Daily Archives: April 10, 2013
by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council has tapped a man with more than 10 years of management and supervisory experience in the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) to be its new administrator and finance director.
Paul Thur is expected to begin work in early May. He will replace Joe Fischer, who resigned at the end of last year to return to his native Wisconsin.
The council voted to accept the recommendation to hire Thur that came from a hiring committee consisting of Mayor Bob Graham, Councilman Clay Collingwood, town department heads Kathy Smith and Bill Brenner and community members John King and Frank Houk.
Graham said 10 people applied for the position and five were interviewed before the committee decided that Thur was the best person for the job. He was in attendance at Monday night’s meeting along with his wife Dawn Crist Thur, a Greybull native and current employee of Big Horn County School District No. 3.
Contacted on Tuesday, Thur said he had “mixed feelings” of both excitement and trepidation.
Excited, because he’ll be embarking on a new challenge. “I haven’t had a new job in more than 16 years,” he said, noting that before he went into management roles for Raytheon and then Lockheed Martin, he logged five years (2002-07) working in construction related fields, also within the USAP. “I haven’t had to go out and interview in a long time, and I’m going to a new entity, which is exciting.”
Where the “trepidation” comes in, he said, “is the things I’ll be tasked with learning in my first few months on the job — all the ins and outs of all the departments. I want to do a good job.”
Thur said he thinks it will be fun becoming a productive, active member of the Greybull community, where his wife and her family have established roots.
The Thurs have been living in Greybull since August and Paul has been “telecommuting” in his role as traverse operations manager for Lockheed Martin. That has required some travel back and forth between here and Denver.
Graham told the council on Monday night that Thur would need about three weeks to tie up all the loose ends on his current job. His first day with the town is tentatively set for Monday, May 6.
Thur holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from George Mason University, a post-baccalaureate certificate in forensic DNA analysis and serology from the University of Florida and an MBA with a global management concentration from the University of Phoenix.
by nathan oster
Greybull High School forensics coach Ted Menke got some good news before he and his Grey Ghosts went on Spring Break. In an email, he learned that his Ghosts had placed third in 1A/2A at their recent state meet in Rock Springs — not fourth, as he had initially been led to believe.
While it was a move of just one place, it was significant nonetheless because as a top-three finisher, GHS earned a trophy. Even after the recalculations, Thermopolis held onto the top spot, winning 1A/2A. Saratoga finished second in the revised final standings, followed in third by Greybull and Wright, which tied.
The Ghosts were led by Aftin DeRosa, who took first in Poetry. Samantha Stewart and Brittany Cheatham finished second and fifth, respectively, in Drama.
Menke said the email made his day.
“We went a long time (at GHS) where we were very successful with whoever we had on the team — but then we had a run there of about four years where we just couldn’t get anything going,” he said.
The Ghosts ended that drought last year when they finished third — and as it turns out, they built on that this year with their second straight top-three finish. “We had a young team this year, but we had a lot of talent,” he said. “We only lose one senior (Brittany Cheatham) … so I’m hoping next year we can take another step up and place first or second.”
by nathan oster
The Greybull Town Council still doesn’t have an ordinance governing sidewalk encroachments along highway right-of-way areas, but after Monday night it is a step closer to having a signed, sealed and delivered memorandum of understanding with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
The encroachment issue — or more specifically how to address it — has been a point of contention since the new council was seated in January. Heading into Monday’s meeting, the council had a memorandum of understanding with WYDOT that Mayor Bob Graham has been refusing to sign because of the unwillingness of the council to pass an ordinance that would allow the town to enforce the stipulations of the MOU.
Councilmen Myles Foley and Clay Collingwood have been outspoken critics of the proposed ordinance, repeatedly calling it “unnecessary.” With a full council now in place after the appointment last month of Ross Jorgensen, Graham asked for a reconsideration of the proposed ordinance.
But when the time came for Monday’s discussion, one councilman who supported Graham’s position, Bob McGuire, was absent. That left Collingwood, Foley, Graham and Jorgensen to decide the issue.
Graham opened the discussion by saying that he had been approached by Carla Scharen, owner of CC’s Pizza. She is interested in putting tables on the sidewalk in front of her restaurant on Greybull Avenue.
