uncle

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My nephew, JD Parmely is a very busy guy. He is a mechanic by trade, but in reality he is a mechanic for life. I can’t say that I know of anyone who spends as many hours in a garage as JD does. I thought my husband, Bob Schulenberg, who is JD’s uncle spent a lot of hours in the garage, but he doesn’t even come close to JD’s time in the garage. JD owns at least 15 vehicles. Some are classics some are daily drivers, and he is always tinkering on one or the other of them…that is when he isn’t working on someone else’s car.

JD has many friends who need work done on their cars, and JD is their go-to guy. JD’s specialty is Hondas, but he can work on most types of vehicles. He also has two uncles, Bob and Ron Schulenberg, and two brothers, Barry Schulenberg and Eric Parmely, all of whom help each other on jobs needing a second set of hands. They also share information when one or the other has a difficult job. Sometimes a job needs two minds to get it done…a fact that every mechanic knows.

While JD loves mechanic work, there is one thing that he just might love more…yep, I think he loves his nieces, Reagan, Hattie, and Maeve Parmely; and nephew, Bowen Parmely more. JD doesn’t mind rough housing with them, swinging them around, riding bikes with them, and whatever else they might dream up to play with their Uncle JD. In most ways, JD is a kid at heart. He can totally relate to his nieces and nephew, and doesn’t mind playing with them one bit. They love hanging out with him and hanging on him…another thing JD doesn’t mind.

JD can always be counted on to help with any job, from mechanics to loading and splitting wood. The boys have cut a lot of wood in their lifetimes. A couple of weeks ago, while having a family picnic on Casper Mountain, at JD’s mom, Jennifer Parmely and her partner, Brian Cratty’s cabin, the boys loaded a trailer full of wood for Eric and his wife, Ashley’s house. It works out well that the landowners on the mountain need to mitigate the downfall to protect to mountain from fire. It gives the guys wood for fires, and also something to do while loading it, hahahaha!! They all need something to do with themselves when they are not “mechanic-ing.” Today is JD’s birthday!! Happy birthday JD!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband, Bob Schulenberg’s uncle, Butch Hein is a rancher in Forsyth, Montana. Over the years, Bob and I have made many trips up to Forsyth to visit the family up there. While Butch is Bob’s uncle, he is only 9 years older than Bob is. That said, they had similar interests over the years. Butch didn’t really seem like an uncle to Bob, exactly. When he was a boy, Bob spent several weeks in the summers up at Grandma and Grandpa Hein’s house…Butch’s parents. Bob went to see them, but also to help out on their ranch. That was before Butch went into ranching himself, so the boys worked together in whatever need doing. Working together made for a closer relationship I’m sure, so when Bob was out of high school, and living on his own, he and his friend, Paul went up to visit the family in Montana. While that was a great idea, it was also a recipe for disaster…at least to Grandma Hein.

Butch, Bob, and Paul went out to the bar that night, because it was legal for Bob and Paul to drink in Montana, so the three of them went to the bar…mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of other things to do in Forsyth, Montana, due to its small size. The three of them had an…interesting evening. While sitting in the bar, and with Bob and Paul being somewhat inexperienced in the art of drinking, Butch had them try several drinks that he liked. Well, maybe some people can mix different kinds of alcohol and have no problem, but Bob and Paul were not those people. By the time they left the bar, both Bob and Paul were pretty tipsy…and that, is an understatement. Then they had to go back to Grandma’s, where they were staying, and it was at that point that they became her problem. I haven’t heard that the boys got sick or anything, but I would not be surprised. Nevertheless, in the morning, Grandma had two very hungover young men on her hands, and a son who, in her opinion was to blame. Butch was in the dog house with Grandma for quite some time, but Grandma finally forgave Butch for leading Bob astray. I’m sure he was very relieved. Nobody wants their mom mad at them.

