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Obituaries: Govig; McConnaughey; Norman; Oestringer; Phillips; Stephens

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RuthAnn Ward Govig

RuthAnn Ward Govig: 1948 – 2023

With profound sadness we announce the passing of RuthAnn, our loving and devoted wife, mother, grandma, great grandma and friend to all whose lives she touched, on November 18, 2023.

She passed away peacefully at Cheyenne Regional Medical Hospital due to reoccurring medical conditions that were beyond her control.

RuthAnn was born on December 5, 1948 in Sacramento, California to now deceased Margaret Mary Johnston and Kenneth Shelby Ward.

RuthAnn’s life changed in August 1969 by peeking around the corner eyeing Ralph Govig at Beale AFB in the flight line cafeteria. That romance lead her to becoming a beautiful bride on December 5, 1969.

RuthAnn was an amazing wife, mother, grand/great-mother. She was very strong willed, compassionate, always took care of her family 1st and cared deeply. RuthAnn also wrote her own rules and never stopped believing what she thought was important.

RuthAnn was a homemaker and dabbled into almost any craft possible. Sewing her’s and her children’s clothes for school till we decided it wasn’t cool enough. In her earlier years she really enjoyed the,“Kings of the Road,” camping group ladies as they always were crafting, knitting, crocheting, quilting or painting something fun. Later in life she was able to spend time with her sister Judy. She cherished her time crafting and just being with her. She loved quilting and doing projects that might seem difficult to most.
She had a soft heart for animals and the Hallmark Channel. She loved her soap operas and spent evenings watching Wheel of Fortune and HGTV.

We will miss her appled cheeks, bright eyes, iconic little laugh and the occasional goose that would surprise someone who would standing near her. Someone she knew of course! Also her amazing chocolate chip cookies and yummy chocolate cake frosting.

RuthAnn is survived by her husband, Ralph L. Govig; daughters, Wendy A. Govig and Nicole A. Fitzgerald (Chad); grandchildren: Zachary N. Allen, Brianna R. Govig, Jessey M. Govig (Michelle) and Donavan T. Govig; brothers, Shelby Kenneth Ward (Jeannie) and William Thomas Ward (Cindy); sisters, Judy Lee Smith(Jr) and Nancy Thomson(Bob); plus three great grandchildren; and her many nephews and nieces. All of these she loved greatly.

Although so sudden, we’ll rejoice your life knowing you are free of pain and suffering and being embraced by the arms of God.

No services at this time. The family will gather in the summer when it’s warmer.

Joann Madeline McConnaughey

Joann Madeline McConnaughey: 1930 – 2023

Joann M. McConnaughey, 93, passed away November 16, 2023, at Life Care Center of Cheyenne. She was born to Edward F. Small and Helen M. Small (Martin) on June 16, 1930, in Laramie, Wyoming. She grew up in Laramie – 3rd generation. She was always the tallest one in class. 1st grade she was “grandaddy long legs” which improved to “The Tall Small” which she was known as all through school.

Surprisingly, she was never a tomboy – did the girl things. Grew up in the Shirley Temple era – so everyone wanted a cute little Shirley Temple so she took dancing lessons, but music was never her strong suit – she was the one that they told to stand in the back row and move your mouth.

Joann always liked school which was always fairly easy. She had a friend whose mother thought she ought to make her summers “useful” so Joann would take some summer school classes with her. Then, her sophomore year in high school she was complaining about how boring high school was and her friend’s mother said, “well why don’t you go to college, and I thought, “why not”!! She had extra credits here and there and she figured she could do it if she went to summer school in Boulder, so she took off that summer and went to Boulder – stayed in a boarding house and entered college that fall. It was a great idea, but the timing was lousy. It was 1946! All the vets were coming home from WWII and heading to college on the GI Bill.

The size of the University of Wyoming doubled in size. The size of the classes the housing facilities and the student body was older. She enrolled in Pre Med II – a snap course. Well, If she thought she didn’t “fit in” in high school she really had to scramble to keep her head above water at college.

