Colleen Heese, 94, of Gillette, died Saturday, May 16, 2020, at Campbell County Memorial Hospital.
Colleen was born September 19, 1925, in Cody, Nebraska, the eldest of two daughters, to Colin and Joy Johnson. In 1929 the family moved to Tuthill, South Dakota, where Colleen graduated from high school, married, and lived until moving to Martin, South Dakota in 1981. In 2010 she moved to Gillette to be closer to family.
After graduating from high school in 1943 Colleen attended Van Sant School of Business in Omaha, Neb. for one year, worked for a short time, then returned to work in her parents’ hardware and garage station. She married Norman Heese on Sept. 27, 1946. Their eldest daughter, JoyAnn, was born in 1948 and Carla was born in 1952. Colleen helped Norman with many and varied projects, including their trucking business after the war, the farm they purchased in 1948 (sold in 1958), managing Markota Acres from 1973-1974, the drive-in they purchased and ran for a short time, and so much more. They were members of the Tuthill Community Presbyterian Church, and enjoyed playing cards with neighbors, playing golf, meeting friends for coffee, and visiting friends and family in the motor home after retirement. Colleen was an active member of the Tuthill Extension Club and Order of the Eastern Star, Martin Chapter 171.
Colleen and Norman officially retired in 1978 and they joined her parents by wintering in Harlingen, Texas. They added visiting friends and family in their motor home to card playing. Colleen continued to winter in Texas after Norman died in 1998 until 2010, when she moved to Gillette. After moving to Gillette, she relished participating in the Campbell County Senior Center activities, continued to play cards or dominos and meet friends for coffee, read a lot, and learned to be techy with a laptop, tablet, and texting on her cell phone. Everyone had a lovingly painted ceramic gift from Colleen - she even made her own beautiful urn.
Colleen’s parents and husband preceded her in death. She is survived by her sister, Mary Lou Claussen of Martin, South Dakota, and her daughters, JoyAnn Lynn of Gillette, Wyo. and Carla DeKay of Ogallala, Neb., sons-in-law Frank Lynn and Wayne DeKay, five grandchildren, Katrina Lynn of Manhattan, Kan., Angela Clarke of Nacogdoches, Texas, Colin Lynn of Gillette, Wyo., Dustin DeKay of Aurora, Colo., and Alexis DeKay of Greeley, Colo. Colleen was also blessed with five great-grandchildren (Skylar, Alison, and Keera Clarke, Lucas and Tatum Lynn).
A memorial service will be held in Gillette, Wyo. Her memory will also be honored in Martin, South Dakota, when her ashes will be inurned next to her husband in Martin Community Cemetery. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to JoyAnn Lynn and family at 86 Moncreiffe Ridge Rd., Gillette, WY 82716 or to Carla DeKay and family at 798 Rd West 120, Brule, NE 69127. Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Walker Funeral Home 410 Medical Arts Court, Gillette, WY 82716. Condolences may also be expressed at www.walkerfuneralgillette.com