Cleta Fay Kawa, proud to have served her country in the United States military, Cleta Fay Kawa died peacefully at age 34 following a long battle with MS, complex migraines, and PTSD incurred from her year-long deployment to Iraq. Even more proud of their four young children (Isaiah, Kristine, McKenzie and Emily), she and her husband, Mark, made their final home in Casper, Wyo. where she taught school part-time at Paradise Valley Christian School. She helped out everyone in need who came her way.
Born in Rawlins, Wyoming on August 15, 1986, and raised in Rawlins and Wamsutter, Cleta had a great time doing high school hi-jinx with her best friend, Adria, before she joined the National Guard in 2005. And it was there, while waiting in the immunization line before her second deployment to Iraq, that she met the man who (she declared to her friends) she would marry, Mark. She was right—a few months later they tied the knot in Brevard, North Carolina. Cleta got injured in training and was subsequently discharged. After Mark came back from Iraq, they and their young family returned to Wyoming, Casper this time, and more children ensued.
Ever the optimist, and unwavering in her faith, Cleta seemed determined to do better for others than was done for her during her tough early childhood years. Those who knew her best agree that she was one of those people who walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Cleta was a founding member of Wyoming Advocates for Youth; a working member of Foster Care Alumni of America; and a director of Before 37 in 307 (a non-profit which helps parents of prematurely born babies). Active in politics as well, she served as a volunteer staffer for the Casper office of the Foster Friess for Governor Campaign.
Never heard of Cleta? No surprise, she was never in it for the fame. Cleta was the real deal, a strong independent woman with a great sense of humor; a tireless worker; friendly always; kind; never judgmental; one who loved her kids to death; a great listener who had a passion for helping others; and her husband's best friend until the day she died.
Cleta was preceded in death by her brother, Kristofer Dunn; her sister, Christine Dunn; her cousin; and her grandmother, whom she loved.
Cleta is survived by her husband and four children; her stepfather, Mike Stultz of Rock Springs; her mother, Charlotte of Apple Valley, CA; her sister, Cynthia Lynn Dunn, of OR; her grandfather, David L. Heddleson of Rock Springs; her uncles, David K. Heddleson of Rock Springs, and Travis “Jim Bob” Heddleson of the family home in Casper; her aunts, Margaret Reed of Sinclair, Katherine Golden of Rawlins, Theresa Evertsen of Elko, NV, LaDonna Whittaker of Cheyenne; and a whole host of cousins.
Those of us who knew her are blessed to have been able to; if you were not among those, it is our prayer that someone comes into your life like the whirlwind she was in ours!
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, January 15, 2021, at the Paradise Valley Christian Church, 188 Valley Dr. with military honors. Inurnment at Oregon Trail Veterans Cemetery.