Ursula was born in Cheyenne on Sept. 14, 1922, to John and Loretta Manewal. Those early years were full of fun and excitement as Ursula grew up alongside her older brother, Bob. She worked in the family bakery, rode in parades dressed as Annie Oakley, participated in athletics, orchestra, girl scouting, and so much more. Ursula attended the University of Wyoming, graduating in 1944.
Ursula met Charles Kepler in their school days growing up in Cheyenne. They married at the height of World War II on April 26, 1944 while Charles was serving as an officer in the United States Army. After the war, Ursula and Charles lived in Michigan, Oklahoma and Wyoming, while Charles completed his law school education, and then taught law school courses himself.
Eventually, they settled in the place they loved most, and would call home for more than 60 years — Cody. Exactly 11 years to the day after she and Charles were married, Ursula gave birth to their only child, Loretta.
Ursula played the organ at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and often led the choir. She took part in many community musical events. She was an accomplished pianist, but she also played the flute, the violin, the harmonica, and pretty much anything that made music. She was a leader in Girl Scouting in Cody for all the years it has been in existence.
She thought that it was vitally important for people to know how to swim. Ursula must have taught hundreds, if not thousands, of people to swim. Ursula was still telling people of how she was working on a new way of perfecting the breast stroke when she was well into her 80s. Ursula loved to ski with her family and friends, particularly at Cody’s Sleeping Giant ski run near Yellowstone National Park.
And Ursula loved her husband, Charles. She called him “Mr. K.” They were wonderful to watch when they danced. They traveled the world together. All seven continents. Not just visiting — but trekking, learning the cultures, making lifelong friendships and bringing home mountains of photographs. She finished his stories for him. He quietly listened to hers.
And now, just four weeks after Charles passed away, Ursula has gone after him.
There was no end to the depth of their love and pride for their daughter, Loretta. They were a wonderful brother and sister to each of their brothers, Robert Manewal and Frosty Kepler. They were so proud of their grandson, Matt, and granddaughter, Claire.
A Funeral Mass for Ursula will be celebrated on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 10 a.m. at The Church of St. Anthony in Cody. Burial will follow at Riverside Cemetery.
Memorial donations can be made to the West Park Hospital Foundation for Spirit Mountain Hospice, the University of Wyoming, or the Girl Scouts of America. An online guestbook is available at www.ballardfh.com.