She graduated at age 19 from Pre Med- but all the Medical Schools were scrambling with all the big influx of students, so she didn’t get to med school!! Well, that was ok, she have been working at Ivinson Hospital as a Med Lab tech and then they needed an X ray tech, so she become their X-ray department.

Well, that fall a cute, smart, funny fella started working as a surgical orderly. They got to know each other working on call with accidents, etc, etc. They went to a Christmas hospital party and we were married on Maundy Thurs that following year.

Her husband, John (Jack) McConnaughey, was a college junior, in ROTC and the Korean War was in full swing so they figured he would be called up as soon as he graduated so they might as well get married then rather than waiting.

Being Jack’s wife was the beginning of her education. He taught her history, geography, photography, wood working, social concerns, jewelry making, languages Japanese and Thai, and she taught him the Episcopal Church. Joann was a lifelong member of the Episcopal church, serving on altar guild for over 50 years.

Jack was stationed in Tennessee at Middle Tennessee State University for four years and where they both got master’s degrees but more importantly they were able to adopt two children John (Jay) and Janet. They taught us how to be parents.

With Jack in the Army, they moved often, 19 times in 20 years. It’s not like living in the same neighborhood all your life. They were each others first friend. They loved to dance, travel, be together, take chances together, enjoyed sports.

Joann was preceded in death by her husband of 48 years, John (Jack) McConnaughey; son, John (Jay) McConnaughey; her parents; brother and sister-in-law, Martin and Loretta Small; brother-in-law, George (Flip) McConnaughey; and nephew, Martin H. Small.

Joann is survived by her daughter, Janet McConnaughey of Laramie; sister-in-law, Shelia McConnaughey of Casper; nieces: Margaret (Meg) Small of Fort Collins, Sarah (Ryan) Larsen of Evansville; nephew, Jeff (Jen) McConnaughey; many cousins; great nephews; and nieces.

In lieu of flowers, contribution may be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Cheyenne or St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral in Laramie.

Mary R. Norman

Mary R. Norman: 1946 – 2023

Mary R. Norman of Cheyenne passed away on November 15, 2023 at Davis Hospice Center surrounded by love. Mary Was born on June 6, 1946 in Bakersfield California to parents Jack and Bertha Norman.

Mary was a hairstylist by trade for over 40 years, touching the lives of anyone who sat in her chair. Mary also spent many years as a “lunch lady” at East High school where she touched the lives of everyone she engaged with.

Mary was an avid outdoorsman spending most her free time camping, fishing and, cheering at the local racetrack. Creating life-long memories with those who were fortunate to sit next to her along the banks of a lake. Mary had a radiant smile and spent numerous hours with her friends playing Bunco.

Mary was mentored throughout her adult life by Doris Miller; a mother figure and lifelong friend. Mary was the mother to four sons: Ron Sopr (Tasha), John Sopr (Linda), Mike Sopr (Sybil), Mark Sopr (Vicki). However, Mary held a special place in her heart for her grandchildren: Ashley Hammar (Tom), Brittany Mcdonagh (Sean), Rhianna Herrera ( Abraham), Danielle Orr (Colby), Braden Sopr, Abby Gillis (Ezra), Emma Sopr. Mary was also blessed with seven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother, Ed Norman; and numerous aunts; uncles; and cousins.

Mary was preceded in death by both parents, Jack and Bertha; dear sister, Beulah; and beloved great-nephew, Russell.

Russell Edmund Oestringer

Russell Edmund Oestringer: 1936 – 2023

Russell Edmund Oestringer, 87, of Cheyenne, died on November 16, 2023 in Cheyenne.
He was born on August 28, 1936 in Highland, Illinois.

Russ retired from the United States Navy after 23 years of service at the rank of Chief Petty Officer and enjoyed a second retirement from Darigold in Washington State. Russ grew up on a farm in Illinois and enjoyed helping various people combine their crops in his retirement. He was an avid competitive shooter for over 50 years, and very serious about doing custom ammo reloading for himself and others. Over the years, he volunteered at the CFD Old West Museum, as well as at the Historic Governor’s Mansion beside his beloved wife, Joy Oestringer. Just this year he received his 50 year certificate for being a member of the Fleet Reserve, of which he was very proud of.

