Feb 20, 2014 - StaffRoger Lee Willenbrecht, of Lander, died unexpectedly and of natural causes Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, while snowmobiling on his Ski-Doo.
Funeral services were Thursday, Feb. 20, in the Chapel of Mount Hope at Hudson's Funeral Home in Lander. Burial followed at Mountain View Cemetery in Riverton.
Roger Willenbrecht, known as "Butch" by his close high school friends and as "Daddy Warbucks" by his self-proclaimed spoiled children, was born in Worland, the son of Ed and Carroll Willenbrecht. He grew up in Riverton where he learned the fine art of automobile maintenance from his stepfather, Rudy.
In Riverton, the skinny boy from West Lincoln Street married his childhood sweetheart, Linda, from East Lincoln Street.
He served in the U.S. Navy, and his family said he lived to tell about the Vietnam War and about playing his guitar on a Guam beach with all 10 of his fingers.
After his stint in the military, he and his wife settled in Lander. He woke up early every morning to work in the oilfields until he retired in 1998. On the weekends, he would pick up either a fishing pole or a rifle, depending on the season.
His family said retirement brought busier days. He made coffee and warmed a stool at NAPA Auto Parts every morning, where he often said to people, "I can fix that." From his well-equipped shop and creative machining came whatever part that would make "it" work. His family said he considered this to be the ministry God had given him, to help whomever he could with whatever he had. They said one statement summarizes the life of this much-respected man: "He always shoveled farther than his own sidewalk."
He is survived by his wife, Linda; children Christy and her husband Matt Fitzwater and their children Jayme and Caleb, and Arie and his wife Jennifer and their children Sarah, Claire and Emma; sisters Jean Ramphal and Carol Drager; and brother Tom Willenbrecht.
Memorial donations can be sent to Help for Health Van, 716 College View Drive, Suite B, Riverton, WY 82501.
Services are under the direction of Hudson's Funeral Home of Lander. An online guest book is available at www.HudsonsFuneralHome.com.
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