Butch went on to become a great dad and later grandpa. He and his son, Scott run a large and successful ranch in the Forsyth area, and they are always busy. They are often on horses for hours a day. Butch had to have back surgery a while back, and I don’t know if that was caused by ranch work, but I would not be surprised. I don’t think he has ever been thrown off of a horse, but I don’t hear just everything that goes on. I suppose riding a horse and falling off of a horse go hand in hand sometimes. Anyway, he is doing much better since the surgery, and I pray it stays that way. Today is Butch’s 76th birthday. Happy birthday Butch!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My Uncle Larry Byer was talented in music. He played the guitar, the mandolin, and the piano. My grandfather, his dad, George Byer played the mandolin and the violin. My dad, Al Spencer and my Uncle George both played guitar. They had a regular band, and their jam sessions were like a big party at the Byer house. The kids all had friends who came over as much as they could to listen to the concerts. There were others that joined in sometimes playing the instruments they knew too. It made for a great Saturday night hot spot. Uncle Larry, Grandpa, my dad, and Uncle George are all in Heaven now, and I’ll bet they are all still having those jam sessions, and enjoying the fun times. A Heavenly Band is always in demand.

Uncle Larry was also a funny guy. He loved a good joke, as well as pulling a few pranks now and then. You never knew what he might do, and that was part of his charm. Together with my mom, Collene Spencer and my Uncle Wayne Byer, there was never a dull moment. What one didn’t think of another did. They were truly like the Three Musketeers!! My grandma, Hattie Byer was often forced to give them an “attitude adjustment” to straighten them out. All in all, they were good kids though…just mischievous.

When he grew up, Uncle Larry served in the United States Army, in the Korean War. While fighting a war would b the pits, my guess is that Uncle Larry took his famous humor with him, and was probably a great asset to the morale of the troops. In fighting a war, it helps to have a little humor. I helps the soldiers to let off steam. War is an ugly event, and sometimes a good laugh is very much needed. In those cases, Uncle Larry would have been the man for the job, in my opinion. Still, Uncle Larry could be serious when it was required of him, and he was a great soldier too. He served his country honorably, and when he was honorably discharged, he came home and rekindled a friendship with his future wife, Jeanette Morton, who had been a family friend for years. They married on February 11, 1956. Their son Larry Wayne Byer was born a year later on February 9, 1957, and daughter Tina followed on November 12, 1958. Their family was complete…until the grandchildren came along that is. Uncle Larry left us for his Heavenly home on December 22, 2011. Today he would have been 87 years old. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Larry. Strike up the band and have a great party. We love and miss you very much.

Yesterday, we received the news that our sweet Uncle Bill Spencer had passed away from Covid at the Middle River Health and Rehabilitation Center in South Range, Wisconsin. He was a little under one month from his 99th birthday. Uncle Bill had lived at the Middle River Center for about ten years now, and we have had the opportunity to visit him there twice. I wish it had been more, but we live a long way away from them, so it wasn’t to be. The center was a nice place, and the people there loved Uncle Bill. We could see that the people there had a heart for their residents, and that gave us peace of mind. Uncle Bill tested positive for Covid on December 14th, and was doing ok until the morning of December 25th. By that afternoon, he had gone home to Heaven.

Uncle Bill was the last of my dad’s generation in their parents’ line, and lived the longest of them all. He was the second child of my grandparents, Allen and Anna (Schumacher) Spencer, born in Tomahawk, Wisconsin on January 21, 1922, when his older sister, Laura (Spencer) Fredrick was 10 years old, born August 3, 1912. We don’t know why there was such a distance between the two older children, because the younger three were pretty close together. My dad, Allen Spencer followed on April 27, 1924, and Aunt Ruth (Spencer) Wolfe on November 9, 1925. As they grew, the brothers, William and Allen were good friends as well as siblings. The fact that both were boys gave them many interests in common.