Graham said he told her that without a town ordinance, she’d have to go through WYDOT. He conveyed that she had attempted to do so, but was encountering “struggles” in her bid to obtain a permit.
“We have an MOU, but we don’t have the teeth to enforce the MOU,” Graham said. “So we’re asking (the council) to again entertain passing the ordinance.”
Foley said he, too, had spoken with Scharen. But, he said, she wants her tables to extend 5 feet out, not the 3 set forth as the limit in the MOU. “She would have needed to get a variance from WYDOT anyway,” Foley said. “I told her if she wanted to go to 3 feet, she wouldn’t have to do that.”
Foley said having an ordinance wouldn’t help Scharen because she’d need to do a variance anyway. Graham disagreed, saying that if the town had an ordinance, it could help guide Scharen through the variance process.
Jorgensen asked why the town needs an encroachment ordinance, noting that towns like Burlington, Manderson and Frannie all have highways running through them — yet none of them have been approached by WYDOT about the need for an ordinance.
Ron Huff, who was representing WYDOT, said “town forces” in those communities are responsible for maintain the right-of-way requirements. WYDOT still must get involved from time to time, he said.
“We talk with the business owner, and if they don’t correct it, we pick up the encroachment and take it to our yard,” said Huff. “We hold onto it for the business owner to come and pick it up. We talk about it and most likely give it back. But at some point, if it keeps going and going, we’d probably consider it being in trespass.”
Huff emphasized that there has been “good compliance” in Greybull and that WYDOT has had success working with business owners in Cody as well. “Cody was in bad shape; they had stuff all over their sidewalks,” Huff said.
He reiterated that all WYDOT is doing in Greybull is trying to “shorten the process” required of business owners who would like to put objects in front of their storefronts. “We are trying to be more business-friendly by working with the towns and letting them work with merchants without a bunch of paperwork requirements,” he said.
The ordinance “gives blanket guidelines for merchants to follow” without “having to ask WYDOT for permission or fill out paperwork.”
Foley reiterated, “We don’t need an ordinance to tell our business people what to do. We can police it ourselves.”
He then asked Graham why he hasn’t signed the MOU. Graham cited the opinion of the town’s attorney, Scott McColloch, who advised that “without an ordinance, the MOU has no teeth.
“Plus we have a deputy sheriff, who is part of the council, who felt it has no teeth,” said Graham. “Our own chief of police recommended that we have an ordinance for them to be legally able to approach someone in violation.”
McColloch added, “If you don’t have an ordinance, enforcement is left up to the highway department. The town simply doesn’t have the authority to enforce it.”
Foley said he’d like to see the MOU signed — and that “if we needed an ordinance, it wouldn’t take long to put it into place.” He asked if the signatures of two council members would be enough to make the MOU official in the absence of the mayor’s signature — and was told that two signatures from the council would work as well.
Foley and Collingwood plan to sign the MOU.
“That’s fine,” said Graham. “As long as the council understands that it cannot direct the police or the public works to pick up the signs.”
by nathan oster
The clock has officially struck midnight for users of the Greybull swimming pool.
Supt. Barry Bryant announced on Friday that he had closed the pool, citing a fire marshal’s conclusion that the building is “not structurally safe” and a structural engineer’s opinion that it is “unfit for public occupancy.”
The pool was funded through the end of June and the school board and town council had recently agreed to each chip in $8,000, for a total of $16,000, to cover the months of July and August.
The plan was to try to keep it open through the end of the summer, but Bryant said concerns about the safety of people using the pool prompted him to take the action, which he immediately conveyed to members of the school board and the mayor Bob Graham.
In an email, fire marshal Dale Link said, “From looking at the corrosion on the main structure of the building and the piece I picked off with my finger the building is not structurally safe. However I am not an engineer.”
Link added that “with all the condensation, many portions of the electrical system have been compromised” and that “the failure of drain pipes, as seen, has created a serious potential for a water event.
“And the lack of proper ventilation is creating an ever-increasing potential for a serious failure of the electrical system, the chlorine dispensing system or emergency systems. Why would you want to wait any longer to take action either to correct or eliminate the hazards?”
