Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am, Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church with Father Cliff Jacobson officiating; interment to follow at Mt. Pisgah Cemetery. Visitation will take place from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at Walker Funeral Home.
Gary Lawrence Welper (i.e., Gare-Bear), 65, of Laramie, Wyoming passed away on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at his home surrounded by his family. Gary fought valiantly over the past 6 years with end stage renal disease.
Gary was born October 11, 1955 in La Crosse, Wisconsin to Harold and Joan Welper. He spent his early years growing up on a farm near Dorchester, IA. He became a big brother a few years later when his little sister, Beverly, joined the family. While living on the farm, he learned the value of hard work doing chores and milking cows before he would head to school in the morning. He also enjoyed being raised around many cousins and family. He was blessed to be able to develop a close relationship with his father. They spent a lot of time working together and playing together, whether that was fishing or camping. Eventually, the family moved into town. There in Waukon, IA, Gary finished school and graduated from Waukon High School in 1973.
Gary met his future wife, Nancy, in 1976. They went on a few dates and stayed in touch but the lure of heading west for work pulled Gary to the great state of Wyoming. His love for Nancy never wavered and he finally convinced her and her daughter, Jill, to come join him out west. Gary raised Jill like she was his own daughter. They eventually made their way to Gillette, WY and were married on January 15, 1983. Shortly after, they welcomed 3 more sons – Michael, Robert, and Brian. In 1988 and 1989 respectively, their cherished babies, Joseph and Anna were born. Tragically, both babies died within days of their births. Though held in the flesh for only a few hours, Nancy and Gary spoke often of Joseph and Anna, and held them in their hearts forever. Fortunately, another special baby entered their lives in 1998, when they adopted Isaiah Welper, completing their family. In 2014-2020, Gary became Papa to four beloved grandchildren. Fulfilling his roles as husband, father, and papa, meant everything in the world to Gary. He lived for nothing else.
Gary graduated in 1990 with his Diesel Mechanic degree, after which, he took on a few jobs until he found his niche at Nelson Brothers. Gary worked hard for his family every single day until his body gave out, setting an amazing example of diligence and devotion for his children to follow. One of his proudest achievements were the many hours, sweat and tears he poured into watching his dream of the Bricks for Vets, a memorial at Lasting Legacy Park in Gillette WY, come to fruition. With his health issues, he was forced to retire early. In time, he and his wife made their way to Laramie to be closer to their kids and grandkids.
Gary is survived by his wife of 38 years, Nancy Welper of Laramie; his children, Jill Miller of Oregon; Michael (Nancy) Welper of Laramie; Robert Welper (Derek Vasquez) of Los Angeles, CA; Brian (Amber) Welper of Laramie; and Isaiah Welper of Laramie; his four grandchildren, Paul, Lucy, Wyatt, and Olivia Welper; his mother, Joan Welper of Gillette, WY; his sister, Bev Sanchez of Gillette, WY; and his nieces Julie (Gabe) Koerper of Gillette, and Beth Montoya of Gillette.
He is preceded in death by his father, Harold Welper, some aunts and uncles, and his niece, Jody.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bricks for Vets in Gillette, WY. 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