I recall some of their stories told when Uncle Bill came out for a visit in 2006. One of my favorites was about Independence Day celebrations. Growing up on a farm in the Holyoke area of Minnesota, they boys worked to plow, and remove rocks and tree stumps from the fields. This made them experts with dynamite, a fact that we hadn’t heard before. That in itself is very interesting, but they were also kids, and…well mischievous to say the least. Their July 4th tradition was to set off a dynamite blast…at daybreak. When I asked if people got mad at them, they said that they were out in the country, so who cared. Indeed!! One time though, they decided to try something new. Their mom had gone into town, leaving the boys at home. Their curious minds kicked in. They decided to find out what would happen if they set off a stick of dynamite on the top of the gate post. Yikes!! Well, they found out what would happen. When the dynamite exploded, the gate post sunk several inches into the dirt. The gate would no longer close, of course, and he boys immediately set about fixing it before their mom came back from town. They had no desire to find out what she thought of their prank.

While it makes me so sad that my uncle is gone now, I can feel his excitement as he entered Heaven to find his parents and siblings waiting for him. And what a wonderful thought…he was home for Christmas this year. I would imagine the celebration was wonderful. The boys were back together after so many years. I can picture them…just like kids again, filled with excitement, but I can also imagine one other thing. I can hear God saying, “The boys are back together…hide the dynamite!!” God knows his children well, and it simply wouldn’t do for those mischievous Spencer brothers to set off a stick of dynamite, right there on the gate post of the Pearly Gates, and sink one side several inches into the ground!! Nevertheless, I can see their minds clicking, sharp as ever now, thinking…”Hey, lets give that a try!!” Dynamite or not, there is a party going on in Heaven today. Grandma and Grandpa Spencer, and their kids are all together in Heaven again, and that’s worth celebrating. Uncle Bill we all love you very much and we will miss you always. You are in our future now, and we can’t wait to see you again.

My uncle, George Hushman was “gone” on my aunt, Evelyn Byer from the moment he met her. You can’t blame him, because she was a beautiful woman. Once they were together, not much else mattered. They would have been as happy living in a shack in the slums, as they would have living in a palace. In reality, they lived in a beautiful, modest home, that they built themselves…or at least helped build. I’m sure that a contractor was involved too. I remember that house well. Uncle George would have given Aunt Evelyn the moon if he could have. Like many young couples, there were love notes. I happen to see on as I was helping to scan the family pictures. It was not long, but it was very sweet. Uncle George wrote, “Dear Evelyn, I love you very much. Be home suddenly. Love, Your Hubby.” It was a simple gesture, but the “suddenly” part is what caught my attention. It implied that he would really hurry home, and he couldn’t wait to see her. That was the kind of love they had.

My sisters and I spent many fun filled days there hanging out with the Hushman kids, Susie, George, Shelley, Shannon, and Greg. Aunt Evelyn and our mom, Collene (Byer) Spencer, were very close, so naturally, the two families spent lots of time together. Aunt Evelyn and Uncle George were fun-loving people. They had so much in common with my parents, and they were as much friends as relatives. For many years they were on a bowling league together, went on date nights together, and spent lots of time at each others house. There is a lot to be said for good friends, and when that good friend is also family, there is a surety that the friendship will last a lifetime…and so it did.

As the years went by, the foursome grew older, and even though they still loved each other very much, they couldn’t get together as much as they used to. It was a disappointment for all of them. Before long they were going home to Heaven…one by one. That is what made all of us the most sad. Uncle George was the last one to go home, and we were very sorry to see him go, because it was truly the end of an era. The foursome was gone now, and there would be no more of their dates, bowling, or their antics…which we all saw from time to time. It was really a sad time. Today would have been Uncle George’s 94th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle George. We love and miss you very much.

My husband’s Uncle Eddie Hein was a man of integrity. He worked hard in everything he did. When he decided to take on a job, schooling, family and family projects, or anything he did for other people…he did it with integrity. People always knew they could count on Eddie to be there to help them out of any jam, or just when they need a little bit of assistance. Eddie built the additions to the family home, that gave it enough room for all of them.

