Rocky Mountain Obituaries 9-10-12 |

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Rocky Mountain Obituaries 9-10-12

Christopher James Birdwell

SSG. Christopher James Birdwell, 25, of Windsor, Colo., passed away August 27, 2012.

He made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country in Kalagush, Afghanistan. He was killed in action by injuries suffered from enemy small-arms fire. Christopher was assigned to the First Platoon, Alpha Company, 4STB, 4BCT, 4ID, Fort Carson, Colo. He was born June 2, 1987.

Respected in life, honored in death, Christopher will be awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart for his sacrifice. Well-suited for his post, he completed Airborne training in 2007, executing more than 100 jumps, along with Sniper and Sapper training in 2011. Christopher thrived on his responsibility to protect his country and earned other distinctions such as Squad Leader and Armorer during his enlistment. His heroism and leadership was an inspiration to those who served with him.

Behind the uniform, Chris was a man whose infectious laugh could make anyone smile; he was a generous friend and servant of many. His vivacity for life was evident in his fondness for speed. Chris enjoyed everything from fast cars, motorcycles and ATVs, to skydiving and shooting sports.

Ever a thrill seeker, he loved snow and cold weather and enjoyed snowboarding, snowmobiling and other outdoor activities. His talent for enjoying life touched everyone who knew him. Christopher graduated from Windsor High School in Windsor, Colo., in 2005 before enlisting in 2006.

Raised in a home of faith and conviction, Chris was baptized into Christ by his father April 25, 2004, solidifying his hope of heaven through faith. He was a member of the Windsor Church of Christ, where he built friendships to last to eternity.

With a firm belief in his purpose, and convictions supported by his faith, Chris’ sacrifice reflects that of his Lord and Savior, the Giver of eternal life. His legacy will survive in the hearts of his family and friends until they are reunited in heaven.

SSG. Christopher J. Birdwell’s heroic sacrifice for his country will be remembered by the nation who stood behind him. Chris will be remembered more fondly and missed deeply by the many family and friends who loved him best, including his girlfriend, Vanessa Mitchell and her daughter, Baylie. His joyful spirit, generous heart, fun-loving nature, bravery and sacrifice are still alive in all who knew him. He was one of America’s best. Until we meet again.

He is survived by his parents, Jim and Pam Birdwell; his brother, Dustin Birdwell; his sisters, Maley and Maegan Birdwell; his grandmother, Doris Birdwell; his grandfather, Richard Oliver; Jeff and Julie Riley and their children, Katie and Ian Stewart and Joey Riley; Roger and Deidre Birdwell and their children, John Birdwell and Jennifer Birdwell; Scott and Rose Oliver and their children, Drew, Sharlene and Josh Oliver; Rick and Deb Shively and their children, Sgt. Erick Shively and Jenna Shively; Chris and Vicky Henderson and their children, Sereana Little, Katheryn, Aimy and Larah Henderson.

He was preceded in death by his grandfather, James Birdwell; his grandmother, Patricia Smith; and his cousin, Patricia Oliver.

Memorial services were held September 7, 2012, at Resurrection Fellowship Church in Loveland, Colo.

Christopher Birdwell will be memorialized at Fort Carson and laid to rest at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to a memorial fund in Chris’ name. The proceeds of the fund will be used to help organizations assist the families of other fallen soldiers. Donations, indicating SSG Christopher Birdwell, can be mailed to Bank Of Colorado, P.O. Box 939, Windsor, Colo., 80550 or delivered to 1041 Main St., Windsor, Colo., 80550.

Online condolences may be made at ❖

Lance Kerby Mayer

Lance Kerby Mayer, 60, of Wiggins, Colo., passed away September 1, 2012 at his home.

He was born August 9, 1952 to Herbert and Cleo (Deutscher) Mayer. Growing up on a farm a mile and one-half south of Streeter, N.D., he recalls walking to Streeter, N.D., to get groceries after the 1966 blizzard. The snow was so deep in places that he stepped over telephone wires.

Graduating from high school in 1970, he attended college for a year and one-half. Because of his farm experience, he was accepted into the Peace Corps, serving in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Paraguay, where he became fluent in Spanish. In 1974, Lance moved to Lead, S.D., going to work in the Homestake gold mine. He married Sandy Schlepp in 1975. He enlisted in the Navy with active duty service from 1977 until 1984 and then again in 1991 during Desert Storm. Lance worked seven years as a deputy sheriff.

In 1992, he married Nancy Gorsuch from Douglas, Wyo. Over the years he also has hauled freight over the road through most of the lower 48 states. He helped build postal conveyors all over the U.S. and was a systems engineer on a pharmaceutical conveyor.

Lance enjoyed gardening, digital photography, genealogy, and watching old westerns, especially Rawhide and Wagon Train.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy; three sons, David (Shawna) of Omaha, Neb., Daniel (Jen) of Thornton, Colo., and Daron of Littleton, Colo.; four grandkids, Lucas, Micah, Melody and Jordan; two brothers, Jerry (Carol) Mayer of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Marlin (Linda) Mayer of Santa Maria, Calif.; and his best dog pal, Molly.

