Obituaries for June 26
Sara Jayne Poppe, 41
Aug. 13, 1975 – June 8, 2017
On Thursday, June 8, 2017 Sara Jayne Poppe, of Gunnison was called to eternal rest.
Sara was the eldest of Vince and Lori Poppe’s two children, and was born in Oregon City, Ore. in 1975. The Poppe family moved to the Gunnison Valley in 1977, where they lived and ranched first in Ohio City, Colo. and later on the Cross Bar Ranch, Sargents, Colo., for near 20 years. Sara had most recently moved to help on the family’s ranch in Plevna, Mont.
Sara was an incredible mother, the truest of cowgirls, and a highly respected law enforcement officer.
Her sincere kindness, contagious smile and adept abilities defined Sara. If a person wasn’t a friend of Sara, she simply hadn’t met them yet. She dedicated her life to the Lord, ranching and law enforcement. But without a doubt her greatest love was her son, Cade Sampson, of Gunnison.
Sara professed the ‘cowboy way’ her entire life. It was easy to see she appreciated a fine horse, a good dog, a sharp knife, a strong cup of coffee and a well-sighted in firearm; she didn’t go without them. And she was as true a friend as one could have. If she knew someone needed help, she’d simply ask what time, and did she need to bring a horse. She wasn’t afraid to jerk her rope down, bring along a pan of coffee cake, or help change a tire on the trailer. Sara was excellent to task, on anything asked of her.
Sara’s love for athletics and hunting was evident her entire life A gifted athlete; she played many sports, including basketball at the University of Wyoming.
Sara finished her degree at Western State University and established a law enforcement career that would last nearly 15 years in the Durango, Crested Butte and Boulder, Colo., communities. Those who worked closely with her describe her as dedicated, diligent, compassionate and competent. Throughout her career, Sara continued her education in criminology, attending several targeted trainings, schools and workshops over the years, earning numerous accreditations. Mentoring kids and young people was also very important to Sara. To say that she was influential to youngsters in every community she lived in would simply be an understatement.
Sara was deeply rooted in the family’s cattle operation in Nebraska and Montana. She passed away at the ranch in Fallon, Mont. She is survived by her son, Cade Sampson of Gunnison, Colo.; parents, Vince and Lori Poppe of Alliance, Neb.; brother, Jake (Bree) Poppe (Tate, Trace) of Fallon, Mont.; grandparents, Dick and Jackie Treadway of Glade Park, Colo.; great aunt, Judy Gage-Johanson; aunt, Deb (Tim) Hurtt of Ga.; cousins, Cody (Andrea) McKinley (Raleigh, Marley) of Encinitas, Calif., Andrea (Rob) McKinley-Moore (Tanner, Peyton, Lainey, Brode) of Ga., Ryan (Amanda) Hurtt, Ga., Tyler Hurtt, Edd (Karen) Burwell (children Ben, Chrisse) of Chico, Calif.; uncles, Mike Poppe (Michael), Weippe of Idaho, Jeff Poppe (Josh, Laura) of La Grande, Ore., Jack Poppe of Gunnison, Colo., in addition to many other cousins and extended family members.
Cremation has taken place and Sara is now at home in the arms of Jesus Christ. A celebration of her life and memorial took place at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center and Fairgrounds in Gunnison, CO 81230.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Sara’s honor to Hunt of a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization with a mission to grant hunting and fishing dreams for children who have been diagnosed with life threatening illnesses, or the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys or Back the Blue Colorado.
Ben Kern, 90
Sept. 9, 1926 – June 12, 2017
Ben Kern, 90, of Evansville died June 12, 2017, in Evansville.
For more than 50 years, Ben traveled the overland trails of the American West. He began leading wagon trains in Oregon in the 1960s and since 1993 took wagons over the major emigrant trails including the Oregon, Mormon, California, Goodale, Bozeman, Cherokee South Branch, Overland and Cheyenne-Deadwood routes.
Through the years he took part in many film reenactments including all films for the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center in Casper, the “In Pursuit of a Dream” documentary for the Oregon-California Trails Association, and other films for the Discovery Channel, History Channel, BBC and other production outlets.
Benny Leroy Kern was born Sept. 9, 1926, in Bridgeport, Neb. to Lloyd and Ila Case Kern. He came to Wyoming with his family at age 9 and with his father began working on ranches in the Arlington/Rock River area. By the time he was a teenager he quit school and went to work as a cowboy on ranches near Medicine Bow, Elk Mountain and Encampment before enlisting in the U.S. Navy where he served as a machinist on the USS Ormsby and the USS Jason from 1944 to 1947 earning many meritorious medals.
After his service, he returned to Wyoming, worked on ranches near Rawlins and Buffalo, and then went to Oregon. He spent many years in Oregon working for the Oregon State Highway Department, as a light and heavy equipment operator, and in ranch work.
Ben again returned to Wyoming where he became a light equipment operator for the city of Casper. Following his retirement, he worked on a variety of ranches and he became a wagon master driving or leading wagons across the emigrant trails. In 2016, he donated his wagon to the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, where it has become an exhibit to interpret his trail travels.
Ben was married three times, to Shannon Kay Mangan, Billie Louise, and Viola Coley. He had a son, Kit Kern; a daughter, Kelly Kern Whitaker; three grandsons, one granddaughter and many stepchildren.
He is survived by his son, Kit Kern and brother, Bob Kern, both of Oregon; his grandchildren, stepchildren, and many other relatives and friends. His three wives and his daughter all preceded him in death.
Funeral services were held June 19 at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery, 80 Veterans Road, Evansville, Wyo.
Marvin Keith Spayd, 47
Dec. 16, 1969 – June 16, 2017
Keith Spayd, 47, of Hudson was called home to be with the Lord on June 16, 2017. He was born Dec. 16, 1969, to Marvin and JoAnn (Dechant) Spayd. He resided in the Hudson area all his life and graduated from Weld Central High School in 1988, along with receiving welding certificates from Aims Community College.
Keith worked with his family’s business for many years after high school. He loved every aspect of the hay/farming business. He also hauled cattle during this time where he made many friends. Later, he decided to go out on his own.
Keith married Kimberly (Dreiling) in 2002 and had two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth and Emily. Keith never met a stranger and was always willing to help someone in need. He loved his big trucks, his Camaro, hunting, fishing and a good laugh.
Keith is survived by his wife, Kimberly; two daughters, Elizabeth and Emily of Hudson; father, Marvin of Hudson; brother, Patrick (Cheryl) of LaSalle, Colo.; sister, Stacey of Hudson; nephews, Alex, Ben, Taylor and Tate; a niece, Tamber; and numerous uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.
He is preceded in death by his mother, JoAnn; brother, Daniel; grandfather, Vernon Spayd; and his grandparents, Alvin and Josephine Dechant.
Services were held on June 23, 2017, at Zion Lutheran Church, Brighton, Colo. Internment was at Elmwood Cemetery in Brighton. ❖