Ronald Ray Wilhelm, age 88, passed away peacefully in his home on Easter morning, Sunday, April 21. Ron was born at home in Wheatland on Jan. 27, 1931, the son of German immigrants Katherine (Fox) and John Wilhelm. He was one of nine children born to what he called the “beet field romance”.
He experienced great sadness and hardship early on. When Ron was 18, his father was killed in a car accident. This created a very challenging time for this farming family. Ron continued with school and graduated from Wheatland High School in 1949 and was soon drafted into the army during the Korean conflict. Upon returning home, Ron attended the University of Wyoming where he received his Bachelor of Science from the College of Agriculture in 1959 and later a Master of Science in Agriculture Education. Knowing he needed to help his mother in Wheatland after his father’s death, Ron returned to Wheatland to take an ag teaching job and was part of the FFA. It was during this time he met the love of his life, Janice Anderson. The two married in 1961 and started their family, having three children.
They eventually moved to Torrington where he took a new teaching and FFA position at Torrington High School. He later became a Realtor for Century 21 where he retired after 23 years.
Ron was a member of the VFW, American Legion, Masons, Elks and University of Wyoming Alumni Association to name a few. Some of the biggest parts of Ron’s life were his commitment to his church, faith and community. He was proud to be part of Septemberfest for twenty years and will forever consider The First Congregational Church in Torrington his home. Having served on the church board numerous times, he felt a sense of love and honor to his faith and dedication to the Lord.
After several health challenges, Ron and Jan decided to move to Sheridan to be closer to family who could help with their care. They were proud to call Torrington their home for 50 years. Ron used to say it wasn’t the end of his story leaving Torrington, just a turning of the page.
As all can attest, Ron had an infectious smile and was a friend and father/grandfather-figure to many. His biggest joys were times with his family and friends. Family was everything to Ron, and he cherished the time with his siblings, wife, children and grandchildren. Ron had tremendous pride for his country, Wyoming Cowboys, faith, family, and German heritage. He would say God blessed him with nine amazing grandchildren who continued to make him burst with pride each day.
Ronald is survived by his wife of 58 years, Janice, son Paul and (Heidi) Wilhelm daughters Mindy Emerson(Tim) and their four children, Miranda Haefele (Ty) and their son, and Madison of Casper; daughter Kelly and (Dave) Deming sons Nathan, Braydon, and Bryson of Billings, Mont.; daughter Kristi and (Greg) Von Krosigk and daughters Sara, Gracie and Avery of Sheridan; brother Marvin and (Ruth) Wilhelm of Denver, Colo., along with sister-in-law Janet Wilhelm and several beloved nieces and nephew. Ron was preceded in death by his father, mother and seven siblings, Leo Wilhelm, Dorothy Schmidt, Ernie Shepard, Viola Voight, Harvey Wilhelm, John Wilhelm, and Larry Wilhelm. His faith and trust in the Lord continued to give him his strength through his sadness and joys for the remainder of his life.
A celebration of Ron’s life will take place on Friday, April 26 at 10 am. at The First Congregational Church, 2102 East E Street in Torrington. Ron will be in placed in his final resting spot in the Wheatland cemetery at 2 p.m.
Memorials in Ronald’s honor may be made to The First Congregational Church in Torrington.