CASPER—Elwanda Lee (Bandy) Burke Wentz died peacefully on August 7, 2019 at her home in Casper, WY. She was 97 years old. She was born in Ottis, CO on July 1, 1922 to Ernest “Duke” Bandy and Sarah (Davis) Bandy. She had three siblings Ellen (Bandy) Baptist, Daryl and Dale Bandy. As a child she moved with her family to Garden County, NE where the family worked as farmers and ranchers. She graduated from Garden County High School in May 1939. After earning her Teaching Accreditation in August of 1939, she taught in a one-room school in Garden County, NE.
She married William H. Burke on June 22, 1940 in Chappell, NE. They began their family in Nebraska with the birth of their son, Willis. The couple moved to Wyoming in 1943 and had two more sons Richard and Shannon. In addition to raising her three sons she often assisted extended family members in need. The couple was married for 56 years. In 1999 she married Donald Wentz.
She was very ambitious and had many occupations in addition to teaching. She was a bookkeeper, Justice of the Peace, the first Mayor of Midwest, WY and a clerk in the Wyoming State Legislature. She was a member of several civic and social organizations including Daughters of the Nile, ELKS and Eagles. She and her closest friends started a Christmas Savings Group they called the Christmas Bells. The Christmas Bells had a monthly luncheon and many family social gatherings.
She will be remembered for the generous way she loved and cared for her family and friends including hosting many holiday and family gatherings. Friends and family were always welcome in her home. Additionally, she was an active member of her community and during her term as Mayor, Midwest installed a new water system and paved roads. She loved to be with her family, playing card games and socializing. Finally her favorite pastime was dancing, which she began at an early age as her mother played in country dance bands for many years.
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She was preceded in death by her husbands, William Burke and Donald Wentz; sons, Richard and Shannon Burke; her parents and siblings; granddaughters, Stephanie Brown and Diane Burke; and two great-grandsons
She is survived by son, Willis Burke and his wife Caroline of Story, WY; grandson’s, Patrick and Mick Burke of Albuquerque, MN; granddaughter, Shani Burke Specht (John Specht) of Bethel, CT; grandson’s, Randy and Kevin Burke (Maryann) of Casper, WY, and Brian Burke (Heather) of Portland, OR; granddaughter, Melanie Burke of Tennessee, and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on August 23, 2019 at 10:00 am at Bustard’s Funeral Home, 600 CY Avenue, Casper, WY. Interment will be at Memorial Gardens and a reception will follow at Casper Shrine Club, 1501 West 39th Street, Casper, WY 82604.