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October 28, 2008 3:43 am

Super 8 fire memories

Safety always is on Matt McCaslin's mind when he or his family stay at any motel.

“I pay closer attention to where the exits are and try to get rooms on the first floor,” he said on Monday, one year after the Super 8 Motel fire in Powell.

“That's been kind of a major change just for my whole family,” he said.

McCaslin, of the Powell Police Department, helped pull Jason Ascheman of Billings from the Super 8 Motel just in time to save his life as the motel burned during the early-morning hours of Oct. 27, 2007.

“I can still see Mr. Ascheman's face as we got him out of the motel,” he said.

October 28, 2008 3:39 am

Ladies First

PHS girls claim state title

In August, the new version of Powell High School opened its doors for its first-ever school year. Less than two months later, the Lady Panther cross country team became the first sports squad at the new venue to claim a state title.

The Lady Panthers placed five runners in the top 20 during the Class 3A state meet at the Sheridan V.A. Hospital grounds last Saturday. In the process, they dethroned 2007's state championship team — the Jackson Lady Broncs.

They also held off a host of other title contenders en route to their memorable performance.

Oddly enough, the Lady Panthers, a team loaded with competitors who were part of the 2006 state championship squad, were paced by a pair of newcomers — freshmen Desiree Murray and Alyssa Rodriguez. Murray finished Saturday as the fourth-fastest runner in a field consisting of more than 70 competitors with a time of 20:23.09, and Rodriguez placed seventh with a 21:05.66. By virtue of their top-10 finishes, Murray and Rodriguez both earned all-state honors.



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Powell High School's Brandon Sullivan (right) follows behind lineman Tyler Showalter for a 15-yard gain during the second quarter of last Friday's Class 4A, West Conference showdown between No. 1 Cody and the fourth-ranked Panthers. Tribune photo by David Dickey

PHS to face Lander in week one of playoffs

The top-ranked Cody High School Broncs claimed Class 4A's West Conference crown Friday by edging No. 4 Powell 14-6 at C.R. “Spike” Vannoy Memorial Stadium in Cody.

Much like PHS head coach Jim Stringer predicted, the game was a low-scoring affair, and the team that made the fewest mistakes came out on top.

“We had so many miscues,” said Stringer, whose team lost three fumbles and suffered an interception. “From an offensive perspective, we had things set up well, but we weren't able to execute like we should have. We also had mistakes on the defensive side that hurt us.”

October 28, 2008 3:35 am

Panthers take ninth at state meet

Sullivan notches team's top finish

Powell High School's boys cross country team put the finishing touches on a solid season by recording a ninth-place finish at the Class 3A state meet at the Sheridan V.A. Hospital grounds last Saturday afternoon.

Senior Patrick Sullivan, one of the Panthers' top runners all season long, paced the effort by recording the team's top finish. He placed 33rd out of a field of more than 80 runners with a time of 19:18.40. Close behind and in 38th place was sophomore Patrick Voss, who notched a time of 19:25.52. Danny McKearney, another of PHS's sophomore runners, added a 39th-place effort with a time of 19:29.19.

The Panthers' remaining runners — junior Devin Lynn, sophomore Tyler McCauley, junior Colton Smith and senior Jake Firnekas — placed 59th, 60th, 62nd and 70th, respectively.

Firnekas, who was initially in the role of the alternate runner for the state meet, got a chance to compete Saturday when senior Alex Speiser opted out of the event due to a recent hip injury, according to PHS head coach Cliff Boos.

Speiser, who enjoyed a strong showing at the Class 3A, West Conference meet on Oct. 17, would have entered the state event as PHS's No. 4 runner.

“As the week went along, he kept having trouble with his injury,” Boos said. “With him out of the lineup, it gave Jake a chance to run.”

The Panthers entered the event after claiming the third-place trophy at the West Conference meet just more than a week prior to the season-ending state event. The team had its sights set on earning a trophy Saturday, but a strong contingent of squads from the East Conference prevented that from happening. East Conference teams — Douglas, Lander and Newcastle — took the top three spots Saturday. Worland was the highest placing team from the West with its fourth-place effort. However, despite the East's strong showing, it was a runner from the West Conference who took the No. 1 spot in the individual standings. Jackson's Andy Phillips, the top finisher at the West Conference meet, claimed the top spot with a time of 17:19.51. He finished just ahead of Lander's Luke Bromley, who posted a time of 17:22.32.

“There were a lot of strong teams from the east side of the state,” Boos said. “You just never know how those things are going to work out when you get to state. We've got some strong teams in our conference, but quite a few of the teams from the east side had a great day.”

For the Panthers, they will lose four runners to graduation at the end of this school year — Sullivan, Speiser, Dallas Robirds and Firnekas. However, like the PHS girls squad, they will have a solid team back next season, including a strong group of sophomores, which includes state qualifiers Voss, McKearney and McCauley.

“We had a lot of young kids this year, and I thought they did well throughout the season,” Boos said. “They all wanted to do well, and they worked hard and got better each week.”

