Wheatland Mayor Joseph John Fabian, 70, the son of Thomas and Isabel (Rizzi) Fabian, was born in Rock Springs on Sunday, Sept. 14, 1947. After battling cancer for two years, he died at Platte County Memorial Hospital in the arms of his caring wife, Linda, and his dear brother Brent on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Joe was raised in Cheyenne, graduating from East High School in 1966. He went to the University of Wyoming before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1968. Joe served on the USS Dahlgren and the USS Rickett as a sonar technician on major antisubmarine warfare systems. At the Naval Base in San Diego he was an instructor at the Fleet Antisubmarine Warfare Training Center. He always credited his military service as having taught him the skills that eventually landed him a job with the Laramie River Station in 1978, from which he retired in 2010.
In 1992 Joe met the love of his life, Linda Rollins, in Cheyenne. They married on Aug. 27, 1994, and their blended family included one son and three daughters. While still sustaining their mainstream jobs, Joe and Linda opened Dance Wyoming, a Wheatland studio that has served the town and its citizens for the last 20 years. They were dance instructors and competed professionally on the dance circuit in events throughout the United States and Canada, creating a dance family of friends from around the world. Joe’s technical skills gave him an opportunity to become a certified dance judge, a very challenging and rewarding job. They won a WORLD dance championship in 2011 and retired from competition to focus on growing the studio, and to take a more active role in the community, including renovating a historic building and living “upstairs downtown.” As a member of the Wheatland Kiwanis Club, Joe served as co-chair of the club’s primary fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars. He delighted in working with adult members of the community who were brave enough to sign on as competitors! His dry sense of humor, oftentimes misunderstood, provided for many memorable times at the studio.
Joe was a devout Christian who enjoyed teaching Bible doctrine and went on to receive a master’s degree in doctrine theology from the Goldengate Seminary. He loved teaching Sunday school at Memorial Baptist Church and delivering sermons when called upon. Four years ago, he participated in a mission to South Africa, an opportunity that deeply touched him and became one of his fondest memories.
In 2014 Joe successfully campaigned for mayor of Wheatland, a position he held up until his death. As Wheatland’s 29th mayor, Joe was deeply proud of his service to the community. Under his leadership cost savings of more than $1.5 million dollars were realized and collected in the general fund, and the Solid Waste Transfer Station project and many others were completed on time and under budget. He took pride in dedicating himself as a full-time mayor for the benefit of Wheatland and its citizens. He was in the throes of campaigning for re-election when his health declined, causing him to make the difficult decision to withdraw. The late stages of his illness didn’t stop him from fulfilling his duties as mayor, even signing correspondence up until the day he passed. Joe was so proud of the people he worked with at the town and saw the potential of each. He often said that serving as mayor was one of the most important things he ever did, and his hope was that future leaders will continue moving the community forward. The Town Council recently designated each July 9th as “Wheatland Mayor’s Day” in honor of Mayor Joe Fabian.
Joe was an active member of the Wyoming State Main Street Advisory Board, Wyoming Association of Municipalities, Wyoming State Historical Society, Wheatland Kiwanis Club, Platte County Chamber, Platte County Main Street and many others.
Joe is survived by his parents, Thomas and Isabel Fabian, of Cheyenne; his wife, Linda; their four children, Kim (Rick) Amen, of Cheyenne, Travis (Blythe) Rollins, of Pullman, Washington, Leah Fabian, of Casper, and Sara Fabian, of Fort Laramie; seven grandchildren, Corey Amen, Heather Amen, Kadin Marcus, Samantha Evans, Luke Martinez, Honor Wickam and Kylie Rae Rollins; brother Brent (Susan) Fabian, of Cheyenne; nephews David (Shannon) Fabian, of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Matt (Annie) Fabian, of Washington, D.C.; sister-in-law Georgia (Jim) Moore, of Douglas; a blended family of many other beloved nieces and nephews; and LOTS of Fabian cousins!
Joe’s funeral services will be held Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. at Memorial Baptist Church in Wheatland with Pastor Craig Cagle officiating and military honors accorded by Laramie Peak VFW Post 3558 and Ora Call American Legion Post No. 10. Inurnment will be at the Wheatland Cemetery.
The family requests memorials be made to the Platte County Memorial Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 1031, Wheatland, WY 82201, or to the Wheatland Kiwanis Club Scholarship Fund in care of Erik Eddington, P.O. Box 703, Wheatland, WY 82201.
Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Rick Tripp, Tim Olind, David Wessel, Thane Ashenhurst, Steve Peasley, Ty Battershell, Jeremy Haroldson, Bill Britz, Richard Johnson, Mick Mickelsen, Lyle Ramsey, Herschel Pruitt, Steve Parmley, Scott Bednasek, C.A. Thomas, Slick Seidel and Rick Robbins.
The Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel of Wheatland is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.gormanfh.com.