Russ is survived by his sister, Louise Nobbe, who resides in Missouri; his son, Scott Oestringer who resides in Michigan; his daughter, Lori Hubbs who resides in Wyoming; and his grandsons: Johnathan Oestringer in Michigan, as well as Jacob Hubbs and Luke Hubbs, both serving in the United States Navy in Florida.
Russ was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Joybell Oestringer; his mother, Mildred Oestringer; and his father, Edmund Oestringer.

Full Military Honors Services will be held at the Cheyenne National Cemetery in 2024.
Russell will be laid to rest next to his beloved wife Joybell Oestringer former United States Navy.

Gregory Duane “Greg” Phillips

Gregory Duane “Greg” Phillips: 1959 – 2023

Gregory Duane “Greg” Phillips, 64, of Pine Bluffs, died on November 18, 2023 in Pine Bluffs.
He was born on October 4, 1959 in San Antonio, Texas.

Greg was a man of many talents. He was a tile & stone setter, cattle rancher, crop sprayer, landlord, worked on airplanes (fabric covering & painting), restored juke boxes, and covered pool tables. Greg loved his dogs, and enjoyed hunting, bowling, cruising backroads, talking to friends and family, reading, and watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee.

He is survived by his daughter, Haley Rider (Dylln Rider) and grandson, Lincoln Rider; brother, Shawn Phillips; sister, Amy Peper (Wes Peper); mother, Dorothy Sutton and stepfather Delbert Sutton; and stepdaughter, Andrea Bryant (Rob Bryant) and stepsons Ryan Sanders and Christofer Mossberg.
Greg was preceded in death by his father, Larry Phillips; and his wife, Judy Phillips.

Services will be Saturday, 2:00 p.m., at Wiederspahn-Radomsky Chapel with a reception to follow at The Gathering Place.

H.A. “Steve” Stephens

H.A. “Steve” Stephens: 1930 – 2023

H.A. “Steve” Stephens, of Cheyenne passed away on November 17, 2023 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was born on September 16, 1930 in Rule Texas. He was from a family of six siblings. He had four brothers, Robert, Royce, Lynn, Eddie, and two sisters Gloria and Wanda June. His father Fred Hill Stephens worked as a butcher and his mother Maureen worked as a homemaker and later ran a small cafe. Maureen was known to bake delicious pies for her customers and the family, and thus Steve always loved her Pecan pie.

Steve graduated From High School in Benjamin Texas in 1948. Steve played basketball and football for Benjamin High.  Steve later attended Laramie County Community College on the G.I. Bill. He made the presidents honor roll every semester.

Steve worked a variety of jobs after high school, working as an auto mechanic at his best friend (“Flat Head Hirtle) father’s gas station, a stint at a grain elevator loading rail cars and as a yard clerk for the Sante Fe railroad.

Steve enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in Abilene Texas on October 19, 1950 and served  20 years until retiring on November 30 1970  as  Senior Master Sargent E-8 at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne. Steve was assigned to Air Bases in Abilene, Texas, Biloxi, Mississippi, Fairbanks, Alaska, Long Island, New York, Macon, Georgia, Honolulu Hawaii, and Cheyenne Wyoming. In April of 1970 Steve received notice that he was being re-assigned to Thailand for a tour. He felt the family had moved enough in those 20 years and decided it was time to retire from the Service. He received an honorable discharge in November of 1970. Sargent Stephens was the Base Sargent Major and the Chief of the 90th Strategic Missile Wing Administrative Office. While in the service Steve was awarded many Commendations, The Air Force good conduct medal, Outstanding Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Longevity Service Award, Small arms Expert Marksmanship Award, The Military Commendation Medal were a few of the many.

