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Obituaries: Booker; Castillo; Crofts; Engel-Pearson; Ferchen; Hayden; Kempf; Shuto; Wells; Williams

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Aaron Michael Booker

Aaron Michael Booker: 1976 – 2023

Aaron Michael Booker, 47, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, passed away on August 5, 2023. Born on January 25, 1976, in Craig, Colorado, Aaron was a loving husband, father, son, and brother. He will be deeply missed by his wife of 20 years, Courtney; his children Aleah and Brody; his mother Linda Booker; his father William (Bill) Booker; his brother Steven (Tammy) Booker; his father and mother-in-law Gary (Gerri) Luers; and his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Crystal (Shaun) Ingram.

Aaron was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, George and Ruth Lewis; and his paternal grandparents, Joseph and Josephine Booker.

Aaron was known for his kind and selfless nature, always putting others before himself. He was always the first to lend a helping hand to friends and neighbors, never hesitating to volunteer his time and skills. Aaron’s friends remember him for the countless miles of fence he helped build and the hundreds of logs he cut for firewood. An avid outdoorsman, he cherished spending his free time with loved ones, engaging in activities like riding ATVs, camping, kayaking, fishing, and hunting.

Aaron found fulfillment in his career to serving the community as an EMT and Lieutenant/Firefighter for the City of Cheyenne Fire Department. He joined the department in September 2003 and remained a committed member until his untimely passing in 2023. In addition to his firefighting duties, Aaron always maintained one or two side jobs. He built fences, worked on the ambulance service and in the ER, and even took on a role at Terminix, among other endeavors.

Aaron and his wife, Courtney, were active members of Element Church in Cheyenne. Aaron not only volunteered with the production team but also participated in providing meals for the less fortunate in the community. His faith played an important role in his life, and he found solace and strength through his involvement in the church. Aaron felt so blessed to be baptized in his home by Pastor Buz and the Element team. Aaron was humbled by the love and support God showed him through his faith family.

Aside from his professional and volunteer commitments, Aaron had a passion for outdoor pursuits. He enjoyed bow and rifle hunting for antelope, deer, and elk beside his wife, father-in-law and their “hunting family”. Aaron recently took up fishing, and found joy in kayaking and riding ATVs in the mountains as well.

He dedicated several years to volunteering with the Concessions Committee at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Aaron truly enjoyed connecting with all the vendors and helping them get the most out of the CFD experience.

Aaron took great pride in the home he and Courtney built together, from their beautiful house, garden, and shop to the serene landscaping they cultivated. Aaron spent hours and days planting trees, putting in a sprinkler system and most recently maintaining the “land” with Courtney right beside him. Aaron and Courtney had envisioned spending the rest of their lives on their cherished land.

A memorial service to honor Aaron’s life will be held on August 19, 2023, at 2:00 in the afternoon at Element Church in Cheyenne, WY. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or Firefighter Cancer Support Network in Aaron’s memory, two organizations close to Aaron’s heart.

Aaron Booker will be remembered as a kind-hearted and adventurous soul, whose dedication to his family, friends, community, and faith was unwavering. His legacy of selflessness and love will continue to inspire those who were fortunate enough to know him. May he rest in peace.

Eduardo Castillo

Eduardo Castillo: 1941 – 2023

Eduardo “Ed” Sabino Castillo passed away on Monday, August 7, 2023, surrounded by loved ones. He was born to Manual and Florence Castillo on December 31, 1941, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Ed was raised in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, with his 4 brothers (Fred, Sonny, Tom, and Pete).

Ed served in the Nebraska Army National Guard (Scottsbluff, NE) from 1961 to 1965 and worked as a local Police Officer for the Scottsbluff Police Department for six years. In the 1970s, he worked for the Union Pacific Railroad until he started his trucking career with Consolidated Freightways. In 1980, Ed moved his family to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and continued his 30+ year trucking career until he retired in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ed is survived by his children: Patricia (Rick) Westbrook, Eddie (Lyn) Castillo; Thomas (Minerva) Castillo, Jason (Danielle) Castillo, Marcus (Kaneesha) Castillo, and Samantha (Mike) Vandeventer; 24 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren (1 deceased grandchild, Michael Castillo). Also, preceded in death by his spouse, Linda Castillo; and Theresa Castillo (mother of his children); and former caregiver.