Bryant said the fire marshal’s visit was followed on Friday morning by a visit from Jason Hicks, a structural engineer. In his report, which was shared with the school board on Tuesday night, Hicks cited a 2010 report in which he recommended a short-term reinforcement plan to provide a “temporary solution” for building occupancy.
“Although the reinforcement recommendations were implemented, we intended this solution to provide one or two more years of use until funds could be secured to replace the metal building,” Hicks said in his report to the report dated Aug. 9, 2013.
Hicks said that in a site visit last week he “observed the steel mainframe column bases, end wall column tops and bottoms, and roof purlin conditions to have deteriorated since our previous visit. Additionally mainframe beam/flange braces and roof panel connections appear to have worsened.”
“The observations above indicated the vertical and lateral systems of the pool building are potentially unstable and unpredictable. Given the continued moisture collection of the roof insulation panels, coupled with continued roof purlin and fastener corrosion, sectional roof failures could happen without warning, seriously injuring occupants within. Additionally, ‘microburst’ or even moderate wind events could cause collapse of the building when combined with the increasing weight of the aforementioned roof panels.”
Hicks closed by recommending demolition — but in his final paragraph, stated that his recommendation did not include the bathhouse portion of the facility, which is still in relatively good condition.
Built in the early 1970s, the pool far exceeded its anticipated life expectancy.
School board discussion
The school board on Tuesday night not only followed Bryant’s recommendation to shutter the pool, but it also agreed, after holding a public hearing, to proceed with the demolition of the pool facility.
The School Facilities Commission has earmarked funding for the demolition of the pool, but that appropriation was put on hold in order to let voters have a say on the construction of a new swimming pool.
In the November general election, two different tax measures in support of a new pool — one calling for the imposition of a countywide, sixth-cent sales tax, the other for a bond issue that would have raised property taxes across the school district — were soundly rejected by voters.
Mayor Bob Graham was the first to speak at Tuesday night’s public hearing. Citing the structural engineer’s opinion that the bathhouse was still in good shape, he asked whether the district had considered taking the shell off the pool and running it without a roof for the summer.
Trustee Steve Hoblit said he ran that by Jerry Ewen, who has a background in building trades and was involved in getting the pool rehabbed several years ago, and was told, “It would not hold up in an outdoor condition because it wasn’t designed to be an outdoor pool.”
Bryant added that while there is nothing structurally wrong with the bathhouse, there are multiple issues with the building’s various systems. He added that the pool wouldn’t be demolished immediately. More than likely, given the pace of these type of matters, he estimated that “It might be about a year from now.”
Trustee Dale Nuttall asked about what items within the building might be salvageable. Joe Forcella, the district’s maintenance supervisor, said the bleachers could be reused and there is various equipment stored in the basement, including canoes, that could be kept.
Graham said he didn’t blame the school board for condemning the pool.
“We understand your position,” he said. “If it was the city, we’d have shut it down a long time ago because of the liability issues that you face. We understand that.”
Graham said the attorney who was the architect of the joint powers board that oversees the Big Horn Regional water system told him he would take the lead on forming a joint powers board to oversee the construction, operation and maintenance of a new pool — but at a cost of $24,000.
Graham said if multiple entities got involved — such as the Greybull and Basin school districts, the towns of Basin, Greybull and Burlington and the Greybull and Burlington recreation districts — the cost per entity would be much easier to absorb. The challenge would be selling the pool project and its benefits to each of those entities, he said.
Now that the writing’s on the wall, Graham said he thinks “it’s starting to hit home” with people that Greybull’s losing its pool. “Maybe we’ll have a renewed community interest moving forward toward a new pool,” he said.
Chairman Mike Meredith admitted that he has an emotional attachment to the pool — and that losing it “hurts.” Moving forward, he said, “It’s going to have to be a case of the community deciding it wants one. Hopefully somebody gets involved … beyond the city and the school district.”
He concluded, “Things just keep getting worse. We had a bowling alley. I used to be able to dial four numbers to get someone on the phone — and now it’s seven. And now we’re going to lose the pool. … I feel sorry for the next generation.”
by nathan oster
Officials from the Wyoming State Livestock Board urged local cattle producers to be proactive in monitoring their herds for brucellosis following the recent announcement from the Game and Fish Department that two elk taken in the Big Horn Mountain had tested positive for the bacteria.
