Over 3,830,830 readers this year!

Obituaries: Burris III, VanDerWilt, Waldock

Leon Pennington Burris, III

Leon Pennington Burris, III: 1934 – 2022

Leon Pennington (Penn) Burris, III of Casper, passed away Monday, April 25, 2022, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was a warm, gentle man with a big heart.

Born Oct. 14, 1934, in Falls City, Nebraska, to Jean Lord and Leon P. Burris Jr. Soon afterwards, the family moved to Grand Junction, Colorado, where he spent his childhood and developed a love for the area and the outdoors, skiing in particular.

After high school Penn moved to the Colorado front range, attending the University of Colorado-Boulder and then the University of Denver, where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Penn was a loving and doting husband to Donna June Bailey, also from Grand Junction, Colorado. Though both having been raised in Grand Junction, Colorado, they did not date in those early days. On April 21, 1957, Penn read an article in the local Denver newspaper about a Frontier Airline DC3 airplane that struck the side of a mountain and lost 12 feet of the wing — the pilots had managed to hobble the mangled aircraft to the airport and a safe landing, saving all aboard. Donna was a flight attendant on that flight and her image was prominently displayed in the newspaper’s cover. Penn knew immediately she was on the one for him. He tracked her down and they began dating. Two years later, on May 23, 1959, they were married.

Drafted into the U.S. Army, Penn and Donna moved around quite a bit until eventually landing in Cheyenne, Wyoming, only for Penn to be recalled to the Army a second time as the Berlin Wall crisis began. After his second release from military duty the family, now including a daughter, set roots in Casper, Wyoming, where the family grew over the years with two more children, another daughter and a son.

Penn worked for a number of oil field companies during his years in Casper, starting Burris Oil in the late 1960’s as a distributor for Texaco Oil, later becoming the president of the National Oil Jobbers Association, and eventually selling his oil company in the early 1980’s to focus on commercial real estate development.

Civic service was a very important to Penn, and he was very active in Kiwanis International, the Special Olympics and the Wyoming Reads program — helping expand kids to books and regularly reading to children.

The passion for skiing never waned and he passed that joy of adventure down to his children — the family was a regular fixture at Hogadon Ski Area. Penn and Donna enjoyed travel a great deal, visiting far flung destination in Africa, Europe, South America but his favorite was always Scotland.

He is survived by his wife, Donna Burris of Casper and three children: Whitney Burris of Denver, Colorado, Courtney (Burris) and John Suranyi of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and L. Penn Burris, IV and Jennifer Malone of Golden, Colorado. He is also survived by five grandchildren and one great grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his parents Jean Lord Burris and Leon P. Burris, Jr. — Casper, Wyoming.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be mailed to Wyoming Reads, 1560 S. Walnut Street, Casper, Wyoming, 82601. This was one of Penn’s true joys.


Julia Elizabeth Weinrich VanDerWilt

Julia Elizabeth Weinrich VanDerWilt: 1946 – 2022

Julia was born on April 21, 1946 to Mamie and Ed Fesperman in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  

In 1962, Julia met her first husband, Jim Weinrich, while he was stationed at Fort Bragg. They were married on May 15, 1962 and made their home in Casper, Wyoming. Julia was quickly welcomed into the Weinrich family and remained a beloved member of the family even after their divorce. During their marriage, Jim and Julia welcomed two children, JR and Tina. Her children were the greatest love of her life. 

Initially, Julia worked in the Oil and Gas Industry until she realized her passion for Cosmetology. She obtained her Cosmetology license and opened Four Seasons Salon in 1974. She often dreamed of working for Redken and even stated while passing the Redken headquarters during a family vacation that she would one day make that dream a reality, which she did. In 1983, Julia accepted a position with Redken Laboratories and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Julia loved working for Redken and eventually became an Education Event Manager for the company. She was described by many colleagues as genuine, passionate, always smiling and, above all, classy. Her shoes matched her purse; she always dressed for success and was even referred to as Ms. Redken herself.  