The funeral service is Friday, August 11, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Restoration Fellowship International Church at 522 Capitol Avenue, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82007. The burial will be on Saturday, August 12, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Fairview Cemetery in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Restoration Fellowship International Church at the website: https://rficheyenne.org/.

Susan K Crofts

Susan K Crofts: 1949 – 2023

Susan Kay (Harberts) Crofts, 74, passed at Cheyenne Davis Hospice after fighting a brave fight with dementia for several years. She was born June 18, 1949, in Rawlins, Wyoming, to LeRoy Wilmer Harberts and Charlotte Arlene Harberts. Susan was raised and educated in Rawlins, but later moved to Cheyenne to work for the State of Wyoming. She worked for the Wyoming Attorney General, as well as for the Wyoming Schools Facility Commission. She retired in 2015. She always had beloved dogs as part of her family.

Susan is survived by her husband C.A. “Kip” Crofts, of Cheyenne; sons Mike (Shawn) Hoffman of Wheatland and Mark (Donna) Hoffman of St. Charles, Iowa; and sister, Nancy Snively of Cheyenne. She also was blessed with seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

One grandchild, little Dallas Hoffman, sadly preceded her in death. She was also preceded in death by her parents; and her two brothers Lynn and Gary Harberts.

At her request, Susan’s remains have been cremated, and no formal services are planned. To send the family condolences please visit www.wrcfuneral.com.

Amanda Rose Engel-Pearson: 1991 – 2023

Amanda Rose Engel Pearson, 31, of Cheyenne Wyoming, passed away at Davis Hospice Center on Aug. 3, 2023, surrounded by her loved ones.

She was born on November 1,1991, in Great Bend, Kansas to Jacquelyn McKim and John Engel.

Amanda was a smart and funny girl, she loved to be around her friends and family. She loved cracking jokes and making everyone laugh (she was the comedian in the family). She was a food enthusiast that dreamed of owning her own food truck someday. But most of all Amanda had a huge heart and loved hard, she made an impact on anyone’s life she ever encountered.

She is survived by – Jax and Eden Pearson (son and daughter); Jacquelyn Serevicz-McKim (mother); John Engel (father); Leslie Strong (sister); Jordan Shutt (sister); Emily Engel (sister); Becky Polcyn (grandmother); Katie McKim (grandmother); Beverly Engel (grandmother); Ellyana Pearson and JaeLynn Shutt (nieces); Jeremiah Shutt (nephew); and by cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Amanda was preceded in death by – John McKim (grandfather); Dick Engel (grandfather); great-grandmothers; and great-grandfathers.

Karen Ferchen

Karen Ferchen: 1944 – 2023

Karen Ferchen passed away at home on August 5, 2023 in Cheyenne. She was with her husband, Duane, and son, Matt.

Karen and Duane had been married 58 years, having first fallen in love in their nearby hometowns in western New York. Family lore has it that Karen and Duane were dating each other’s best friends and one evening on a double date Duane reached under the table and grabbed Karen’s hand. While Karen and Duane’s relationship would thrive for nearly six decades after their marriage in 1965, those other friendships were a bit less long-lived.

Karen and Duane first lived in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and eventually moved to Conrad and then Missoula, Montana. In Conrad, Karen gave birth to three children, Matt and the twins Debbie and Nora. Born prematurely, Nora died at birth and Debbie was developmentally delayed. But the whole family pitched in with Debbie’s care and Karen became devoted to special needs education not just for Debbie but eventually for children in every community in which she lived. Second maybe only to Debbie, Karen was also widely and affectionately known as a world-class hugger.

Karen, Duane, Matt and Debbie moved to Cheyenne in 1983. Shortly after, in 1985, Karen joined STRIDE learning center, a preschool devoted to children with special needs. At STRIDE, Karen did a little bit of everything, from writing grants to making sure the pantry was well stocked. She loved her time with the children, their families, and her devoted co-workers. Karen was especially fond of helping organize the annual STRIDE Ride charitable event, Harleys and all.

Throughout her partnership with Duane, Karen also wore the hat of pastor’s wife. Karen was always supportive of Duane and his pastoral ministry, including attendance at many a Scandinavian Lutheran-style potluck with their various casseroles. But she was also an active leader in many charitable and community activities supported by the church congregations she and Duane served. In Cheyenne, Karen was devoted to the congregations and their missions at Ascension Lutheran Church and Highlands Presbyterian Church, where she always had her favorite spot in her favorite pew. When her lungs were still healthy, no one sang hymns with more gusto than Karen. And after Duane retired and had taken an interim position in Billings, Montana, Karen took many an overnight Greyhound bus trip up to support and be with him.

