Clarence Wendell Culbertson, 98, of Casper, went to meet his Lord peacefully in his sleep, February 6, 2020. He was born September 25, 1921 to Clarence and Lucille (Sheets) Culbertson in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He graduated high school in Pueblo, took Post-Graduate studies, then went 2 years to Central Bible School Springfield, Missouri.
In October of 1942, Wendell joined the Navy due to World War II. Because of some previous radio schooling, and his high entry scores, he entered the Reserves as 2nd Class Radio Technician. He served 36 months in active service. During that time, he was stationed at Treasure Island (boot camp); Oklahoma A & M at Stillwater (Radio School); Ward Island at Corpus Christi (Radar Training); Quonset Point, Rhode Island (forming Night Fighter Squadrons); and the South Pacific on numerous aircraft carriers in battle zones. He received two Presidential Unit Citations and battle ribbons with silver and bronze stars, and an Excellence Ribbon for meritorious service.
While stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas on April 18, 1943, he married Arlene Williams. He accepted his honorable discharge as Chief Petty Officer in Virginia at the end of the war. In December 1945 he drove to Joplin, Missouri where he learned drafting skills at Joplin Junior College. Later, he re-enlisted for three more terms in the Naval Reserves with weekend warrior activities.
Moving back to Colorado, he continued his education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, studying engineering. He then moved to Denver where he started raising his family while working at the Rocky Mtn. Arsenal, Buckley Field in the Naval Reserve. He also worked with the contracting company that built the refinery in Commerce City for Continental Oil Co. (now Conoco). He was hired by Conoco as a refinery employee, due to his knowledge of the layout while helping to construct it.
He was approached to take a temporary job as warehouseman and engineer clerk in Conoco’s Glenrock Refinery, with an office of his own. This was during the Winter of 1949 when terrific snow drifts closed most roads and hay had to be airlifted to isolated ranches to feed the livestock. He hitched a ride with a fellow employee who wanted to check the well-being of his relative living in Glenrock. Arriving on a freshly plowed highway in the small town where many houses were still covered over their rooftops in snow drifts, he got a hotel room and started working immediately at the refinery. The refinery was due to shut down within months but remained open for seven years. Instead of moving back to Denver he provided for his family in Glenrock, including his son, Richard and daughter RheaAnn.
Wendell was transferred to the Controllers Department February of 1956 in Casper for Conoco. He had the title of Inventory & Accounting Engineer. His work with Conoco now involved much traveling throughout the Western U.S., as well as off-shore Louisiana and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska for Production and Pipelines.
Wendell worked for Conoco 36 years until he was offered an early retirement package at age 64. He then enrolled in Casper College and earned an Associate of Arts degree. He completed many oil and acrylic landscape paintings and was known for his pen-sketching, sometimes on paper cups and napkins while sitting around with friends. He used his experience in mechanical drawing, to help in the planning and construction of the Faith Assembly of God Church addition on the South Poplar as well as with the new Church building on Casper Mtn. Road. His partner and inspiration, Arlene, passed away in 2002 after they enjoyed 59 happy years of marriage.
On the following Valentine’s Day, he shared a romantic first date at a church party with Lolabee Thompson and they later married. They shared over 16 years of love and care. He enjoyed eating Lola’s wonderful pies, cakes, and fresh baked bread. They went on four cruises and often drove to Arizona, California, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington to visit family and friends. They played games and worked jigsaw puzzles and Wendell continued his art through photography and sketching. He kept his mind sharp by doing word games and Sudoku as well as regular reading. Lola and Wendell kept the practice of daily Bible study and praying together for their many family members and friends. He continued to go to church each week and had a standing date at Taco Bell.
Wendell worked with the Boy Scouts for many years, being one himself when he was young. He had been a Scoutmaster in Glenrock and in active adult leadership in the River Bend District here in Casper. He earned and received the Silver Beaver Award, as a result. He also helped in the formation and development of arts and science advancement for Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. He served as a Vice President of the Northwest Region in support of the College for nearly 20 years. He still supports the university and strongly promotes higher education.
Wendell faithfully served his church, Casper Faith Assembly of God, since 1956. He served on the church board much of the time under each pastor, since the beginning of the church. He also was actively involved with the Gideons International Bible Ministry, since 1958.
Wendell is survived by his loving wife of 16 years, Lola Culbertson; his son Richard (Donna) Culbertson and daughter RheaAnn (Garth) Crowe. Stepsons: Tom (Connie) Thompson, Larry (Brenda) Thompson, Jeff (Julie) Thompson; Stepdaughter Starla (Mike) Rockert.
Preceding Wendell in death was his first wife, Arlene Culbertson; his parents Clarence and Lucille Culbertson; his brother, Marvin Culbertson; and his sister Alta Moore.
Services will be at Casper Faith at 10 a.m., Friday February 14, 2020. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Gideons International for Bible distribution world-wide. Newcomer Funeral Home providing services. www.NewcomerCasper.com
Additional Survivorship Listing of Wendell’s loving family:
Grandchildren: Melody (Seth) Moore; Michael (Porscha) Culbertson; Jonathan (Mirjam) Culbertson; and Kevin Culbertson; Becky Wise; Garth Jr. (Ann) Crowe; Tim (Pauline) Crowe; Step-grandchildren: Lane Thompson; Seth (Corrine) Thompson; HaLee Thompson (David Forshee); Allison Blevins (Josh Hudnall); and Ashley de los Santos.
Great-grandchildren: Malachi Moore; Mira Culbertson; Emily Culbertson; Wesley Culbertson; and Wylie Culbertson; David (Samantha) Wise; Daniel (Cortney) Wise; Carol Wise (Kyle Collett); John Wise; Austin Crowe (Hilary Lewis); Brice Crowe; Cathy Crowe; Ian Crowe; Tyler Crowe (Brooke Ford); and Devyn Crowe. Step Great-grandchildren: Isaiah Elston; Andrew Bowman; Lily Thompson; Eden Blevins; Honor Blevins; Elias de los Santos; Silas de los Santos; and Enoch de los Santos.
Great-great grandchildren: Rachel Wise, Hannah Wise, Samuel Wise, Embree Wise, and Alaric Wise.
He is also survived by his sister-in-law Jean (Dick) Harrison and brother-in-law Frank Swindell.
Wendell and Lola are the adopted grandparents of Joe and Mary Mizell and their children Holly Mizell, Julie (Toan) Oliver, Gabriel (Maya) Mizell, Grace Mizell and numerous great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by nieces and nephews Kerry (Brian) Miller; Kent (Diane) Moore; Kelly (Glenda) Moore; Brian (Linda) Jensen and numerous great nieces and nephews that were dear to him as well as friends that were as close as family.