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Obituaries: Mayo; McNiff; McKillip; Serna

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Jack G. Mayo

Jack G. Mayo: 1934 – 2023

Jack Mayo passed away peacefully on August 8, 2023 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jack was born in Bosco, Louisiana to Sabe and Kathrine Mayo. He was the seventh of nine children with five brothers and three sisters. With the blessing of his mother, Jack left home at the age of 16 to join the Navy in 1950. He served in the Navy for three years participating in many landing operations in support of the Korean War. After leaving the Navy in 1953 Jack settled in Minnesota to be near two of his sisters. There in White Bear Lake, Minnesota he met the love of his life Karin (Rask) Mayo. They were married in 1957 and celebrated over 65 years of marriage. They had two sons, Jack Jr and Todd.

Jack was fiercely loyal to family and friends, willing to give his time and energy at a moments notice. He had a passion for fishing with his family and rarely missed a summer weekend at the lake. He never missed a Minnesota Deer Hunting season until hanging up his blaze orange jacket in 2017.

Jack spent many years in the community of Linwood, Minnesota coaching peewee football and little league baseball. He loved watching his players grow and mature every season.

After retiring from the State of Minnesota DOT Division in Virginia, Minnesota in 1997 he and Karin moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. They enjoyed 23 years in Las Vegas while welcoming three grandchildren to the family. Jack and Karin spent every summer in Minnesota at their lake property on Portage Lake fishing and spending time with the grandkids. Jack recently welcomed his first great granddaughter and was looking forward to welcoming his first great grandson this fall.

Jack is survived by his wife Karin; his son Jack Jr. and wife Carol; son Todd; his sister Wanda; grandchildren Jami and husband Austin, Lance and wife Anna, Jeree; and great-granddaughter Joslynn.

A family celebration of life is to take place at a later date.

Peter McNiff

Peter McNiff: 1940 – 2023

Peter John Mcniff passed away peacefully at his home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Wednesday, August 9, 2023, surrounded by his family. Pete enjoyed an active and fun-filled life for 82 years. He was born August 16, 1940 in Laramie, Wyoming. His parents, Jack Daniel and Wannabelle McNiff, preceded him in death. Pete attended traditional school in Laramie, Wyoming, until High School, where he attended Rocky Mountain High School in Carbondale, Colorado. It was here that Pete became disciplined in academics and skiing. These skills followed him to the University of Wyoming, where he excelled academically and athletically. Pete was a four-sport athlete who received multiple athletic awards and proudly represented the University of Wyoming as a baseball, soccer, and track team member, but skiing and the ski team was his passion. Pete was proud to be a member of the 1960 University of Wyoming Ski Team that placed 3rd at the NCAA Championship ski races. 

After completing his undergraduate degree, Pete attended law school at the University of Wyoming. After graduating with his Juris Doctor Degree, Pete worked for the State of Wyoming Recreation Commission. He enjoyed traveling and making lifelong friends all over Wyoming and surrounding states. Eventually, Pete helped to establish the law firm Carmichael, McNiff, and Patton and enjoyed practicing law for many years. In 1994 Pete was appointed Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Wyoming. Pete loved the law, working as a Judge, and received a reappointment for an additional 14-year term in 2008. Judge Pete retired from the bench on February 28, 2015. 

Pete married the love of his life, Beth Caldwell McNiff September 2, 1967. Beth and Pete were married for 45 years and enjoyed many adventures traveling, riding motorcycles, and skiing. They had three children, Niffy McNiff Bube, John Whitaker McNiff, and Wann Caldwell McNiff. Pete and Beth enjoyed raising their family and the many friends of their children that became family because they were always hanging around the house. 

Over the years, Pete and his dear friend Randy Wagner organized many motorcycle trips throughout the United States. These trips originated on dirt bike tours of the Oregon Trail and grew and changed through the decades. Pete forged incredible friendships over many miles, adventures, and fun. 

Pete loved Cheyenne Frontier Days and volunteered on the Indian committee, PR Committee. He also served as a General chairman, announced the parade with his dear friend, Jack Speight for many years and was a silver member of the Heels. 

The Whitaker Ranch was where the family spent much of their time, and Pete enjoyed being a managing partner of this historic ranch. 

