks did not end there, as he then went to work for Richardson Trucking and later finished his career at McKendree Trucking. He completed at least 60 consecutive years of driving truck, accident free, before retiring for good.

After his retirement from Standard Oil, he and Helen became snowbirds traveling to Arizona every winter where he learned to enjoy the game of golf. At age 76, he shot a round of 76 and was very proud of that milestone game. After the death of his wife, Helen, he joined the Natrona County Veterans Council and took great pride in tending to approximately 500 funerals of veterans of all branches of service. He also enjoyed hunting for many years with his best friend and brother-in-law, Don Wing, and later enjoyed fishing with his good friend, Mike Decker on their boat “BROKUS”. James Thomas McKendree V and Matthew McKendree made Red and Helen “Grandparents” back in the 70’s. They were very proud of the boys and enjoyed weekend trips with them to their cabin in Glendo. They enjoyed their sporting events throughout school and proudly attended their high school and college graduations. Red was fortunate to have been able to travel to CO for the birth of his great grandson, James Thomas (Seamus) McKendree VI.

He was preceded in death by his Mother and Father, Sister Etta Jo, and his wife Helen. Red is survived by his son, James T. (Jim) McKendree IV and his wife Deede, Grandsons James T. (Jimmy) McKendree V and his wife Tara, Matthew C. McKendree, Great Grandson James T. (Seamus) McKendree VI, his very special sister, Madelean “Babe” Armold and her family, his companion of 6 years, Mae Pulver, numerous nieces and nephews, and several longtime friends.

Services will be held at 10:00 AM, Monday, May 10, 2021 at Newcomer Casper Chapel with Mililitary Honors conducted by the United States Navy and the Natrona County United Veterans Council. Inurnment will be held at Highland Cemetery afterwards, followed by a reception at the Firerock from 12:00 to 2:00.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Central Wyoming Hospice in Reds name.


George Taylor

George Taylor: November 10, 1943 ~ April 30, 2021 (age 77)

Jody ( George Taylor) was a Wyoming native born in Casper on November 10, 1943; to Elizabeth Taylor ( Dickey) and George Taylor. Jody passed away on April 30, 2021.

Jody spent his younger years working and playing at the Willow Creek Ranch with his 2 brothers John and Phillip, and his sister Candace. Following family tradition like his mother before him, Jody attended grade school at Willow Creek School, one of the few remaining country schools in the state.

The Taylor family moved to Casper so the kids could attend high school. Jody graduated high school from Natrona County High School in 1961. Immediately after high school Jody served in the United States Air Force. After extended educational travel; like the prodigal son, Jody returned to the Willow Creek ranch until it sold in 1996. Jody married Nancy Grierson on January 16th, 1978. They spent 44 years together; ranching and raising a family. Together they navigated a life filled with love and many twists and turns.

Jody was a man of many talents and passions, including flying, fine wood working and playing blues guitar. Following his heritage of “ flying Farmers” Jody built his own airplane for buzzing the fields and adventures galore. Engaging in his passion for playing the blues; Jody was part of the JD’S blues band. The JD’S blues band gave him a second dysfunctional family that he also loved dearly. In 1998 Jody was instrumental in forming the Wyoming Blues and Jazz society, bringing volumes of great local and national acts to the city of Casper. Jody is survived by his beautiful wife Nancy Taylor, his 3 wonderful children Isaiah, Amy and Rachel; his 3 lovely grandchildren Jack, Orion, and Rhea; his sister Candace, and 2 nephews, Grant and Gentry, 2 nieces Kelly and Heather. Jody was preceded in death by his parents Betty and George, his son Scott, and his brothers Phillip and John.

The family will hold a memorial to celebrate his life in the summer of 2021. The family would like to extend special thanks to the Costello family, Karen Ptack, Kelly Taylor, and Jody’s loyal friends Jody Murray and Bob Morris, who gave their love and support until the end. Additionally the family would like to thank the devoted team of hospice nurses.

Memorial donations can be made to Hospice and the 12-24 Club


Leon P. Ridenour

Leon P. Ridenour: December 5, 1924 ~ April 28, 2021 (age 96)

Leon P. “Tiny” Ridenour passed away peacefully, at his home, the morning of April 28, 2021 with family by his side. Leon was born December 5, 1924 in Fairbury, NE to David A. and Helen A. Ridenour. He graduated high school and Junior college before entering the U.S. Air Force during WWII, making the rank of Lance Corporal. He was honorably discharged. He then attended College at the University of Nebraska where he graduated with a degree in Architecture.

Leon went to work for Marathon Oil Co. and worked there until he retired. Retirement was short lived however. In his mid-80’s Leon went to work for Wal-Mart. He was best known as the “Greeter” at the West Wal-Mart. He worked there until his final retirement at the age of 93.

He is survived by his two nephews, John L. Ridenour of Jacksonville, FL and Richard A. Ridenour of Casper. He is also survived by many great and great-great-nieces and nephews. Leon never married.

Services were held on Friday, May 7, 2021 at Grace Lutheran Church, 315 CY Ave, in Casper at 10 a.m. Graveside services were at 11 a.m. at Highland cemetery with full Military Honors.

Arrangements are by Bustard’s Funeral Home.

Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Bustard & Jacoby Funeral Home, 600 CY Avenue, Casper, WY 82601.