March 18, 1935 – Feb. 1, 2013
Don, 77, passed away at his home on Feb. 1, surrounded by his loving family.
Don was born on March 18, 1935, in Mandan, N.D., the son of Jacob and Lyone (Kirk) Ottema.
He attended school in Hensler, N.D. Following his schooling, he went to work with his dad on the Burlington Northern railroad crew. After the railroad, Don worked for Montana Utility in Mandan, N.D., and then went to work for the Cross Ranch in Sanger, N.D.
He met Anita Staiger on a blind date in 1952 and they were married in 1954. Both sons, Duke and Barney, were born in Bismark, N.D.
In 1957, the family moved to Newcastle, Wyo., during the oil boom. Don went to work driving for Sheehan Trucking and worked as a derrick hand on oil rigs. When the oil fields slowed down, Don went to work for Cambria Forest, which later became Pope and Talbot, where he worked as a mechanic until he retired. He then worked for Farnsworth Services driving truck where he enjoyed working for Tom and Buzz Farnsworth. Don and Barney established B&D Logging Company. They logged, panned gold and collected old antique tractors together.
Don loved working on tractors and his favorite tractor was a 1936 L Case. Don also enjoyed watching his sons competing in sports, especially high school and college wrestling. He raced stock cars in Newcastle and had a passion for antique tractor pulling. Don was very creative with metal designing, scaling down tractors and steam engine tractors. He also enjoyed hunting and harvested some nice antelope, deer and elk. He especially liked elk hunting in the Black Hills and making his hunting camp at the Welcome House where he always had the coffee pot on welcoming hunters and friends. He was well known for his dancing, especially the waltz. Don also enjoyed his animals, but none more than his pit bull Beau. Beau was Don’s partner when he worked in the woods.
Survivors include his wife Anita Ottema of 59 years; two sons and their wives, Duke and DeAnn Ottema, Barney and Tina Ottema all of Newcastle, Wyo.; five grandchildren, Dawn Ottema-Merdink (Jeremy), Heather Ottema, Amanda Mercer (Jimmy) all of Gillette, Wyo., Diane Christensen (Ty) of Newcastle, Duane Ottema (Lindsey) of Casper, Wyo.; two step grandchildren, Troy Casey (Cassie) of Douglas, Wyo., and Cassie Casey of Los Angeles, Calif.; three great-grandchildren, Cameah, Troy and Brady; five step great-grandchildren, Rayah, Tyson, Devon, Kaleb, Isabelle; sister, Neva Bentz of Hensler, N.D.; brothers Ernest of Billings, Mont., Doug of Whitewood, S.D., and Vernon of Sheridan, Wyo.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jacob and Lyone Ottema, a brother Jack Ottema, brother-in-law Gideon Bentz, and many aunts and uncles.
A memorial service will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Weston County Senior Center. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery. Donations will go to a memorial to be established in Don’s memory. Cards may be sent to Anita Ottema, P.O. Box 824, Newcastle, WY 82701.