He was preceded in death by his parents, and two best dog pals, Missy and Jake.

Memorial services were held September 8, 2012 at the Heer & Dahl Mortuary in Fort Morgan, Colo.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Fort Morgan Humane Society or Operation Homefront.

Inurnment will be in Serenity Falls Columbarium in Fort Morgan at a later date. ❖

Ronald (Reinhold) Brunkhardt

Ronald (Reinhold) Brunkhardt, 94, passed away September 1, 2012 Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo.

He was born February 23, 1918 in Atwood, Colo., to George Jacob and Molly Fritzler Brunkhardt.

His parents were Germans from Russia who migrated to the United States from Russia as young adults.

Ron attended grade schools in Atwood, Colo., and Merino, Colo. When he started school, he could speak only German as that was what was spoken in his home. His formal education ended when he was expected to help on the farm at an early age.

Ron enjoyed trapping muskrats, skunks and badgers in the Pruitt Reservoir when he was young. He sold them to make a little spending money. As he grew older he took on more responsibility on the farm and could often be found working beets or planting corn. Ron liked to dance and many Saturday nights would drive to Sterling, Colo., or Illiff, Colo., to attend a polka dance. He also liked to fish and to swim.

On August 20, 1939, Ron married Helen Dermer in the Trinity Lutheran Church of which he was a member. To this union three children were born: Duane Eugene Brunkhardt, Joyce Elizabeth Brunkhardt and Cynthia Lou Brunkhardt.

Ron and his family continued living and farming in the Atwood, Colo., and Merino, Colo., area, where they fed cattle and raised sugar beets and other crops. He loved the cattle business and the markets and was a familiar presence at the Brush Sale Barn where he usually camped out all day long waiting for the best “deal.” Sometimes he got a bargain! He was also active for many years in the Chimney Canyon Grazing Association.

Ron’s beloved wife, Helen, became ill and passed away on August 20, 1968.

In 1998 Ron met Elaine Miller in Fort Collins, Colo., and they were married on April 16, 1999 in Bangor, Maine. They continued to live in Fort Collins, Colo., until 2010 when Ron moved to Devonshire Acres in Sterling, Colo.

During the 1970’s Ron went on several cruises and learned to enjoy the ocean. In later years he spent time in Maine with his wife and enjoyed visits to Prince Edward Island where he caught all the fish his heart could desire.

He is survived by his wife Elaine Brunkhardt of Fort Collins, Colo.; daughters, Joyce Lebsack (Don) of Sterling, Colo.; Cindy Kipp (Brian) of Haxtun, Colo.; sister, Clara Werner of Sterling, Colo.; brother, Alvin Brunkhardt of Paola, Kan.; stepchildren, Alan Clark, David Clark, Cathy Kechter; seven grandchildren, Monte Brunkhardt, Mindy Meier, Mark Brunkhardt, Kent Lebsack, Jan Mari, Lindsay Kipp, Whitney Kipp; nine great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Helen Brunkhardt; his granddaughter, Julie Carlson and his son, Duane Brunkhardt and sisters Erma Schuppe, Eleanor Swearingen, Bernice Young.

Memorial services were held September 6, 2012 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Sterling, Colo.

Graveside services followed at Riverside Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Trinity Lutheran Church in Sterling, Colo. ❖

Frances (Goetsch) Creech

Frances (Goetsch) Creech, 92, of Cheyenne, Wyo., passed away Saturday afternoon, September 1, 2012, at Life Care Center of Cheyenne after a period of failing health.

Mrs. Creech was born February 7, 1920, in Doniphan, Nebraska, a daughter of the late Francis X. and Pauline L. (Perky) Goetsch.

Frances graduated from Doniphan High School in 1937. On June 14, 1941, she married Rex Creech in Grand Island, Nebraska, and they moved to Cheyenne where Rex was employed by Union Pacific Railroad and she was a homemaker. In 1960, she began working for the Wyoming Game and Fish in the accounting department. Following her retirement in 1978, she volunteered with the First Presbyterian Church, XJWC and as a Pink Lady at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Frances was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon and elder, Presbyterian Women, Presbyterian Prairie Schooner Pioneers, and past member of the Oak Spokes AACA of which she was the first woman president. She also enjoyed playing Bridge with several clubs and she enjoyed reading and had been a Laramie County Library cardholder since 1941.

Frances is survived by two sons, Patrick Creech and wife, Nancy, of Cheyenne, Wyo., and Donald Creech and wife, Jyl, of Cheyenne, Wyo.; six grandchildren, Jon Creech, Ann Davis and husband, Terry, Emilee Intlekofer and husband, Casey, Katie Creech and Reyes Whiteley, Craig Alburn and wife, Ann, and Nathan Alburn and wife, Laurie; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild.

She is preceded in death by her loving husband, Rex Creech in 1983.