“If I was a producer in this area, I would want to get some surveillance testing in my cattle herd to assure myself that it wasn’t there — or to find it quickly if it was,” said Dr. Jim Logan, the state veterinarian. “If you go through the calving seasons with one infected female that calves in your herd, you will know it the next year.
“The longer you wait to find it, the greater the risk of inter-herd spread.”
Logan was one of several Wyoming Livestock Board and Wyoming Game and Fish officials in attendance at a public meeting Thursday night at the Greybull Elks Lodge attended by approximately 50 local producers.
While Logan’s call was for livestock producers to be proactive, even he acknowledged early in the evening that no one yet knows what to make of the two positive tests, which was discovered in elk taken in Hunt Area 40.
Alan Osterland, a G&F regional wildlife supervisor, said one of the positives came back on a cow elk taken Oct. 16 on Bald Mountain, while the other was from a bull elk taken Oct. 18 in the Bear Creek drainage.
“There are a lot of things at this point that we do not know about this situation,” said Logan. “We don’t expect there are cattle infected, but factually, we don’t know. We certainly hope there aren’t. But other states are willing to give us time to get the facts found — and that’s what we’re doing.
“Finding two elk that tested positive on the blood test does not mean those elk are infected. “A lot of things could be going on. Those elk could be infected, or they could have been exposed to the bacteria and have antibodies in their system, or it could be from a cross infection with other bacteria. There’s a lot we don’t know.”
Logan said he has no intention of recommending an enlargement of the designated brucellosis surveillance area (DSA) to include Big Horn and Sheridan counties. In 2010, the boundaries of that DSA were expanded and it now includes all or parts of Park, Teton, Sublette, Fremont and Sweetwater counties.
“Within that surveillance area, we have had over the years quite a few cases in cattle,” Logan said.
Terry Kreiger, a G&F veterinarian, said the two positive tests in the Big Horns were the first two since the G&F started monitoring for brucellosis statewide in the 1990s.
Brucellosis, or brucella abortus, is a European-based disease that was originally brought into the Greater Yellowstone area by bison. It affects not only bison but also elk and cattle by causing females to abort their calves.
Brucellosis is spread orally when an infected cow gives birth. According to Kreiger, its fetus is full of infectious bacteria, and other animals pick it up when they lick or smell the infected fetus — or in some cases, a live calf that is born with it.
In 1934, a program was developd to eliminated brucellosis from domestic cattle.
Today all 50 states are classified as “brucellosis free” in domestic cattle, but according to the G&F presentation, infected elk and bison in the greater Yellowstone area are “a constant threat.”
Kreiger said 61 percent of infected elk abort their first calf and 10 to 20 percent will abort their second and third calves as well. But overall calf loss in a free-ranging, infected population is 10 percent. The incubation period (contact to aborted) is generally three months, and most abortions in elk occur between February and June, Kreiger said.
The G&F extensively monitors for brucellosis inside the DSA, but focuses on different parts of the state each hunting season by providing test kits to limited-quota hunters, who are asked to collect blood samples from their kills and send them into the state lab for testing.
After the meeting, Kreiger said that prior to 2012, the last time the Big Horns were a focus of the surveillance efforts was approximately 2008. Prior to that, it was 2004. “Every three to four years,” he said.
Thousands of samples arrive in the state lab each year — and after employees there get done testing for chronic wasting disease, which takes priority, the focus then shifts to the brucellosis samples, Kreiger said. Of all the elk samples that were sent in by hunters in the Big Horns in 2012, just 22 were “suitable for testing,” he said.
Osterland said the elk herd in the Big Horn Mountains, which is managed by G&F personnel in Sheridan and Cody, is actually above its population objective of 4,500. In fact, some longer hunting seasons are proposed for this year in the hopes of thinning the herd.
In hunt area 40, the objective is 850 elk; the three-year population average has been 873.
Osterland said the G&F will increase its surveillance efforts in hunt area 40 not only this year but also in the next few years to come. “We want to see an increase in the usable sample size,” he said, adding that hunters should expect more check stations. “And we will also increase our efforts to document elk distribution.”
Logan said that among cattle, infected animals should be considered “lifelong carriers” and that heifers and pregnant animals are “most susceptible.” Older animals tend to be more resistant, but that isn’t a given, either. “In all the herds where we’ve had it, we’ve had a mixture of some old ones and some young ones. It can hit any age.”