Team Results
Class 3A State Meet
1. Douglas (51 points)
2. Lander (67)
3. Newcastle (75)
4. Worland (126)
5. Jackson (127)
6. Buffalo (192)
7. Lovell (215)
8. Cody (221)
9. Powell (224)
10. Torrington (244)
11. Rawlins (247)
12. Lyman (254)

October 28, 2008 3:28 am

Erwin D. ((Babe) Funke

(April 7, 1920 - Oct. 25, 2008)

On Saturday, Oct. 25, Erwin D. (Babe) Funke opened his eyes, and he had one arm around his wife, Jean, and the other around his grandson, Reece. He whispered, “I've been wondering where you two went.” He was surrounded by family and friends who had passed before him. His eyes filled with tears of joy; his heart was full of love, and he felt like whistling again.

Erwin Delos Funke, long-time owner of a Powell dry cleaning establishment, died at his Powell home. He was 88.

In Hollenberg, Kans., on April 7, 1920, his eldest sister, Viola, came out of the birthing room and announced to her younger sisters that “Mom had another damn boy.” He was the “Babe” of Ernest and Augusta Funke's nine children.

While growing up, he enjoyed reading and playing basketball and baseball. He quit smoking at the age of 7, worked on the family farm and bootlegged whiskey with his brothers. The Funke Boys were well known in Kansas.

He graduated from high school and moved to Wyoming. He did some ranch work and then worked for Allen Klindt at his clothing and dry cleaning store. He joined the Army in 1942 and served in the 255th Anti-Aircraft Artillery

Automatic Weapons Battalion in the Aleutian Islands. After his discharge in 1945, he hitchhiked back to Kansas, moved to Wyoming and married Mary Jane (Jean) Anania on Oct. 10, 1949. They bought the cleaners and started their family.

Babe enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids in sports and enjoyed being around them. His grandsons were special to him, and he was so proud and thankful to have them. He was a firm believer that a hard day's work would never hurt anyone. He loved to dance with his wife, play bridge and poker with friends and watch boxing on TV. He enjoyed being with his boat club friends and participating in the summer activities (his CB handle was Mr. Clean), fishing off the boat and his profession.

He was a member of the Big Horn Basin Boat Club, Elks, American Legion, Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus and the Powell Chamber of Commerce. He was a loving husband, dad and gramps; an honest, hard-working businessman and nice guy. He will be greatly missed by his family; he was always there for them and helped teach them what was important in life. His passion for his work has been passed on to the next generation.

Survivors include his son, Dan Funke (Maureen Howard) of Las Cruces, N.M.; his daughter, Terry K. (Larry) Schleich of Powell; brother, Fritz Funke of Emblem; sister-in-law, Terry Hilliard of Powell; grandsons, Mike (Tanya) Funke and great-grandson, Mikey of Gig Harbor, Wash., and A.J. Schleich of Billings, Mont.; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Jean; grandson, Reece Schleich; three sisters, Viola Boston, Elma Sand and Helen McIntosh; and four brothers, Bill, Lou, Dan and Bud Funke.

Funeral Mass will be Friday, Oct. 31 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Barbara's Catholic Church. Burial will be in Crown Hill Cemetery under the direction of Thompson Funeral Home.

For those who wish, memorials may be sent to the Reece Schleich Wrestling Fund at Northwest College or to a charity of choice.

October 28, 2008 3:18 am

Clyde Ronald Tryon

(Oct. 4, 1939 - Oct. 22, 2008)

A memorial service is set today (Tuesday, Oct. 28) at 2 p.m. at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody for Clyde Ronald Tryon, 69, who died Wednesday, Oct. 22 in Cody.

He was born Oct. 4, 1939, to Clyde and Viola Tryon in Sheridan. Clyde lived most of his life in Wyoming. He married Joyce Gibbs of Buffalo in 1962.

They moved to Cody in 1966, where he worked for Cody Tire and then Kinkade Construction. He spent many years building locations in the oil fields of Oregon Basin. In later years, he managed West Strip Discount Liquor until he retired in 1997.

He loved life and was happiest outdoors — hunting fishing, camping and four wheeling with his family and friends.

Survivors include his wife, Joyce; daughters, Viola Tryon and Mary Lou Bunting; sons, Ron (Pam) Tryon and Will Tryon; granddaughters, Ashli Tryon and Raegan Bunting; grandson, Raef Bunting; and great-granddaughter, Alexis LaBlue; sisters, Frieda (Don) Turley, Barbara Jean (Merle) Daly and Elaine (Roy) Rentz; brother, Rex (Ann) Tryon; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; younger brother, Tony; and grandson, Michael Jefferson.
Cremation has taken place.

Clarification is in order
Powell Tribune advertising and editorial staff members recently were asked about the paper's policy regarding “check-passing” photos — pictures of a person handing a check, usually a donation, to someone else.

We want to clarify the policy.

With limited space available in each issue of the paper, we strive to use photos that convey the story best. Like most newspapers, we favor photos of events over staged photos.

We are lucky to live in a generous community, and we want to let our readers know when individuals and organizations contribute to worthy causes.