Memorial services were held September 7, 2012, at the First Presbyterian Church

Interment followed at Lakeview Cemetery. ❖

Erma Jean Bergendahl

Erma Jean Bergendahl (Croissant), 82, of Greeley, Colo., passed away August 30, 2012, at North Colorado Medical Center, Hospice unit.

She was born May 20, 1930, near LaSalle, Colo., to Gottlieb and Frieda (Reck) Vogel. Erma grew up in Portland, Ore., from 1933-46, and then moved back to Weld County. She attended school in Portland, Ore., and then Greeley, Colo., high schools.

On January 25, 1948, Erma married Albert “Al” Croissant at LaSalle Baptist Church. They resided on a farm in Hardin until moving to a ranch in New Raymer, Colo., in 1974. Erma was very resourceful with life on the farm; her kitchen was an extension of her generosity. She enjoyed raising her family, raising chickens and gardening and was an excellent seamstress.

Erma always made holidays very special. She enjoyed traveling and especially loved the ocean. She was a member of LaSalle Baptist church for many years, and the last church she attended was Sherwood Park Baptist. Among the many talents she had, Erma loved to sing. She was in the church choir; Erma taught Sunday school, Bible school and played the piano.

Al and Erma moved to Greeley, Colo., after retiring from the ranch. After Al’s passing in 1990, she was a baker at Toddy’s.

In June 1993, she married Walter Bergendahl in Fort Collins, Colo.

After Walter’s death, she became part of the Garden Square Memory Care family where she was given much love and care.

Throughout her life, she strived to make people feel welcome. Children held a special place in her heart.

She is survived by her mother, Frieda Vogel of Greeley, Colo.; one brother, Vernon (Shirley) Vogel of Greeley, Colo.; two daughters, Kathy (Mike) Miles of Westminister, Colo., and Susan Croissant of Eaton, Colo.; two sons, Rod Croissant of Greeley, Colo., and Rick Croissant of Cheyenne, Wyo.; a son-in-law, Jim Barco of Greeley, Colo.,; five grandchildren, Kari (Nicolas) Lezama of Greeley, Colo., Christopher Croissant and Cassandra Croissant both of Washington, Ben Barco of Greeley, Colo., and Joe Barco; and great-grandchildren, Elysia and Talia Lezama, Vera Croissant, and Hayden, Nola and Breckin Croissant.

She was preceded in death by her father; her husbands; a brother, Edward Vogel; and a sister, Virginia Roth.

Memorial services were held September 4, 2012 at Sherwood Baptist Church.

Interment was at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Northern Colorado and/or Alzheimer’s Association in care of Stoddard Funeral Home, 3205 28th St., Greeley, Colo., 80634.

Please visit to sign online guest book.

Ruby Neff

Ruby M. Neff, 90, of Eaton, Colo., passed away August 29, 2012, at Hospice of Northern Colorado.

She was born April 5, 1922, in Cleveland, Ga., to William B. and Myrtle (Allison) Dyer. On October 30, 1940, she married Orville Neff in Kimball, Neb.

Ruby was the last surviving owner of Neff Brothers Garage in Eaton, Colo., that was in operation for 44 years. She enjoyed gardening and fishing. She was a member of Alger United Methodist Church in Eaton, Colo.

She is survived by her daughters, Patricia (Nick) Alig, Caren (Bill) Forsythe and Linda (Arnold) Banghart all of Greeley, Colo.; grandchildren, Tab and Tim Bennett, Teresa Schmidt, Scott Banghart, Kevin Banghart, Jeff (Tami) Ravithis and Becky Fraker; 13 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; and one brother, Edward Dyer of Denver, Colo.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Orville; three sisters; one brother; and good friend, Jack Pocock.

Memorial services were held September 5, 2012, at Adamson Chapel with viewing one hour prior to service.

Memorial contributions may be made to “Hospice of Northern Colorado” in care of Adamson Funeral and Cremation Services, 2000 47th Ave., Greeley, Colo., 80634.

Condolences may be sent to the family at ❖

Delbert Elroy Whitney

Delbert Elroy Whitney, 68, of Fort Morgan, Colo., passed away August 30, 2012.

He was born in Weldona, Colo., on September 28, 1943 to Frank V. & Ina (Lusk) Whitney. He married Mary Chilson on April 7, 1968 in Fort Morgan, Colo.

Delbert enjoyed working with his family as a farmer, rancher, and dairyman.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Whitney; his five children, Jim and Becky Whitney, Kenny and Tanya Whitney, Kelly and Sarah Whitney, and Justin and Brendee Whitney, all of Fort Morgan, Colo., and Diane and Matt Baker of Snyder, Colo.; 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild; three sisters, Esther Phillips of Spring, Texas, Twila Clark of Forrestville, Wis., and Mary Anne Johnson of Fort Morgan, Colo.; three brothers, Stanley Whitney of Fort Morgan, Colo., Ronald Whitney of Hermatiage, Mo., and Wayne Whitney of Scottsbluff, Neb.; as well as many nieces, nephews, and extended family.

At Delbert’s request, there will be no services. ❖

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