Logan told producers that live calves can be born to brucellosis-infected animals, but that they “are born weak, they are unthrifty and they show signs similar to pneumonia. Generally they die within two to three days of birth.”
The most common clinical sign of a brucellosis-infected animal is the abortion of its first calf, and Logan said animals “may go on to have normal, live calves in future years.” However, “That isn’t a reality in the cattle world,” he said. “Once a female cow is found in a herd, it is generally culled from the herd.” That’s because brucellosis is a “community disease,” meaning that an infected animal has the potential to infect every other animal in the herd.
So how can it be prevented? Logan cited four “tools” or approaches:
• Temporal or spatial separation. “As producers in an area where there may be infections, I encourage you to take precautions,” said Logan.
• Good management. “If it happens to be in your herd, you want to find it as quickly as possible.”
• Surveillance. “In the DSAs we have surveillance requirements and it’s helped us find several cases,” he said. “People in this area, unless they happen to run cattle in the DSA, most haven’t had to worry about surveillance of that type.”
• Vaccination of calves and adults. “It’s not 100 percent effective, however,” he said.
Logan said brucellosis has a public health significance as well. “People can get it too,” he said, adding that ranchers and sportsmen are most susceptible. It is primarily transferred to humans via contact with an infected fetus or through unpasteurized milk.
The states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana are considered to be “the last known reservoir of brucella abortus in wildlife in the U.S. — and Logan said an outbreak could have devastating effects on the local cattle industry.
“In spite of Wyoming being classified brucellosis-free, other states do have concerns about our wildlife reservoir,” Logan said. “They are concerned about buying cattle. They have been good to Wyoming because of our efforts in the DSA.
“But this situation has raised eyebrows. Other states have been patient. But we are going to have to show them some action that we are taking to make sure it hasn’t spilled outside the DSA. It’s a real significant thing as far as marketability goes.”
Logan said Idaho doesn’t have as good a surveillance program as Wyoming and that it resulted in sanctions from North Dakota. Other states may follow suit, Logan said. “We have to do something outside of the DSA to show these other states that we’re serious. We need to make sure we are providing a clean product when our cattle leave the state.”
Bob Meyer, assistant state veterinarian, said animals are tested in Wyoming at slaughter, in their first point of concentration (i.e., when they go to market) and when producers request direct-herd testing, which involves entering into a herd plan with the state.
State livestock officials urged ranchers to strongly consider the herd plan option and added that they are trying to find funding sources to pay for brucellosis surveillance testing outside the DSA.
“Get a risk assessment done,” Logan said. “For your own protection, but also to protect your marketability. If we don’t do anything outside the DSA for surveillance work, other states may say we need to put tests in place. We don’t want this to put us in a vulnerable position.”
by nathan oster
The 120-plus employees who work at M-I SWACO’s two Greybull locations are celebrating a national award for their innovative reclamation efforts.
The Interstate Mining Compace Commission (IMCC) recently announced that M-I had received one of its Kenes C. Bowling National Mine Reclamation Awards, which are given annually to one coal and one non-coal mining company as well as to one small mine operator.
M-I won in the non-coal category, while mines in Indiana and Rock Springs took first place and honorable mention, respectively, in the coal category.
According to a release from M-I, the recipients of the awards are selected based on their level of excellence and innovation in mine land reclamation. The IMCC is a multi-state governmental organization representing the natural resource and environmental protection interests of member states.
Mart Hinckley, mine superintendent for M-I, said he and geologist Dan Close would be traveling to accept the award next week.
“It’s a pretty big deal for our company,” said Hinckley. “We won it over all the other non-coal mines in the nation, which include iron ore, talc, soda ash … everything ‘non coal’ I guess you could say.
“It shows that our guys have done a heck of a good job. We’ve gotten some bad press of late, but this shows that we are doing something for the environment out here. If we are doing better than most of the companies in the U.S. we must be doing something right.”
Hinckley added that regulators pay close attention to the companies that are recognized by the IMCC and that M-I would benefit from the award.
