Ronald J. Willbanks of Gillette passed away at Campbell County Health on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, due to complications of COVID-19/pneumonia.

Memorial services begin at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8 at First Assembly of God Church, 601 Carey Ave., with Pastor Dan Holden officiating, with burial to follow at Mount Pisgah Cemetery. Reception to follow at American Legion Post 42.

Ron was born April 29, 1951, in Denver, Colorado, and taken home by his loving parents Joseph and Ethel Willbanks of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he grew up and attended Mitchell High School.

Ron married the love of his life, Sharon Darlene Wagoner in Tucson, Arizona, and they had two boys, Ronald Jr. "Ronnie" and Jason. The family moved to Gillette in 1978, where Ron was already working for Cobre Tire out at the two AMAX Coal properties Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte Mine as a tire man.

In the mid-'90s Ron changed his career and drove for numerous crew transport companies in Gillette transporting BNSF train crews where he made numerous lifelong friendships in the process. In 2005, Ron was hired on and went to work for BNSF as a conductor until he retired in August 2021.

During his time of employment, Ron has gathered a plethora of extended family who shared in the interests that Ron had including riding motorcycles to planning poker runs, tinkering on his numerous golf carts and just hanging out with invaluable friends and their spouses and neighbors.

Ron is survived by his two sons, Ronnie and Jason of Gillette; four grandchildren, Kassidy Faith of Gillette, Atiyanna Flores of Washington, Trey Allen of Gillette, and Ivy Darlene of Belle Fourche, South Dakota; sister, Patrice (Ed) Wullschleger of Longmont, Colorado; brother-in-law Walter (Kay) Bell of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and numerous nieces and nephews spanning the region from Morrison, Colorado, Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, Colorado, Cripple Creek, Colorado, and even California.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Ethel Willbanks; wife, Sharon Darlene Willbanks; sister, Sandra Willbanks; and nieces, Dawn Bell and Kimberly Macklin.

Memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 W. Fifth St., Gillette, WY 82716.

Condolences also may be expressed at

This paid obituary was provided by family and friends.

(1) comment


Rode many miles with Ron in crew vans and later on trains.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.