On December 1 1970 Steve went to work at Warren Federal Credit Union as a Loan Officer. After he spent 22 years at the credit union, Steve retired as the Vice President on December 31, 1992. He was 62 years old. Steve spent many years working and running the credit union with then President Shirley Howard. After his retirement from the credit union Steve spent 15 years on the Board of Directors.

While stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi he met Vivian Glass at an Air Base civil service office and was introduced to her twin sister Adelaide. That introduction led to a lifetime of travels and memories for the twins Adel and Vivian and their husbands Steve and Ray.

Steve married Adelaide E. Glass on November 6, 1954 in Jackson, Mississippi.

Steve and Adel have two sons, James A. Stephens, and Wife (Laura), and Douglas G. Stephens both of Cheyenne and one daughter Marlo D. Baumruk,  and Husband (Troy) of Windsor Colorado.

Steve and Adel have three granddaughters: Delaney Baumruk, Stacie Morrison and her husband Jake, Stefanie Milam and her husband David.

Steve has four great-grandsons: Lincoln, Lachlan, Colton, and Carter who always brought smiles to his face.

Steve was a hard worker throughout his life, but once he retired from his second career, he started helping Adel at home and working in his yard. He loved to landscape his yard with beautiful flowers trees and shrubs. Adel spent most of her life taking care of the home and helping with the grandchildren and working in the kitchen.  When Steve finally retired, adel retired from the kitchen. Steve then took over most of the kitchen duties. Some of Steve’s famous dishes were Thanksgiving turkeys, banana nut bread, corn bread dressing, and his famous white cakes he would fix for everyones birthday. Steve also allowed his granddaughters to “fix” his hair. He patiently allowed them to apply barrettes and pony tail holders. He also made the holidays special, he enjoyed shopping for the perfect gifts during the holidays and we would sometimes have to rein him in to keep him from going overboard. Later when he could not get out as much, he would keep a roll of crisp 100 dollar bills (he called Benjamins) in his wallet to distribute on birthdays.

Steve loved halloween and would dress up in costume every year to greet the neighborhood children trick or treating at the door. He decorated the outside of his house with a few goblins that would pop up and play spooky sounds once the treaters stepped on the hidden rug at the door, sometimes unintentionally scaring the treaters. He loved having bowls full of candy to hand out. He did have a bit of a sweet tooth and Doug would have to hide the leftovers from him.

Steve was also quite the dancer in the early days and loved Frontier Days in Cheyenne. Steve and Adel and Ray and Vivian would always head out to Little America for some country swing when Johnny Western was in town. Steve loved having Ray, Viv and  all the Kansas nephews and their families visit during Frontier Days. Every year we would converge on downtown Cheyenne to sit at the American National Bank and watch the parade. He loved the rodeo and the night shows. His favorite thing though was getting everyone together to watch the Thunderbirds.

Steve was awarded a set of golf clubs from the Credit Union when he retired and put them to good use. He golfed five days a week with his buddies Bill Rolfe, Larry Krysl, Dean Pearson, John Wilkinson and sometimes his son Doug “Taking Saturday and Sunday off”. Most of the group were in their eighties and Doug would say they played “military golf” where they would march right down the course hitting the shots as fast as they could going from hole to hole. There was an unspoken rule about taking to many practice swings, to many and you were admonished by the group. One gentleman in the group had a craving for errant balls and he would often go off looking for them, the rest of the group would have to wait for him to catch up. The gentleman would also linger around the water hole looking for balls close to shore. One day, one of the players in the foursome got annoyed with the ball searching an confronted the searcher, Steve stood by watching in silent amusement as the two gentleman in their 80’s squared off with there fists up. The ball searcher proclaiming “Come on you S.O.B., i’ll take ya right now”. The gentlemen eventually calmed down and proceeded to finish the round. Steve continued playing golf until he couldn’t walk very well and his physical health started to decline. Thankfully he was able to stay in his own home with the help of his son Doug, who shuttled him to his many doctors appointments and physical therapy sessions and bi-weekly trips to the commissary. The family would like to extend our heart felt gratitude to His Primary Care Physician Doctor Matt Kassel and also the staff at Teton Physical Therapy especially Andrew Overstreet and Austin Johnson for extending his quality of life.

