Dec. 25, 1924 – Dec. 23, 2017
Earl Diemel was born at home on the family farm Christmas Day 1924 near Summit Lake, Wis. He was the seventh of eight children born to George and Emma Diemel; he always said that he had seven sisters and each one of them had a brother. Earl spent his childhood growing up in the northwoods, learning from his father about hunting, trapping, fishing, and all other aspects that were necessary to live in the lakes and forests that surrounded him. When America became involved in World War II, Earl, at the age of 18, enlisted in the army and became part of the war effort. He was assigned to the First Cavalry and was sent to the Pacific Theater in 1943. On his way to San Francisco he had a temporary stay at Warren Cavalry post in Cheyenne, Wyo. While he was in Cheyenne he fell in love with two things that would remain his love for his entire life: Muriel Chadwick and the beauty of Wyoming’s outdoors.
Earl and Muriel wrote to each other during Earl’s tour of the south Pacific and after his return to the United States in 1945. Muriel accepted Earl’s proposal and went to Summit Lake, Wis., in the spring of 1946 to be married to him. They were married on April 14, 1946, in Deerbrook, Wis. This last spring, they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. In 1948 Earl and Muriel moved to Cheyenne to start a life in Wyoming that would have nearly a 70-year run.
In 1949 Earl began the electrical apprenticeship and a year later he joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. At the time of Earl’s death, he had been a proud member of the IBEW for 67 years. During his time as an electrician Earl worked on many historic projects throughout the western United States, including Grand Coulee Dam, the Hanford nuclear facility, the Atlas missile sites, and the initial construction of the Minute Man missile silos and command centers in Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. As you can tell, Earl and Muriel did a lot of travelling and in 1955 they became a larger family with the addition of a son, Dennis, who traveled with them. They kept Cheyenne as a base to work from until 1971 when they moved to Douglas, Wyo., where they put down roots for the next 24 years. Earl’s last project was in New York City in 1988, when almost forty years later he completed his apprenticeship!
Earl and Muriel started traveling again after Earl retired and spent the next six years taking their Airstream trailer to warmer climates during the winter months. They were joined by Muriel’s sister Zelda and her husband Marvin on many of these winter escapes. Earl wanted to build one last home that Muriel and he could live out their remaining years in comfort and still enjoy the outdoors that Wyoming had to offer. This idea first began with the purchase of land in Pinedale, Wyo., but after considering the cold that Pinedale experiences in the winter and any month of the year for that matter, they choose to build in Greybull, Wyo. So in 1994 they started building a home to finally settle down in. Earl designed the home while they were on their annual winter getaways; while Muriel gambled, he drew up plans for their new home. The home was completed in 1995 and it was well thought out and beautiful. Together they built a home to be very proud of and enjoyed living in for the next 22 years.
Earl loved the Big Horn Mountains and all that they had to offer. He continued to hunt and fish as his father had taught him as a boy growing up in northern Wisconsin until 2013; a hip replacement in 2005 slowed him down considerably and forced his early retirement from one of the loves of his life.
Earl and Muriel’s time in Greybull was filled with visits from friends and family that enjoyed Earl playing the player piano and giving guided tours of the surrounding area. Many of these visits became annual adventures that everyone looked forward to, but none more than Earl, who loved to entertain and make people laugh. Sadly, in 2014, Earl began showing signs of dementia; it kept him from driving and some of the other activities he enjoyed doing such as gardening, but it didn’t keep him from enjoying visits from neighbors, children, friends, and family. Earl loved to tell stories of his wartime adventures. He continued to try and get a laugh from everyone, to the very end of his life.
Earl passed away peacefully on the afternoon of Dec. 23 at the South Big Horn County Hospital. He knew that his time had come and predicted that he would go on his birthday just two days away. He will be missed by all that knew and loved him. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Muriel, his son Dennis, three grandchildren, Albert, James, and Molly, three great grandchildren, Nathan, Anna, and Margaret, two sisters, Margie and Clarabelle, 33 nieces and nephews, and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and his in-laws, five sisters, and a granddaughter.
When you remember Earl now and in the future, try to think of a funny story or situation that he was part of and laugh; he would like that.