The following are obituaries that appeared in the August 26, 2015 print edition of the Star Valley Independent.
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Matthew Simpson Wickel, 50, of Thayne, passed away Aug. 17, 2015 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming. Matt was born Dec. 4, 1964 in Port Jefferson, NY and was raised in Stony Brook, NY. He had lived in Florida, Michigan, Montana and was currently residing in Conroe, Texas where he was a pilot for Wing Aviation. He graduated from Ward Melville High School in 1984. Matt earned his wings from Flight Safety International in Vero Beach, Fla. Throughout his aviation career he flew many aircraft and traveled all over the world. Matt embodied a zest for life like no other. He was an avid motorcycle rider who made multiple cross country trips. He loved sailing and the outdoors. Matt made friends with everyone he met and his family was his world. Matt was the youngest of seven sons born to the late Albert C. and Margaret A. Wickel. He was of the Catholic faith. Matt is survived by his wife, Tracy Houseman Wickel of Madison, Ala. He also leaves behind his former wife, Terri Wickel and their children: E-3/SN William S. Wickel, Margaret A. Wickel and Jesse Flores of Palm Coast, Fla.; his brothers Albert S. Wickel and his wife, Corinne; John W. Wickel and his fiancee Tina Nilsson; William C. Wickel and his wife, Beth; Paul R. Wickel and his wife, Laura; James A. Wickel and his wife Kathy; his identical twin Karl S. Wickel; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Memorial contributions may be made to benefit his daughter with special needs, Margaret A. Wickel, c/o VyStar Credit Union, 305 Palm Coast Parkway SW, Palm Coast, Fla. 32137. A funeral mass will be held at St. James R.C. Church in Setauket, NY on Aug. 29, 2015 at 11 am. Burial will be private. Visit matthewwickel.com for memorial tributes.
Maxwell E. Brown of Idaho Falls, formerly of Alpine, passed away Aug. 17, 2015. He was born July 16, 1926 to Sophia and Robert Brown in Corry, Pa. He graduated from Corry High School. After serving in the Army Air Core during WWII he attended and graduated from Grove City College, Pa. Maxwell worked as a budget control supervisor at Corry-Jamestown in Pennsylvania and later an a housing contractor. An early passion of his was flying. He became a pilot while still in high school. In middle age he took up running and enjoyed that for several years. He had a deep affinity for nature and appreciated the flora and fauna of Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Maxwell was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Sophia and brothers William and Douglas. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Margaret Snoke Brown, a son, Roger Brown of Alpine, and a daughter, Janet Brown of Englewood, Colo., and many nieces and nephews.
Norma June Clark Gee, age 90, passed away on Aug. 5, 2015, in her home in Holladay, Utah, from causes incident to cancer. She was born on June 20, 1925 in Etna, to her parents, Henry Toles Clark and Lydia Adelia Peterson Clark. Norma June’s birth was in a log cabin, she and her mother being alone, her father having gone by horseback for a midwife. She grew up on the family farm; their home was without indoor plumbing or electricity. Her early education was in a two-room school house in Etna; subsequently, she graduated from Star Valley High School. At age 17 she came to Salt Lake City for employment, living at the Beehive House. As a young woman, Norma June served as an LDS missionary in the Central States Mission and later as a Temple Worker. She attended USU, BYU, and the U of U, where she was also employed as a secretary in the President’s office. In 1954, she met Raymond W. Gee, who affectionately calls her “NJ”; they were married on Nov. 10, 1955, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have been blessed with six children: Barbara (Tom) King; Karen (Kevin) Andrews; Stephen C. Gee; Linda Gee; Diane (Michael) Jensen; and Carla Gee; eleven grandchildren: Lauren King, Jordan King, Corbin King (serving in the Brazil Piracicaba Mission), Mason King; Kortni (Derek) Hobson, Karli (Nick) Martineau, Kara (Dane) Bjorklund, Kolette Andrews; Hanne Jensen, Brigham Jensen, Anders Jensen and two great grandchildren. Norma June was a very spiritual person, having a firm testimony of the Gospel which she bore in word and example. She loved the scriptures and was steadfast in her faith as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was a guide on Temple Square and with her husband served as CES missionaries in the Arizona Tempe Mission. Her church service included Ward Relief Society President, Young Women’s President, Relief Society Teacher numerous times, Stake and Ward Young Women’s Athletic Director, and a Ward Primary Counselor. However, to her, her greatest callings were wife, mother, grandmother and homemaker. She is survived by her husband, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren; sisters: Ann Sorenson, Nelda (Lynn) Loftus; sister-in-law: Lenore Clark. Preceded in death by her parents, brothers: Lyle Clark, Dale Clark, Vern Clark; and sisters: Laura Trowbridge, Oreen Clark, and Eula Harrison. Funeral services were held Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 in Holladay Utah.