“Bentonite mine land reclamation within Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin is facing ever-increasing challenges,” said M-I in a statement about the award. “With an average rainfall of 5 inches, sodic soils, an explosion of invasive weeds and the responsibility of re-vegetation performance, meeting today’s reclamation standards is an issue that requires fresh eyes on old problems.
“Nine innovative projects were conducted by M-I SWACO in 2012 to address the mitigation of several failed reclamation sites, the chemical and biological control of invasive weeds, the reassessment of soils handing practices, the fostering of agency relationships and the improved coordination of internal mining and reclamation communications. The address of all of these issues has been a volunteer effort that has gone beyond state and federal mining and reclamation requirements. The nine projects directly affected a total of 554 acres of native and mined lands, generated a revision in the reclamation practices for an additional 1,248 acres and involved the active participation of several outside agencies and institutions.”
Feb. 22, 1940 – March 27, 2013
Sandi Love, 73, of Manderson died March 27 in Fort Collins, Colo., from complications due to pneumonia. She was cremated and her ashes scattered with those of her late husband, Grover Ray Love.
She was born Feb. 22, 1940, in Amarillo, Texas, the daughter of R.C. and Illene Werner. She worked in the restaurant business for most of her life and loved her work. She served several terms on the Manderson Town Council.
Sandi also loved to fish.
She touched the lives of many people, was loved by many, and will be missed by all.
She was preceded in death by her husband Grover Ray Love and her father and mother, R.C. and Illene Werner.
She is survived by her children, David Love of Gillette, Dennis Love of Eaton, Colo., JD Scott of Kerrville, Texas, Chris Ballad of Amarillo, John Love of Reno, Nev., and Ray Love of San Pedro, Calif.; her grandchildren, Kylie Schreiner-Love, Trenton Love, Sara Zimmershide, Frankie Love, April Love, Malory Love and Crissy Forget and 12 great-grandchildren.
Oct. 28, 1943 – April 2, 2013
A celebration of life for James Franklin Temple of Greybull was held April 8 at BPOE Lodge 1431 in Greybull. James, 69, died April 2 at Spirit Mountain Hospice House in Cody.
He was born Oct. 28, 1943, at Alton, Madison County, Illinois, the son of Duane Franklin and Alice Louise Henry Temple. He served in the United States Air Force from 1961 to 1965.
James worked as a signal maintainer for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad from 1967 until 2008. He moved to the Big Horn Basin in 1989.
James, affectionately known as “Jimmy T” by his friends, loved old cars and motorcycles and riding with his friends.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Alice Louise Temple, and his brother, Mike Temple.
He is survived by his father Duane Temple of Laurel, Mont.; two daughters, Jolyn Temple of Rozet and Chris Temple of Laurel; one brother, Joe Temple of Billings; three sisters, Shirley Stanton of Alton, Ill., Sherry Greenwalt of Park City, Mont., and Rita Hankinson of Laurel; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Memorial donations are being received at Big Horn Federal Savings Bank, Box 471, Greybull, WY 82426. Proceeds will benefit the Spirit Mountain Hospice House.
April 1, 1932 – April 4, 2013
A memorial service for Leland Guy Morris will be scheduled for late summer/early fall with the time and location to be announced. Leland, 81, died April 4 at Washakie Medical Center in Worland.
He was born April 1, 1932, in Shell, the son of Robert L. and Dora E. Sievers Morris. He attended schools in the Big Horn Basin area. He married Betty Ann Gilmore July 12, 1956, in Basin.
Leland was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He attended BIOLA Bible College in Los Angeles for two years, and then completed his Bible training at the Montana Institute of the Bible, where he was a member of the institute’s first graduating class.
Leland ministered and led Bible studies all over Wyoming and Montana and worked in any industry available in those communities. He worked as an auto mechanic, with a wrecker service, logger, heavy equipment operator, sawmill maintenance and general all-around handyman. In his later years he enjoyed repairing and maintaining lawn mowers as a hobby.
Other hobbies included attending yard sales, used car shopping, music, hunting, shooting, fishing and joking with people.
His parents Robert L. and Dora E. Morris; brothers Leslie, Ken, Robert and Donald; sisters, Nellie, Thelma and Dorlene, his wife Betty Ann and his daughter, Leanna Joy Morris, preceded him in death.