Before she herself retired, Karen had already become quite a world traveler. It began with some family trips to Scotland and England, then tours with Duane to Germany and the Baltics, including to St. Petersburg, Russia. When her son Matt decided to pursue educational and career opportunities abroad, including in China, Karen was deeply supportive.  Karen and Duane visited Matt in China in 2001 and then Karen came again to travel with Matt to China and Japan in 2016. Karen loved to tell the story of how on a kayak trip on her first visit to China she somehow managed to sink the kayak. The next day, already missing a shoe from the kayak incident, Karen went in flip-flops with Matt for an overly ambitious cave expedition.

Even after her friends had to back out of their plans to join Karen in China to teach English for a month and Matt had to attend a conference, she stayed on her own and had a wonderful experience with the students. And of course she squeezed in as many hugs as she could, with the students quickly adapting to her infectious kindness. Also while on her own teaching in China, Karen befriended an American couple on holiday; it turned out it was the US military attaché to China and his wife who were getting a breather after tense negotiations over a mid-air collision of US and Chinese jets. The couple told Karen they would look out for Matt in Beijing and even invited him for Christmas dinner that year. As a result of these travels, and of Matt’s prodigious gift buying, Karen also became a bit of a fashion plate with her many colorful outfits, bags and purses from around the world. She proudly wore those on every occasion she could and was happy to tell the story of each and every item.

After retiring from STRIDE, Karen devoted herself to volunteering at Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne. There, she enjoyed cooking for patients and speaking with them about their life stories. She also led bereavement groups and spoke for hours on the phone with family members about their loved ones. Building on her own experiences grieving for her daughters Nora, and later Debbie, but also on seemingly endless sense of both empathy and sympathy, volunteering at Hospice was a near perfect fit for Karen and everyone she met there.

Even when she herself became ill with a lung disease known as MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex) and deeply regretted no longer being able to volunteer at Davis, Karen was as devoted as ever to speaking with or writing cards to her family and friends. Even amidst her own health struggles, she would spend much of her day writing handwritten notes of support or sympathy on carefully chosen stationary. Karen’s love and friendship to so many throughout the years was also returned in ways small and large, including by her devoted nephew and niece Dave and Lori Taylor and the many friends and family members who supported and cared for her when she needed it the most. Karen loved to look at the watercolor paintings that her daughter-in-law, Wen, sent regularly to cheer Karen’s day. And throughout her life, nothing brought Karen more joy than the hours-long, laughter-filled talks with her sister Nora. No matter who it was, though, the thing Karen always looked forward to the most was a big old hug.

Karen will be remembered as someone who loved unconditionally and gave more to this world than she took. She will be deeply missed.

Bob I Hayden

Bob I. Hayden: 1939 – 2023

Robert Irvin Hayden, 84, of Cheyenne, passed away Aug. 8 after an unexpected bout of cancer. He passed at his home surrounded by his family. He was born 7/27/1939 in Denver, Colorado to Sam and Edna Hayden, where he was one of thirteen children. The family moved to Laramie where Bob graduated from Laramie High School class of 1957. He was All-State Football, Basketball and Track. Bob attended Abilene Christian College and returned home to Laramie where he married is wife of 62 years, Linda Woods. After living in Salt Lake and Relience, Wyoming, they settled in Cheyenne with their four children; Tracy, Preston, Tanya, and Kerri.

Bob retired as a licensed electrician from Frontier Refinery in 1999. He was a life long member of the Church of Christ, Airport Golf and Trap Clubs, and IBEW local 415. Bob was quite the athlete and later in life, he spent a lot of his time at the family lake house; swimming, boating and listening to music. He enjoyed traveling and one of his best memories was taking a family vacation to the Dominican Republic. He was always fascinated with the stars and was over joyed when he was able to witness the solar eclipse from our boat in the middle of the family lake. He was an avid supporter of his grandkids activities and he and Linda would travel the state to watch them. He loved all genres of music and would share that passion with his family. He enjoyed watching some of his favorite movies and musicals which included Fiddler on the Roof, Carmen Jones and the comedy, The Jerk. Bob held a knowledge for all sports and enjoyed following the Wyoming Cowboys.