Eddie lived most of his life in Forsyth, Montana, with the exception of the years he spent in Casper, Wyoming working at Rocky Mountain Pack and going to night classes at Casper College to get his degree in mechanics; and the years when he was in the US Army, where he served his country during the Vietnam War. He was honorably discharged in 1966. That was when he met his future wife, Pearl Krueger. They got married on July 15, 1967…the happiest day of their lives. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Larry Hein and Kim Arani. They also had three grandchildren, one of whom, Destiny Hein, was born on Eddie’s birthday, giving them a very special bond. They were best friends.

Eddie worked at the Forsyth Standard Station until he was hired at Peabody Coal on May 4th, 1970. He worked for Peabody Coal until 2005, then he went to work for Western Energy Coal Company, retiring in 2010. Eddie was a respected worker at all of his jobs, and I’m sure they were sorry to see him move on to other jobs. Uncle Eddie had a presence that made people feel good. He had a smile that made you smile too. Uncle Eddie was always a working man, and I know it was very hard when he had the stroke that really slowed him down. It was hard on him, Aunt Pearl, their kids, and grandkids. They worried about him and wondered if he was going to come out of this, but he did come out of it. He did walk again, and he was able to walk Kim down the “isle” on the beach, when she and her husband, Mike Arani were married. I suppose that it was his strength to come back from the stroke that made his heart attack, and subsequent passing on October 16, 2019, so hard to believe. I still can’t believe he is gone. Today would have been Uncle Eddie’s 77th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Eddie. We love and miss you very much.

There are among us sometimes, people who are naturally humble. These aren’t beaten down people of no real worth, but rather people of great worth to those around them, but who somehow do their “good deeds” under the radar, and thereby go almost unnoticed. My Uncle Jim Richards is one of those people. His life in service to those around him really began at the very young age of just eight years. At that time, less than a year after losing his older brother Daile during the D-Day attack at Normandy, France, and with 12 remaining siblings, 4 of whom were younger than he was, Uncle Jim realized that his mother was going to need the help of her children to get through all this. Not many 8 year old boys would be able to grasp all that, but Uncle Jim wasn’t a typical 8 year old boy. He was the kind of boy, who saw a need, and went out of his way to meet that need. I suppose there might have been 8 year old boys who would want everyone to know what they had done for their family, but Uncle Jim wasn’t one of those 8 year old boys. He simply saw a need, and went forward to meet the need. That was his nature.

Uncle Jim was a hard worker, who was good at his job, but his first loyalty was always to his family. From boyhood, when he did what things he could to help the family financially, to the later years when a number of his siblings as well as him mom lived with him and his family when they needed to. He also helped out with my grandparents, who were his wife, my Aunt Dixie’s parents, as they got older and needed assistance. And then he became the chauffer for his grandchildren when his kids had worked and their kids needed a babysitter and a ride home from school. Of course, he couldn’t always do that, but when he retired, he took great pleasure in the time he spent being the “bus driver” for his grandchildren.

Uncle Jim has always had a quiet demeanor. He isn’t a really chatty person, but when he says something, it is always full of love and kindness. People think of him as a teddy bear type, because of his personality. I have to agree with them, because that is always the way I thought of him…not the teddy bear part, exactly, but when I heard that, I had to agree. Today is Uncle Jim’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My uncle, Lester “Jim” Wolfe was always a crazy guy…in a good way, of course. He loved to play tricks on people, but always in good fun. Whenever he and my dad, Al Spencer got together, you knew that they were going to do the craziest of things. I don’t remember all the antics these brother-in-law pulled, not the crazy food they made, like onion and mustard sandwiches.