We simply want to encourage people to think of creative ways to tell about contributions. In most cases, a check-passing photo doesn't tell the whole story. A donation to a community food bank can be better illustrated by showing donors filling the cupboards. Or, if an individual contributes funds to purchase a new TV for the senior center, imagine how a photo of seniors enjoying their new TV could show money well spent.

We also welcome typed or e-mailed press releases notifying us of donations and contributions. Please make sure releases contain contact information so we can reach you if we have questions. Press releases of this nature will run in our “Community News” section as soon as space allows.

As a community newspaper, we want to cover the good work of the people and businesses in our town.

We just ask that people try to work with us to tell their stories in the best way possible.

April 01, 2004 5:47 am

Jack Meyers

(June 5, 1931 - April 30, 2003)

Word has been received here of the April 30 death of Jack Meyers, former Garland area resident, in Juneau, Alaska, of an apparent heart attack. He was 71.

He was born June 5, 1931, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyers of Garland. He attended schools in Powell and graduated from Powell High School in 1950.

He retired from the U.S. Navy and moved to Haines, Alaska. He worked for the highway department there for 10 years and then retired.

Survivors include his wife Dorothy of Haines,; a son, Randy, of Haines; a daughter, Kathy, of Seattle, Wash.; sisters Kathryn Brown and Mary Burns of Cody, Loretta Johannes and Clara Barber of Billings, Mont., and Ethel Heimer of Powell; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Bud, of Powell.

(March 19, 1915 - April 28 , 2003)

Katherine (Katharina) Fink Wegner, 88, of Powell, and formerly of Belfry, Mont., died Monday, April 28 at the Powell Valley Care Center, only five days after the death of her husband, Solomon.

For the last days of her life, she was surrounded by her family, friends, Pastor Larry Veland and the Powell Valley Care Center staff.

She was born east of Powell on March 19, 1915, to her Volga German immigrant parents, Carl and Amelia Fink. She was baptized into the Christian faith in 1915 and was confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church at Lovell in 1931.

After living on various farms in the Powell/Lovell areas, her parents settled on their own farm east of Lovell. She began school at Sunlight School and later attended parochial school until the eighth grade. She began high school at Kane and graduated from Lovell High School in 1935. Following graduation, she worked as a sales clerk, nanny and on area dude ranches.

On July 2, 1943, she married Solomon Wegner while he was on furlough from the U.S. Marine Corps. They were married in Billings, and following the wedding, she went back to Lovell, and Solomon went off to war. Always the frugal one, she took their savings and purchased their first home in Lovell. When her husband returned after his discharge, they began their 60-year journey together.
In 1948, the couple moved to their farm north of Belfry with their two young sons. They sold their farm in 1970 and moved into Belfry. She continued to cook for the Belfry schools until her retirement.

She loved her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and family. She loved to cook and sew and took great pride in her yard and flower gardens.

Survivors include two sons, Dennis (Barbara) Wegner of Powell and Stanley (Regina) Wegner of Park City, Mont.; grandsons Lee Wegner and family of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Peter Wegner and family of Tigeras, N.M.; granddaughters Bety Wegner of San Francisco, Calif., Adrienne Wegner of Billings, and Allison Wegner and family of Park City; two brothers, Fred Fink of Chicago and Albert Fink of Lovell; five great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband Solomon; her parents; a sister, Amelia Clem; and brothers Alex, William, Carl and infant Alfred Fink.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 3 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Belfry, her church home for over 50 years. A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 2 at the church. Burial will be in the Belfry Cemetery.

Memorial may be given to Lutheran Hour Ministries, 660 Mason Ridge Center, St. Louis, MO 63141 or to a charity of choice.

April 28, 2003 5:43 am

Orland (Skip) Johnson

(March 28, 1936 - April 26, 2003)

Graveside services with military honors will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, May 2 in the Bearcreek, Mont., Cemetery for Orland (Skip) Johnson of Powell who died Saturday, April 26 at Deaconess Billings Clinic. He was 67.

He was born March 28, 1936, in Grand Junction, Colo., son of Orlande and Margaret Hughes Johnson. A veteran of four years service in the U.S. Navy, he served aboard an oil tanker during the Korean War.

On Jan. 9, 1962, he married Christine (Tienie) McDonald in Red Lodge, Mont. The couple lived and worked in Riverton for years, then moved to South Dakota where he worked for the Bureau of Reclamation for 10 years. In retirement, they settled in Powell.

He was artistic and an accomplished woodworker. He was an avid golfer, his favorite hobby. His family wish for him is: May the golf courses in heaven be green every day - with no water hazards.

Survivors include his wife, Christine Johnson of Powell; four daughters, Tammy (David) Shanks of Shepherd, Mont., Lori Johnson of Billings, Deanna (Duane) Johnson of Billings, and Linda (Ed) Johnson of Powell; two half-brothers, Jerry and Clyde Johnson of Riverton; his step-father, Stan Hamilton of Riverton; and eight grandchildren, Danielle, Brian, Heather, Justin, Misty, Tina, Savannah and Phillip; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Orlande and Margaret Johnson; and his step-mother, Dorothy Johnson.