Sept. 26, 1927-Sept. 6, 2017
Gillette resident, Bill Prell, 89, died Wednesday, September 6, 2017, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Fort Meade, SD, of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He was 20 days shy of his 90th birthday.
A military funeral will take place at 10:00 a.m. on September 23, 2017, at Mount Pisgah Cemetery, Gillette, WY, followed by “A celebration of Bill’s life” hosted at Primrose Retirement Community, 921 Mountain Meadow Lane, Gillette, Wyoming 82716 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
He was born September 26, 1927, in Anselmo, NE, the fourth of seven children to Jay and Florence (Beardsley) Prell. He was raised on his parent’s ranch in northern Niobrara County, WY. Bill attended high school in Lusk, WY, and Gillette, WY. He enlisted in the US Navy July 21, 1945, with 5 buddies from Newcastle, WY.
He was a Fireman second class. He served on four different ships; The USS Sarita, USS PCE842, USS PCE 884, and the USS LSM 443. He received the Asiatic-Pacific campaign medal and American Area campaign medal.
He received an honorable discharge on November 7, 1947, and returned home to Newcastle, WY. There he worked on the Newcastle Police Force for a short time. Bill also served in the Army National Guard from 1950 – 1953.
Bill traveled many roads in life and lived in various states such as WY, NE, CO, IA, and CA. His working career included cowboy, policeman, plumber, and carpenter. He retired from Pioneer Manor as a Maintenance Engineer. Bill was a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none he often quoted, but really a master of most.
He married Bonnie Marie Walkup October 13, 1948, in Omaha, NE. They had three daughters and one son.
Bill and Bonnie loved to polka. Wherever Bill was, Bonnie was by his side. They always enjoyed getting together with friends to play cards.
Bill was an avid reader. When his eyesight started deteriorating, he turned to books on tape. When you would stop to see him, he had his earphones on listening to another book.
He never missed an opportunity to smile and had a contagious laugh. Socializing and having lunch at the Campbell County Senior Center (Table 35) was a great pleasure for him. He looked forward to having breakfast with his son-in-law and grandson on the weekends. Going to Deadwood when he had a chance and playing card games with his family with huge jumbo cards, was always a joy for him.
He is survived by three daughters, Waunita (Dave) Black, Billings MT, LaVonna (Rick) Shank, Gillette, WY, and Dianne (Fred) Bagley, Canyon Country, CA; and a son, Billy (Terry) Prell, Canyon Country, CA; two sisters, Josephine Shacklefurd, Newcastle, WY, and Edith Graham, Montrose, CO; 12 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Bonnie Marie (Walkup) Prell; parents, Jay and Florence Prell; three brothers, George, Glen, and Ed; one sister, Peg Chastain; one granddaughter, Tracy Linette Keister; and one grandson, Nathan Scott Bagley.
As per his wishes, cremation has taken place and at later date, he will be laid to rest in the Prell Family section at Greenwood Cemetery, Newcastle, WY.
A memorial can be made to Campbell County Senior Center.
Online condolences can be made at www.gillettenewsrecord.com or www.kinkadefunerals.com.