Uncle Jim and Aunt Ruth were always the kind of people who liked surprises. Often, they would show up at our house unannounced…from several states away, mind you. I suppose that it was a risky maneuver, from the aspect of making that long trip without getting to see the people they came to see. If we were out of town when they showed up, they never told us they had missed us. I’m not sure how they managed to find us home when they came, because our family often took trips too. My dad and his sister, Ruth had always loved to see the nation, and both did a lot of traveling in their day. When they showed up at our house, it was cause for celebration. It was just like coming home to a surprise party!! One surprise on Uncle Jim in his life was that his son-in-law, Wayne “Shorty” Cameron shared his birthday with him. I’m sure Uncle Jim liked that very much.

While they were here, we might go camping, have barbecues, or just hang out. It didn’t really matter what we did, because having them here made things more fun. We also loved seeing our cousins in the early years, but as they got older, it was often just Uncle Jim and Aunt Ruth that came. Our own lives got busier too, of course. Marriages and kids made it harder to spend as much time with them on those visits as we used to. Still, when they were in town, we spent as much time with them as we could. I miss those days. Today would have been Uncle Jim’s 99th birthday, and Shorty’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Uncle Jim and Shorty. We love and miss you both very much.

My nephew, JD Parmely is a hard-working man. He is a mechanic at Ken’s Auto Repair. Like most mechanics shops, there are busy days, and slower days, but there is almost never a dead day. People’s cars have to be maintained. We all have places we need to be, and if our cars don’t run well, we have a problem. That is where the mechanics of this world really shine. JD comes from a long line of mechanics, including his dad, Keith Parmely; grandpa, Walt Schulenberg; uncles, Bob and Ron Schulenberg; brothers, Barry Schulenberg and Eric Parmely. Together these men have helped each other with more vehicles than any of them could ever count. There is never a problem that one might have that one of the others doesn’t know how to fix. It is a blessing that mechanics share.

JD works long hours at his job, and then goes home, eats dinner, and…you got it, works on his own cars in his garage, or helps our his uncles or brothers on their projects, or works on cars for friends. Sometimes, he doesn’t quit until late in the evening…when he finally wears himself out. Then he goes to bed, so he’s ready to start all over again the next day. JD really is a 24-7 Mechanic. It’s my guess that he even dreams about working on one of the vehicles he has lined out to work on next…planning just what he needs to do on it. Still, JD is so dedicated that if someone called him in the middle of the night, JD would go and see what he could do to help. It’s just his nature.

There is one other thing that JD is all about, however, and in reality his 3 nieces, Reagan, Hattie, and Maeve Parmely, and his nephew, Bowen Parmely are at the top of his list of priorities. JD loves being and uncle, and playing with the kids. He sees them as much as he can. He really enjoys playing with the kids, and they think he’s great too. When JD is around, the kids have a great time, because JD like many men, is a big kid at heart. Today is JD’s birthday. Happy birthday JD!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My Uncle Jack McDaniels was such a fun man. He was a jokester at heart, and he loved spending time with his family. On of the things he was very interested in was history. He loved to share that with his kids and even had a number of history books that reflected the stories he shared. I wish many of us had known about his knowledge of Casper history.

Uncle Jack and Aunt Bonnie had a beautiful place east of Casper, along the Platte River. There they raised their kids, Cindy and Michael. Uncle Jack loved tp teach Michael about cars and car racing. The two of them spent many hours tinkering on cars in the garage. It’s a great pastime for a father and son.

Uncle Jack loved the outdoors, and all outdoor sports. He loved to go hunting and fishing, as well as taking his family camping. That seemed to be a common thing among the men in our family. I’m sure that is why Uncle Jack fit in so well in our family. All of the aunts and uncles loved Uncle Jack. I can see why, because all of his nieces and nephews loved him too. He was sweet and funny, with a great sense of humor. My husband, Bob and I usually ran into Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jack at the normal weekly hangout…Walmart. That seems to be the place we see most of our friends and family. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up and start adulting. A “date” is the weekly trip to the grocery store. I miss those times. I always looked forward to them. Today would have been my Uncle Jack’s 82nd birthday. Happy birthday in Heaven Uncle Jack. We love and miss you very much.

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