He is survived by his wife, Linda; children, Tracy (Joe) Williams, Preston Hayden, Tanya (Jeff) Jones, Kerri (John) Bates all of Cheyenne. Bob had 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren along with one sister, Mary Kay Franklin of Grand Junction; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be all his grandsons: Jordan Williams, Hayden, Hunter and Ryder Jones, Wade, Brock and Braylin Hayden, and Slater Bates. Honorary Pallbearers are Frank Brazzale, Ric Chappell, and Ken Wolf.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in “Bob Hayden’s Memory” to Meals on Wheels or Cheyenne Church of Christ building modification fund.

Services will be on Monday, August 14, at 10:30 a.m., at Cheyenne Church of Christ, with a reception to follow at the church.

Betty Kempf

Betty Kempf: 1943 – 2023

Betty L. Kempf of Cheyenne, Wyoming, died peacefully at Davis Hospice Center on August 6, 2023, at the age of 79. She passed away on the same day Ted Kempf did 4 years earlier. We really appreciate the care and compassion shown by each staff member at the Davis Hospice Center!

Betty was born on October 12,1943, and raised by her adoptive parents, Hugh and Ernistine Andrews in Tecumseh, Michigan. She grew up the youngest of three, and she credited her early life for instilling a sense of love and caretaking in her. After graduating from Tecumseh high school in 1960, Betty married her first husband and high school sweetheart, Ted Kempf, in 1961 and they settled down in Lincoln, Nebraska where Ted started his Air Force career. They had four children: Tony, Gary, Kitty and David. After the two divorced in 1986, Betty met and married Fritz Hamill in 1986, with whom they would have a blended family: Donna, Diana, Donald, Tommy, Steve, Terry, Kelly, Jimmy, Fritzi, Randy, Darvin, and Melissa.

As Betty’s family grew, she spent time helping run their trucking company, she enjoyed church, football, family, and a lot of special friends she made along the way.

Betty is survived by her sixteen children and their spouses; grandchildren: Kayla, Nichole, Kaly, Mady, Michael, Cameron, Travis, Dillon, Lillian, Ashley, Hannah, Kassi, and Tiffany; great-grandchildren Ember, Elliott, Hailey, Gracie, and Boston; her brother Dean and sister Linda. She is preceded in death by her beloved husbands, Ted and Fritz; and adoptive parents Hugh and Ernistine.

The public is welcome to a celebration of life at Meadowbrook Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming on Saturday, August 12, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The family requests celebration of life attendees wear red in honor of Betty’s favorite color. Flowers and condolences are welcome.

Carrie L Shuto: 1957 – 2023

Mother and healthcare worker Carrie Lynn Shuto had a love of people and animals that served as an inspiration to her family and friends.  She passed away quietly at her home after a courageous and lengthy battle with cancer on Monday July 31, 2023.

Carrie was born and raised in Lincoln Nebraska.  She graduated from Lincoln High School in Lincoln in 1975.  She went on to serve in the U. S. Air Force and trained as a medical technician. Her training led her to work in a mental health and rehabilitation center for youth and adults where she helped many children and adults. She was always a coach and teacher. Carrie also worked at the Humane Society as a veterinary assistant.

Carrie’s strength of character could be seen in the kindnesses she did for others. She would willingly give advice to solve any problem.  Carrie was a fixer and could repair anyone and anything.  If she didn’t have an answer, she would research to find it.  Carrie was a competent seamstress and knitter.  She made beautiful clothing and Afghans.  Carrie loved plants, rocks, jewelry, and crafts of all types. She loved horses and would ride whenever she had the opportunity.  Dogs were always a part of Carrie’s family.  She was especially fond of Koji, her current Shih Tzu pup.  If it were possible to measure one’s compassion by light shone to others, Carrie’s light would be eternal.

Carrie is survived by her husband Gale T. Shuto who shared a marriage of six years and lived in Cheyenne Wyoming.  Her son, James McConnell with partner Natasha and stepson Keegan reside in Manilla Iowa. She is survived by sisters Laurie (husband Rich), Janette (husband Gene), Stephanie (Husband Peter); step-mother Judie Svoboda; stepsister Angela (husband Bob); and many cousins.

She is preceded in death by daughter Tina Dishong, and father Ward Svoboda; mother, Mary Svoboda; grandparents Lillian and Paul Jacobs; and Margaret and Edward Svoboda.

