Obituaries: Burris III, VanDerWilt, Waldock


Leon Pennington Burris, III: 1934 – 2022

Leon Pennington (Penn) Burris, III of Casper died Monday, April 25, 2022, after a long battle with
Alzheimer’s disease.

He was a warm, kind and big-hearted man.

Born October 14, 1934 in Falls City, NE to Jean Lord and Leon P. Burris, Jr. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Grand Junction, CO where he spent his childhood and developed a love for the area and the outdoors, skiing in particular. After high school, Penn moved to Colorado, attending the University of Colorado at Boulder and then the University of Denver where he earned a BA in hotel and restaurant management.

Penn was a loving and loving husband to Donna June Bailey, also of Grand Junction, CO.

Although the two were raised in Grand Junction, CO, they weren’t dating in those early days… On April 21, 1957, Penn read an article in the local Denver newspaper about a Frontier Airline DC3 plane that hit the side of a mountain and lost 12 feet of the wing – the pilots had managed to hobble the crippled plane to the airport and a safe landing, saving everyone on board. Donna was a flight attendant on this flight and her image featured prominently on the cover of the newspaper. Penn knew immediately that she was on the one for him. He found her and they started dating, two years later on May 23, 1959 they got married.

Drafted into the U.S. Army, Penn and Donna moved around a bit until they finally landed in Cheyenne WY only to have Penn called back into the military a second time at the start of the Berlin Wall crisis. After his second discharge from military service, the family, which now includes a daughter, put down roots in Casper, WY, where the family grew over the years with two more children, another daughter and a son.

Penn worked for a number of oil companies during his years at Casper, starting Burris Oil in late
1960s as a distributor for Texaco Oil, later becoming president of the National Oil Jobbers Association, and finally selling his oil company in the early 1980s to focus on commercial real estate development. His father Penn Burris Jr. joined him a few years later as a partner in The Burris Company.

Civic service was very important to Penn, and he was very active with Kiwanis International, the Special Olympics, and the Wyoming Reads program – helping to expand children’s books and reading to children regularly.

The passion for skiing never wavered and he passed on this joy of adventure to his children – the family was a regular at the Hogadon ski area. Penn and Donna loved traveling, visiting distant destinations in Africa, Europe, South America, but her favorite has always been Scotland.

He is survived by his wife, Donna Burris of Casper and three children: Whitney Burris of Denver CO, Courtney (Burris) and John Suranyi of Highlands Ranch, CO and L. Penn Burris IV and Jennifer Malone of Golden, CO. He is also survived by five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He was predeceased by his parents Jean Lord Burris and Leon P. Burris Jr – Casper, WY.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be mailed to Wyoming Reads, 1560 S. Walnut Street, Casper, Wyoming, 82601. That was one of Penn’s real joys.

Julia Elizabeth Weinrich VanDerWilt

Julia Elizabeth Weinrich VanDerWilt: 1946 – 2022

Julia was born on April 21, 1946 to Mamie and Ed Fesperman in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

In 1962, Julia met her first husband Jim Weinrich while stationed at Fort Bragg. They married on May 15, 1962 and made their home in Casper, Wyoming. Julia was quickly welcomed into the Weinrich family and remained a beloved member of the family even after their divorce. During their marriage, Jim and Julia welcomed 2 children, JR and Tina. Her children were the greatest love of her life.

Initially, Julia worked in the oil and gas industry until she realized her passion for cosmetology. She got her cosmetology license and opened Four Seasons Salon in 1974. She often dreamed of working for Redken and even said while walking past Redken headquarters while on a family vacation, that she would one day make that dream come true. a reality, what she did. In 1983 Julia accepted a position with Redkin Laboratories and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Julia loved working for Redken and eventually became Educational Events Manager for the company. She has been described by many colleagues as genuine, passionate, always smiling and above all classy. Her shoes matched her handbag; she always dressed for success and was even called Mrs. Redken herself.