A loving husband and father, Pete’s surviving family is: Niffy (Chris Edward) McNiff Bube of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; John Whitaker McNiff of Cheyenne and Wann Caldwell McNiff of Cheyenne; grandson, Jack Warrick Bube of Steamboat Springs; wife Lorna Gay McNiff, Chicago; sister Martha Ann Johanson of Cheyenne.

A celebration of life will be held at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Events Center on August 26, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Peter’s name to the University of Wyoming.

Diane McKillip

Diane McKillip: 1947 – 2023

Diane Marie McKillip, 76, of Cheyenne, passed away on Aug. 5, 2023, at the Davis Hospice in Cheyenne.

Diane was born Diane Marie Hitchcock on Jan. 22, 1947, in Des Moines, Iowa, to Norman and Ruth (Carpenter) Hitchcock of Altoona, Iowa.

Raised in the Altoona, Iowa area, Diane attended high school at Southeast Polk High School in Altoona and earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Drake University in Des Moines.

Unafraid to pave her own way, Diane owned a women’s clothing store and managed a Hardee’s Restaurant in Manchester, Iowa. She also sold cars at the local Chrysler/Dodge and Yamaha dealership at a time when few women worked in vehicle sales. There were other entrepreneurial pursuits and she worked for many years at the International Arabian Horse Association, but she ultimately found her niche within the mortgage banking industry. Diane served as a mortgage banker until her retirement.

Throughout much of her life, Diane had a love for horses. Her favorite hobby, she spent countless hours raising, training, riding and showing her horses. She expanded upon that by becoming a certified show judge, working many northeastern Iowa and southeastern Wisconsin shows.

Later, she and Brad McKillip found their love for each other, and married August 13, 2006. She and Brad had a love for travel. Exploring paths less traveled, they visited places such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Morocco, Panama, Alaska, and elsewhere. Learning about other cultures and taking in the beauty of other parts of the world kept them planning trips well into the future.

Diane was an avid bridge player and played with the ACBL Cheyenne chapter at many regional events over the years, even serving as its president. She was an active member of Frontier United Methodist Church. She also enjoyed entertaining, camping, attending to her flower garden and watching University of Wyoming and Buffalo Bills football.

McKillip was preceded in death by her father, Norman, and mother, Ruth. She was also preceded in death by her step-fathers Glen Warren and Gene Stientjes.

She is survived by her husband, Brad McKillip, of Cheyenne; son, Jeff Goetz (Tera Brown) of Casper, Wyoming; a sister, Cindy Andrew (Alan Andrew), of Des Moines, Iowa; step-siblings: Joe Stientjes of Boulder, Colorado and Steve (Deborah) Stientjes of Loveland, Colorado.
Grandchildren include Peyton Goetz of Casper; Hannah Goetz of Shell Rock, Iowa. Stepchildren and grandchildren include stepson Brett (Martha) McKillip of Elbert, Colorado; Marlya and James Dunham of Hermit, California, and grandchildren Ben, Brentan, Jayson, Natasha and Desaray; and many great grandchildren. And her favorite little fur buddy, Moe.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Christopher Armando Serna

Christopher Armando Serna: 1988 – 2023

Our beloved father, son, grandson, brother and nephew, Christopher Armando Serna passed away on August 10, 2023

Christopher was born in Lovell, Wyoming to Priscilla (Serna) Romero on January 4, 1988.

His children were his pride and joy. He loved to spend every minute with them or call. Christopher loved to camp, fish, listen to music and help everybody.

Christopher will be missed by so many.

Christopher is survived by his loving children: Carlos, Katalina and Anastasia; his mother Priscilla (Tonu); stepfather Chris Romero; Tina (Cody) Spencer; grandmothers Catherine Ortiz and Cecilia Romero; brothers: Leon (Samantha) Romero, Marco Romero, Chris (Meghan) Valencia, Dominic Romero and Riley Forman; sister, Danielle (Danny) Gumm; Alexandria Romero and Lydia (RJ) Spencer; Cecilia (Chris) Spencer; uncles: Raul (Roxanne) Serna, Crystal (Rico) Gibson and Ed Romero; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and great-aunts and great-uncles.

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