Verda Dabel Helm, 90, of Smoot, passed away Aug. 13, 2015 with her family by her side. Funeral services were held Aug. 17 with interment at the Afton Cemetery. Verda was born Aug. 24, 1924 to August and Sarah Snyder Dabel. She was the 13th of 16 children born to the Dabel family. She was a hard worker, and she arose early to help her mother in the kitchen. Her father owned a movie theater in Thayne – and it was Verda’s job at an early age to pop popcorn and sell it. She also helped make potato chips and worked as a waitress at her sister’s cafe. She married Samuel Martin Helm on June 11, 1945. That marriage was later solemnized in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple on April 21, 1960. Six children were born to this union, Eloyce, Annette, Randall, Lonnie Sam and two sons, Randy Martin and Steven, who died at birth. Verda’s life took a major change when her husband passed away on Nov. 28, 1988. She had a profound love for him and missed him very much. Verda was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served a mission to Chicago, entering the Missionary Training Center on Aug. 29, 1992. She loved her mission, but missed her family and the peace and safety of Star Valley. She served in many positions in the church, but loved Primary and visiting teaching the most. She loved to serve and was always baking bread and apple pies or homemade soup to take to those she visited. She was not afraid to talk and visit with strangers or friends, and she always bore her testimony to all. Verda loved to read, especially the scriptures. She did beautiful embroidery work and enjoyed making latch hook rugs until the time her arthritis prevented it. She loved family gatherings and visits from family members. Verda is survived by four children: Eloyce (Warren) Moffett; Annette (Tom) Call; Randall (Anna) Helm; and Lonnie (Vicky) Helm; 16 grandchildren; and 45 great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband, Sam; sons Randy and Steven; parents, Sarah and August; 10 brothers and five sisters.
Wayne K. Hesson passed away Aug. 10, 2015. He was born Jan. 13, 1948 in Hanover, Pa., to Clyde and Virginia Hesson. Wayne attended Hanover Public Schools and graduated from Southwestern High School in 1965. He received an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from New York Junior College in 1967. He graduated from Elizabethtown College in 1969 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. He was hired by Coopers and Lybrands in Philadelphia and passed his CPA exam in 1971. Wayne was an avid lover of sports and could be often seen supporting Little League teams and giving encouragement and support to his grandchildren. He loved to go boating, hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, four-wheeling and horse back riding in the Rocky Mountains. The Hesson Family enjoyed the best of both worlds, having been blessed spending time in Wyoming and Naples. Wayne took up civic posts over his 45 year business career. Rotary, Jail Ministry, Little League, and was active in 12-step work. He always served, “service above self” was one of his favorite sayings. In his final days, he was frequently giving some hope and sharing prayers with those that were lost or suffering. Wayne is survived by a loving wife of 47 years, Karen J. Hoffacker; two daughters, Stacy Hesson Welling and Amy Hesson Hobart; a son, Ryan K. Hesson, who was his partner in tax practice in Naples and Star Valley; four grandchildren, Connor, Megan Welling and Penelope and Piper Hobart. There will be a Celebration of Life announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted at AVOW Hospice or the American Cancer Society.