Genevieve Rose (“Johnnie”) Whitaker
1927 – 2019
Genevieve was born August 31, 1927 to Carl Henry and Katherine Echkardt in Loveland, Colorado but spent most of her life in Wyoming and was known to her friends as Johnnie. She died surrounded by her husband of 53 year, Robert E. (“Bob”) Whitaker, family and friends.
Johnnie grew up in Wyoming with six brothers and sisters only one of whom, Delores Kasner, survives her. Her parents and older brother, Elmer Eckhardt, were ranchers in Worland; her brother, Terry Eckhardt, was a high-school teacher and coach in Thermopolis; her sister, Lucille Bucholtz married a soldier in WW II and moved to California; her sisters JoAnn Lombardo Long and Irene Bott lived and worked in Casper and Worland while raising their families and her sister Delores and her husband, Bob, own a KAO campground in Douglas.
Johnnie exemplified everything good about this state. She hunted for elk in the Tetons, fished our beautiful lakes and rivers , camped in the mountains cooking over campfires, went snowmobiling and ice fishing in the winter and fussed over her roses in the summer. Johnnie could expertly clean the fish she caught and dress the elk she shot with her hair, makeup and nails perfectly done. She could cook as well as any gourmet chef and loved fixing meals with her beloved sisters and daughters, whether a huge Thanksgiving feast or a backyard barbecue.
Johnny loved country music, Las Vegas, fishing in the Tetons, playing bingo at the Elks Club and sitting with her sisters as they drank coffee, worked on their hair and told stories about growing up and working hard on the family ranch. Johnnie went to California after high school and drove a jeep for an Army major while helping out her older sister, Lucille, who had given birth to twins. Johnnie also lived in Kimball, Nebraska where she became an excellent bookkeeper and developed an interest in finance which was helpful when she and Bob later owned a trucking company and a truck sales company in Casper. Johnnie and Bob kept a winter home in Arizona so Johnnie could golf which she loved and kept up into her mid-eighties.
Although Johnnie’s life was filled with great joy she also lived with great sorrow. A Gold Star Mother, her beloved son, Kenneth Walter King, died in the Vietnam War. Her grandson, Michael Scott Strauch and granddaughter, Michele Jeanne Strauch, died much too young. All but one of her siblings also preceded her in death - her sisters, Lucille Bucholtz, California, Irene Bott, Casper, Elmer Eckhardt, Worland, Terry Eckhardt, Thermopolis and JoAnn Lombardo Long, California.
She faced these tribulations aided by her Christian faith which only grew stronger as she aged.
The birth of her great-grandaugher, Eliza Mitford Barberton, brought her great happiness even as Johnnie began to slip away mentally from Alzheimer’s over the past few years. She died before meeting her newest great-grandchild, Calvin James Merino of Arizona.
In addition to her husband, Bob, of Casper and sister Delores who lives with her husband Bob Kasner in Douglas,WY Johnnie is survived by her daughters Constance Mitford-Barberton of Casper and Linda Whitaker of Yorba Linda, CA; her son, Robert Whitaker and his wife, Kristin of Mesa, AZ; Grandsons Jason Whitaker and his wife Kim of Citrus Heights, CA and Ian Mitford-Barberton of Casper; Grandaughters Lauren Merino and her husband, Sterling and Elise Whitaker of Arizona, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews all of whom she loved and adored.
The funeral service will be held at Newcomer in Casper at 1:30 pm on Friday, May 31st with reception to follow and viewing on Thursday, May 30th from 2:00 to 5:30 pm.
A devoted Christian, Johnnie is now at peace and we ask you to please remember her family and friends in your prayers.