The year 1983 was full of many wonderful occasions for Julia. Not only did she begin the career of her dreams, but she also met the man she would later marry and spend the next 40 years with.  

Jim VanDerWilt and Julia married on August 12, 1995. They made their home in Denver, Colorado, but split their time between Denver and their lake home in Minnesota.  

Jim and Julia’s time at the lake was spent with family and friends on the water, and their time in Denver was spent antiquing and tending to their garden, tomato plants and Julia’s favorite flowers, roses. Many wonderful memories were made at their lake home, which made the decision to sell it in 2016 a difficult one, but they did so and became snowbirds. From then on, they split their time between Denver and Arizona. Julia loved Arizona, where she could be seen driving her red Ford Mustang and spending time with her friends Marge and Linda.

Julia gained her wings in her Arizona home on April 2, 2022, with her family at her side after fighting a fearless battle with cancer. When Julia was diagnosed with cancer, she was given a six-month window to live. However, she said she wasn’t a quitter, and she fought with grace and sass for nine months. Her favorite song, “My Way,” would become her legacy, because even in sickness, she did it her way.  

She is deeply missed by her family and friends.  

She is survived by her husband Jim VanDerWilt; her children JR (Suzanne) Weinrich, Tina (John) Hunsicker, and Brian VanDerWilt; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.  

She was preceded in death by Robert and Lorene Weinrich, Thomas and Julie Weinrich, Erving and Tillie VanDerWilt, Calvin VanDerWilt, Marla VanDerWilt, Sheryl Noreen, Bill and Sarah Shaffer, and Casey and Mamie Kaukluck.

In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you donate to the Breast Cancer or Lung Cancer Foundation of your choosing in Julia’s name.  

A celebration of life will be held July 2, 2022 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at VFW Post 9439, located at 1800 Bryan Stock Trail in Casper, Wyoming.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full, I traveled each and every highway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way” — Frank Sinatra.


Karan Ray Waldock

Karan Ray Waldock: 1946 – 2022

Karan Waldock, 76, passed from Earth to her heavenly Father’s arms on May 10, 2022.

She was doing what she loved, preparing her backyard for the summer season as she looked forward to countless gatherings with her family and friends.  

Karan was born March 12, 1946 in Bakersfield, California during an earthquake…the earth was shaking when Karan was born. She was born to Fritz (Jack) and Bonita Adams. Karan’s dad worked in the oilfield and they bounced from town to town until they finally ended up in Gillette, Wyoming, where Karan graduated high school. 

Karan continued her education at Casper College. It was during this time she met the love of her life, her forever companion and friend, Mike Waldock. On June 26, 1965, Mike married Karan in Casper, Wyoming. They had two children, Stacy Murphy (J.D.) and Matthew Waldock (Chris).

Mike and Karan were happily married for 54 years. Mike preceded her in death in October 2019. 

Karan spent the majority of her married life as a homemaker raising Matt and Stacy. She loved every part of being their mom, and they often arrived home from school with fresh-baked cookies and a hot homemade meal. Dinner was spent around the table discussing the day’s events.

Karan has three grandchildren, Mariah, Christian and River; a great-grandson, Remington; and a great-granddaughter, Delilah, who was the light of her life. She adored them and they loved their Mimi. She would often be caught telling them she loved them more!

She loved and served the Lord all her days. Karan lived by the motto “Choose Joy.” Joy for life, family, and God. The word “joy” could be found everywhere in her home. She brought “joy” to all in her life.

We will miss her the rest of our days, until we meet again. Knowing she is with Mike and our heavenly Father brings us great comfort. Services will be held on Monday, May 16 at 10:30 at Bethel Baptist.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to P.E.O., which Karan was part of. It is a philanthropic educational organization whose mission is to educate women through loans, grants, and scholarships. Write checks payable to:

P.E.O. International 
Dyann Durst
6655 Westland Road
Casper, WY 82604

Related