Steve played his last round of golf in July of 2023 with Jim, Doug and nephew Sid.

Before Steve discovered golf he was an avid bowler, bowling on weekly leagues at Aloha Lanes in Hawaii and later at Warren Lanes on the base in Cheyenne. He consistently maintained a high average.

Steve was always willing to lend a helping hand, never complained about much and was a hard worker all his life.

Steve had acquired a few nicknames on his life journey. Benjamin Texas was a very small town and there was a fellow who frequented the downtown taverns who would assign nicknames to everyone. He called Steve “Ledbetter” because he knew Steve played football on the High School team. There was an NFL player in the 1940’s named Homer Carroll “Doc” Ledbetter. All Steve’s brothers took to calling him (“LED”) from that point on.

Another nickname was (“The I.G.”) a  term taken from his days in the service. It was an abbreviation for the military inspection teams that would show up on a detail to make sure everything was done correctly and in tip top shape. The I.G. could often be found following contractors, repairman, mechanics and Jim and Doug around to make sure everything being worked on was up to his standards. When Jim inherited the turkey cooking duties the I.G. was hovering in the kitchen, sometimes proclaiming “thats not the way i would do it”.

Still another nickname “The Mule” was acquired when Laura and Jim moved from their first home. When the task was manual labor like moving furniture or laying down new sod, it was often hard for even the younger ones to keep up with him. Jim and Laura had a neighbor (Marty Griffith) who was helping Steve load a piece of furniture on the moving truck. Climbing up the ramp Steve had a few episodes of Flatulence. As Marty came back down the ramp, he looked at Jim and proclaimed “A Farting Mule Will Never Tire, A Farting Mule Is The ONE To Hire!”)  

Another nickname was coined by Doug. “The Stroker” It was because of his mesmerizing effect on the family pets who would always jump up on the couch next to him for the “Treatment”. Jim and Laura’s dog Brodie and Stacie’s dog Bella often could not resist his hypnotic stroking. Bella would arrive next to him on the couch for a session and within seconds would be snoring in bliss.

Steve was a man a few words at times. He preferred to sit back and observe things. We were attending a reception for Stacie’s graduating class in Lincoln Nebraska at a local sports bar. Steve was siting back watching a group of graduates playing Darts an not doing so well. After a few minutes he approached the group picked up a dart and threw an immediate Bullseye much to the surprise of everyone watching.

Steve loved all sports but was particularly fond of football. Steve was a long time member of the Cowboy Joe Club,   and a U.W. season ticket holder. He attended many games with Doug. Steve was also a loyal fan of the Dallas Cowboys since his roots were in Texas.

Steve lived a good life and did what he loved.

From the family to our beloved Grandaddy, Dad, and Uncle Steve…. Thank you for all your hard work and for taking care of all of us. Thank you for making all of our holidays special and traditional. Thank you for always supporting us in our endeavors. Thank you for instilling in us your work ethic and for showing us what it meant to be a class act.

Steve is survived by sons, James A. (and wife Laura), and Douglas G. of Cheyenne; a daughter, Marlo Baumruk (and husband Troy) of Windsor Colorado; grandchildren:  Delaney Baumruk of Windsor Colorado,  Stacie A., (and husband Jake), Stefanie M.,(husband David) of Laramie Wyoming; great-grandchildren: Lincoln, Lachlan, Colton and Carter; as well as numerous nieces nephews in Kansas, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Maureen; Adelaide, his wife of 55 years; brothers: Robert, Royce, Lynn and Ed; sister, Gloria Price; our beloved uncle Ray, and his wife, aunt Biddy.

A funeral service will be held on Monday November 27, 2023 at the Lakeview Chapel at The Schrader, Aragon and Jacoby Funeral Home, 2222 Russell Avenue., Cheyenne, WY 82001

Visitation: 10:00 a.m.

Funeral Service: 11: 00 a.m.

Reception: 12:00 p.m., following the service.