Please donate to the humane society or plant a tree in Carrie’s name.

Barbara S Wells

Barbara S. Wells: 1929 – 2023

Barbara S. Wells, a beloved and remarkable woman, passed away on August 7, 2023, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be cherished. She was born on September 11, 1929, and her time on earth was filled with love, dedication, and a zest for life.

Barbara had an impressive career that spanned several decades. Even at the age of 86, she continued to work tirelessly. She spent 25 years at the Maryville Tennessee Goodwill, making a positive impact on countless lives. Before that, she dedicated her skills to Normac International. At the start of her working career, she crafted exquisite suit jackets for Wyn Industries and had the incredible opportunity to make suits for the legendary Johnny Carson himself.

Barbara spent most of her life in Tennessee and that is where she attended school. Although she did not complete her diploma due to starting a family, it never hindered her thirst for knowledge and productivity. Barbara was incredibly knowledgeable and skillful in various aspects of life.

Her vibrant personality touched the hearts of everyone she encountered. Among those dear to her were her Uncle Roy and her father, whom she considered her heroes. Her father served as a Police Chief in Knoxville, and Barbara’s admiration and pride for him knew no bounds. Similarly, Uncle Roy’s influence, strength, and kindness left an indelible mark on her life.

Family was always paramount in Barbara’s world. In the last months of her life when recognition became difficult, she found solace in the presence of her great-grandchildren Steven Wilson and Victoria Lynn Wilson. They were among the few people that Barbara continued to know till the end. Her family illuminated her life in ways words fail to capture.

Barbara’s loved ones are eternally grateful for the time they shared with her. She leaves behind a host of cherished memories for each member of her surviving family: daughters Lannie J. Ellis and Carla Jenne Brown; son Michael Edward Coppock; granddaughter Jessica Wilson; grandsons Chris Brown and Bill Brown; granddaughters Nikki and Rose; grandson Michael David; and numerous great-grandchildren who held a special place in Barbara’s heart.

She was preceded in death by her sweet son Jack Earl Coppock; only with her for one month before passing of a childhood disease. She also lost her father Albert Lee Spears; her mother, Jessie Mae Brewer; her brother, Jack Arnold Spears; and her uncle, Roy Taylor Spears. Her beloved husband Henry C. Wells also preceded her in death.

Barbara found joy and fulfillment outside of work and family through her talents and hobbies. She was an avid seamstress who possessed a knack for sewing, embroidery, and crochet. The intricate designs she created were testaments to her creativity and meticulous attention to detail.

It is important to mention that Barbara’s daughter Lannie’s service in the Air Force brought her to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and in 2015 Barbara was able to join her. The love for her daughter was so immense that Barbara embarked on this new chapter in her life to be closer to Lannie.

Barbara S. Wells will always be remembered as a strong, resilient woman who lived life with unwavering determination and a compassionate spirit. Her legacy will continue to inspire those who were fortunate enough to know her. She touched countless lives with her kindness, warmth, and unwavering love for family.

As we bid farewell to Barbara, let us celebrate the extraordinary life she led and the profound impact she made on our lives. She may no longer be physically present with us, but her spirit will forever shine bright in our hearts. Services will take place in Koxville Tennessee at Rose Mortuary and her final resting place will beside her beloved husband Henry in Sherwood Memorial Gardens. Please send flowers to the funeral home in Tennessee. The date and time of the services will follow.

In loving memory of Barbara S. Wells,
May her soul rest in eternal peace.

Carleton Wayne Williams

Carleton Wayne Williams: 1937 – 2023

Carleton Walter Williams, 86, of Cheyenne, passed away on August 3, 2023, at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado. He was born on April 10. 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska to William and Josephine Ingalls Williams.

He graduated from Boystown in 1955, where he excelled in swimming and won numerous awards for diving. He liked most sports and became the Nebraska Cornhusker #1 fan throughout his life. Carleton was a truck driver for Yellow Freight, Ringsley, and Consolidated Freightways over the years.

He is survived by his wife Betty; sisters Judy Cooley and Ruth Malone; sons James, Ronald, and Kevin Williams; daughter Lori Howell; nine grandchildren; and many great-grandchildren.

Carleton was preceded in death by a sister Marlene Sambasile.

To order flowers, please visit www.theprairierose.net.