Funeral services for Raymond Neil Stugart, 79, will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 1 p.m.. at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wheatland, with Father Tom Kadera officiating. Interment will be in the Wheatland Cemetery.
Neil peacefully passed away following a long illness, on Thursday, May 9, 2013 surrounded by his family, friends and faithful dog, Dayzee, at the Platte County Memorial Nursing Home in Wheatland.
Neil was born Nov. 23, 1933, in Wheatland the son of Alexander and Anna Margaret (Bohl) Stugart. He was raised on the Wheatland flats where he farmed alongside his parents and brothers. He loved playing basketball during school and graduated from Wheatland High School in 1952. Due to poor crops that year, he went to town to find a job and was hired by Mountain Bell Telephone Company as a lineman where his route ran from Chugwater, to the Montana border. On May 6, 1953, he married the love of his life, Joan L. Cook, and they began their life together having recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
His career carried his new family across northern and eastern Wyoming converting systems to dial or constructing phone service to many towns for the first time. In 1953 to 1954, he worked in the Jackson Hole area to string the first telephone lines from Dubois to Roosevelt Lodge in the park. It was an adventurous undertaking, with Stugart and 13 other workers bringing their families to live at a base camp on Togwotee Pass. Four-wheel drive vehicles couldn’t do the job so the crew carried the equipment on their backs and on mules rented from a local rancher. He was transferred to Cheyenne in 1957, where he installed “key” systems for large businesses and also teletype systems. He was also involved in bringing modern services to Wheatland which became the first town in the state to have touch-tone dialing. In 1959, he was transferred to his home town of Wheatland and was later promoted to systems technician and service foreman. In 1979, he was named as manager for the local area Mountain Bell. He retired in 1990 from Mountain West Phone Company following thirty seven plus years of service to Wyoming customers.
In 1967, he was asked by his high school friend, Keith Anderson, to help start the new “Anderson Ford-Mercury” automotive dealership in Wheatland. He loved people and selling cars evenings and weekends until moving to the dealership full-time in 1990. The dealership was later purchased by Chuck and Lori Ruwart and became Laramie Peak Motors. During his 45-plus years of sales, the team at the dealership provided quality, friendly service to customers, who often became their life-long friends. He was recognized many times by Ford Motor Company for his sales achievements, and the dealership established many records for outstanding sales levels. His hobbies included elk and goose hunting, fishing, restoring and collecting classic Fords and raising registered horses on his farm west of town.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan of Wheatland; children, Ron Stugart (Barbara) of Gillette, Pegge Stutzman (Jeff Carbullido) of Las Vegas, and Susie Wann (Lonnie) of Yankton, S.D.; grandchildren, Michelle Merrick (Fred) of Las Vegas, Clay Teel (Kristin) of Great Bend, Kans., Cody Teel (Stacey) of Wheatland, Casidy Potts (Kurt) of Fordyce, Neb., Jamie Bennett (Nick) of Las Vegas, and Brandon Stutzman of Las Vegas; six great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Patricia Stugart of Fort Collins, Colo. and Barbara Stugart of Cheyenne; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Neil was preceded in death by his parents, Alexander and Anna, who were descendants of German-Russian immigrants from the Volga River valley of Russia. He is also joined in Heaven with his brothers, Arthur and Larry; infant grandson Nicholas; two nieces; and many uncles, aunts and cousins.
Serving as pallbearers will be Clay Teel, Al Teel, Mike Roberson, Bill Cowley, Gerald Edwards, Cody Teel, Gene Krakow, Chuck Ruwart, Brandon Stutzman, Jed Lane and Kurt Potts.
Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Keith Anderson, Laramie Peak Motors staff, Bob Dannels, Dorsey Mace, Dave Siedschlag, Johnnie Christensen, Brian Stugart, Bill Jesse, Marty Qualls, Fred Merrick and all of his friends and loyal Ford customers.
A memorial to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wyoming, P.O. Box 273, Casper, WY, 82602 would be appreciated by the family.
Family and friends may call at the funeral home on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Arrangements are under the direction of Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel of Wheatland.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.gormanfh.com.