The year 1983 was filled with many wonderful opportunities for Julia. Not only did she start the career of her dreams, but she also met the man she would later marry and spend the next 40 years with.

Jim VanDerWilt and Julia were married on August 12, 1995. They made Denver, Colorado their home, but split their time between Denver and their Lake Home, Minnesota.

Jim and Julia’s time at the lake was spent with family and friends on the water, and their time in Denver was spent antiquing and tending to their garden, tomato plants and flowers. Julia’s favorite roses. Lots of wonderful memories were made at their Lake Home which made it difficult to sell it in 2016, but they did it and became snowbirds. From then on, they divided their time between Denver and Arizona. Julia loved Arizona where she could be seen driving her red Ford Mustang and spending time with her friends Marge and Linda.

Julia won her wings in her home in Arizona on April 2, 2022 with her family by her side after fighting a fearless battle with cancer. When Julia was diagnosed with cancer, she was given a 6 month window to live. However, Julia said she was not a quitter and fought gracefully and boldly for 9 months. Her favorite song, My Way, would become her legacy, because even sick, she did it her way.

She is deeply missed by her family and friends.

She is survived by her husband, Jim VanDerWilt, her children, JR (Suzanne) Weinrich, Tina (John) Hunsicker, Brian VanDerWilt, 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

She is predeceased by Robert & Lorene Weinrich, Thomas and Julie Weinrich, Erving & Tillie VanDerWilt, Calvin VanDerWilt, Marla VanDerWilt, Sheryl Noreen, Bill & Sarah Shaffer, and Casey & Mamie Kaukluck.

In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that you make a donation to the Breast Cancer or Lung Cancer Foundation of your choice in Julia’s name.

A Celebration of Life will be held on July 2, 2022 from 1-3 p.m. at VFW Post 9439 located at 1800 Bryan Stock Trail in Casper, WY.

“I’ve lived a full life, I’ve driven every highway, and more, much more than that, I’ve done it my way” -Frank Sinatra

Karan Ray Waldock

Karan Ray Waldock: 1946 – 2022

Karan Waldock, 76, passed from earth into the arms of her Heavenly Father on May 10, 2022.

She was doing what she loved, getting her garden ready for the summer season as she looked forward to countless gatherings with family and friends.

Karan was born on March 12, 1946 in Bakersfield, California during an earthquake…the earth was shaking when Karan was born. She was born to Fritz (Jack) and Bonita Adams. Karan’s father worked in the oil field and they bounced from town to town until they finally ended up in Gillette, Wyoming where Karan graduated from high school.

Karan continued his education at Casper College. It was during this time that she met the love of her life, her lifelong companion and friend, Mike Waldock. On June 26, 1965, Mike married Karan in Casper, Wyoming. They had two children, Stacy Murphy (JD) and Matthew Waldock (Chris).

Mike and Karan have been married for 54 years. Mike predeceased her in October 2019.

Karan has spent most of her married life as a housewife raising Matt and Stacy. She loved every part of being their mother. They often came home from school with fresh cookies and a hot, home-cooked meal. Dinner was spent around the table discussing the day’s events.

Karan has three grandchildren Mariah, Christian and River; great-grandson Remington and great-granddaughter Delilah who was the light of his life. She loved them and they loved their Mimi. She would often be caught telling them that she loved them more!

She loved and served the Lord all her days. Karan lived by the motto “Choose Joy”. Joy for life, family and God. The word “joy” was everywhere in his house. She brought “joy” to everyone in her life.

We will miss her for the rest of our days, until we meet again. Knowing that she is with Mike and our Heavenly Father brings us great comfort. The service will be held on: Monday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m. at Bethel Baptiste.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to PEO of which Karan was a part. It is a philanthropic educational organization whose mission is to educate women through loans, grants, and scholarships. Make checks payable to:

Dyan Durst
6655 Westland Road.
Casper, Wyoming 82604


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