William Crawford Kirkwood

Casper, Wyoming / May 9, 1928 — December 24, 2017

William C. Kirkwood, 89, of Casper, WY, passed into the hands of the Lord peacefully on Sunday, December 24, at Life Care Center surrounded by his family.

Bill was born May 9, 1928, in St Paul, MN, to loving parents Roderick and Blossom Kirkwood. Bill had three brothers, Charles, Roderick and Tom Kirkwood who have all passed away before him. He grew up in St. Paul until he was six and then moved to Glendive, MT, where his father worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. As a young boy, Bill’s first business venture was raising angora rabbits. He liked this business because all the rabbits had to do was grow fur which was seasonally plucked and turned into sweaters.

At the age of 18, Bill and his family moved back to St. Paul, MN, where he continued his education at the University of Minnesota. During this time, he met the love of his life, Viola Julia Mester, and after a several year courtship, they were married on August 26, 1950. Bill and Vi lived in St. Paul until he finished his education, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in Geological Engineering in 1952.

Upon graduation, Bill took a job with Shell Oil Company where he worked in Denver, CO, Midland TX, Houston, TX, Rapid City, SD, and then finally in Casper, WY. During his time with Shell, he spent many hours, days and months working the various geologic basins in Wyoming in search of oil and gas. He was responsible for the discovery of the Pavilion Gas Field located in the Wind River Basin amongst others. In 1965, Bill left Shell and began his own oil business, Kirkwood Oil and Gas. In the early years, the business focused on the acquisition of oil and gas leases and packaging them for sale to third parties. With continued success, it became necessary to form a company to operate the drilling and operation of oil and gas wells; and in 1982, Wesco Operating Inc was formed for this purpose.

Bill was also very involved in the Casper community and was an integral part of the revitalization of the downtown Casper area in the early 80s. He was involved in several community and charity organizations, wanting to improve the lives of people. He was a man who always looked for the good in others.

He is a survived by his wife, Viola; sons, Steven Kirkwood (Sue), and Robert Kirkwood (Celia); daughters, Carol Lemmon (Darrell), and Susan Kerns (Mark); nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Casper with Pastor Mike Struck officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorials made to Prince of Peace Preschool which Bill and Vi were instrumental in its start up.

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