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March 06, 2014 8:36 am

Richard D. ‘Rick’ Wilder

(March 28, 1950 - March 2, 2014)

Richard D. “Rick” Wilder, 63, died March 2, 2014, at University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, following recent cardiac complications. His life partner, Mary Motsenbocker, was at his side.

Born March 28, 1950, in Laramie, Rick grew up in Cody and was a graduate of Cody High School in 1968. While attending the University of Wyoming, he married Wardi Keevert Reber in 1970. Together they had two children, Rikki Lynn and Michael Ward. Rikki and her husband Steve Pomajzl live in Cody with daughters Sydney, 14, and Kelsey, 7.

His granddaughters brought endless joy to Rick’s life, whether time spent racking up tickets at Chucky Cheese or sitting on the beach in Kauai.

Michael predeceased Rick in 1994.

Special family memories during the early years of his children’s lives include weekends at the cabin in Crandall, boating and waterskiing at Yellowtail Reservoir, ski trips in Jackson and traveling to countless swim meets and baseball games around the region, with history lessons along the way.

Rick delighted in being the No. 1 fan of his children and grandchildren, and his voice could be heard above the roar of the crowd.

His ability to capture life from behind the viewfinder of his camera has provided his family lasting memories. And there was no denying his love of barbecuing … anything and everything on the Weber grill.

Rick was a visionary at an early age and devoted vast amounts of time, energy and passion to the advancement of the Cody community — from selling postcards at the Buffalo Bill Dam to owning/operating United Farm Agency. Rick’s service to Cody included acting as the executive director of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, working to develop projects such as the Main Street beautification and initiating commercial air service to Cody.

He was proud to be an active member of the Cody Volunteer Fire Department for many years and loved giving his granddaughters a ride on “Double Aught” whenever possible.

Rick also had a special love for airplanes and tourism. In the late 1980s, he became actively involved in promoting Cody and Yellowstone Park to international visitors through an innovative regional program, American Rockies International.

Anyone who knew Rick’s thirst for information, his vast knowledge and love of books, also knew he had a true passion for Park County and U.S. history.

Rick represented the state of Wyoming as an adviser to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and later served as Advisor Emeritus. He also served on the advisory board for the Wyoming Division of Tourism. From 1998-2000, Rick served as executive director for Colorado Travel & Tourism Authority (CTTA) prior to the legislative establishment of today’s Colorado Tourism Office (CTO).

The family was grateful to be given the gift of the last two weeks of Rick’s life to share memories, have moments of laughter and enjoy strength in his healing. They are comforted to know there was true peace in his heart.

Rick gave so much and took so little. His ability to share his knowledge and mentor others was his gift to the world.

Rick and his infectious laugh that came from deep within his soul will never be forgotten. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Rick is survived by his life partner Mary Motsenbocker of Denver; mother Marge Wilder of Cody; daughter Rikki Lynn (Steve) Pomajzl; granddaughters Sydney and Kelsey, brother Steve (Sherry) Wilder of Las Vegas; sister Jean Wilder of Cody; brother Tom (Jackie) Wilder of Cody; uncle Tom (Angie) Fryer of Manhattan, Kan.; and many nieces and nephews that he loved very much.  

He was also preceded in death by his father Richard R. Wilder, brother Mike Wilder and both sets of grandparents.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at Trinity Lutheran Church, with a celebration of life following at Olive Glenn Golf and Country Club. Private family interment will be Monday at Riverside Cemetery.

A memorial service is also being planned in Denver for a future date. Online memorial is available at ballardfh.com.

Memorial donations can be made in Rick’s name to Cody Volunteer Fire Department Memorial Fund, 1125 11th St., Cody, WY, 82414, or Cody Heritage Museum, P.O. Box 701, Cody, WY, 82414.

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