He is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert Lee and Ruth Morris of Hobart, Wash., and Thomas Paul and LaRee Morris of Seely Lake, Mont.; two daughters and sons-in-law, Dora Ann and Ken Tiel of Crossfield Alberta Canada, and Nancy Jo and Wes Norville of Fairbanks, Alaska; two brothers, Vern Morris of Sheridan and Delmar Morris of Cowley; 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
He was buried in Mount View Cemetery beside his wife.
Memorials in Leland’s memory can be sent in care of Rob Morris, Box 97, Howart, WA 98025.
Where there is sadness, love plants a garden of memories. Our beautiful Mother and Grandmother, LaRena Collingwood, passed away on April 3, 2013, at Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home surrounded by her loving children.
Her parents, David and Edna Marcus Miller, welcomed the second of their four children on April 24, 1935, in a small farmhouse on Orchard Bench Road where her father delivered her into this world. She loved the life of a farm girl and loved horses. After her family bought a farm in Emblem, she often told us a story of how she worked at the Emblem store, and when she got off work at night she would fall asleep atop her horse and he would always deliver her home safe.
She attended Big Horn Basin schools and graduated from Greybull High School in 1953.
She married the love of her life, Paul Collingwood, on Oct. 16, 1954, and they shared 54 wonderful years together, until she lost Paul in July 2009. All their married years together, he always referred to her as “His Girlfriend.”
They were partners in all life would bring them. As parents they would raise five children, Lela, David, Valorie, Carla and Marla. And together at such a young age experienced the heartbreak of losing their first set of twins, Edna and Erna. They also would help bring up Rena’s younger brother, Bill, who was more like a son than a brother to them.
Rena worked to help support her family. While nurturing her children to school age, she took in ironing, and cleaned offices and homes for a living. After her children were in school she worked for U-Smile Grocery, Coast to Coast and Blackburn Implement. She then helped Paul start their own business, Collingwood Service Center, in 1974, and did bookkeeping for her husband. She also began a long career as a bookkeeper for Sparks Auto/Hines Motor Supply, and stayed through many owner changes until she retired in 1998.
In her spare time the large garden and many flowers she planted each year gave her such joy. Many times she shared her bounty with neighbors and family. It was a labor of love for her to harvest her garden and preserve it through canning. Now her children carry on that tradition.
The family spent many summers camping on the mountain. Rena and Paul also hunted together all their married lives. The couple started traveling in their camper, and later motor home, to Alaska and Canada, as well as other locations in the west. She shared her husband’s love of Jeeps, and they owned and restored many over the years. Together they enjoyed Jeeping trips and Jeep Jamborees. In their retirement years they became snowbirds and resided in Quartzsite, Ariz., where they were hosts at an RV park. They made many friends who became like family.
Rena lived her life to the fullest. But after losing Paul, her health took a turn. A rare illness, Primary Progressive Aphasia, began to rob her of her speech and then her motor skills. For a woman who always knew the right thing to say and who loved to ride her bike, this disorder was a true test. She showed us how to be humble and face the unwanted and unexpected in the best way we can. That example has left an indelible mark on our hearts.
LaRena is survived by her children: Lela of Sheridan, David (Vickie) of Greybull, Valorie (John) of Billings, Mont., Carla (Mark) of Greybull and Marla (Tony) of Craig, Colo.
Carla was also her special friend and caregiver until the end. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren; her sister, Donna (Norman) Collingwood of Greybull, and her brother, Bill (MaryAnne) Miller of Billings, Mont., and many nieces and nephews and Paul’s family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul; her infant twin daughters; her parents, and her brother, Robert Miller.
In honoring her wishes no formal memorial service will be held. Her family will gather at a later date for a celebration of her spirit and her life. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in LaRena’s name to go toward the purchase of a “patient lift” at Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home. Donations can be sent to Big Horn Federal Savings Bank, Box 471, Greybull, WY 82426. Cremation has taken place.
We thank you, Mama, for the gift of yourself and staying with us for as long as you could. We know you are in a better place now.
In the Garden of Special Memories, times shared with our Mother are some of the most beautiful flowers of all. We love you and will miss you, Mama. We know you are with Daddy now, and together can dance the “Tennessee Waltz” forever.
Atwood Family Funeral Directors, Inc. is in charge of arrangements.