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Independent Obituaries: June 26, 2024

The following obituaries appeared in the June 26, 2024 edition of the Star Valley Independent.

For more area obituaries, please visit Schwab Mortuary.

For more resources including headstones, please visit the Star Valley Historical Society.


Fritz Ashauer

Fritz Ashauer

Fritz John Ashauer, age 86, passed away Tuesday, May 18, 2024 at his home in Mesquite.  He was born November 17, 1937, in Visalia, California to Freda Grimm Ashauer and Fred Ashauer. He was their only child. He married Carolyn Kliewer Buschman on May 26, 1979 in Thayne, Wyoming.

Fritz attended elementary and high schools in Visalia, California. He served in the Army National Guard Infantry of California for three years and completed five years of service in the Reserves with an honorable discharge. After marrying his first wife, Nada Henderson, he became interested in music and recording and eventually opened a music and record store catering to the interests of teens and young people in Santa Barbara, California. Fritz formally adopted Nada’s two children James and Rena and fathered a son, Fritz Daniel (Danny).

After moving to Bountiful, Utah in the early 1970s, Fritz contracted work with Utah Power and Light in Salt Lake City. That was his weekday employment. On the weekends he flew his private airplane to Visalia, California often accompanied by his son Danny to farm the walnut orchard he had inherited from his parents. During this time Fritz and Nada were divorced.

Fritz and Carolyn were married in 1979. Within a year they moved to Star Valley Ranch near Thayne, Wyoming. They were accompanied by Fritz’s son, Danny (12) and Carolyn’s daughter Lesil (7) who snowmobiled to and from the bus stop in the winter and motorcycled the distance in the spring and fall. He taught Carolyn’s daughter, Lesil to ride bike — running tirelessly beside and behind her till she could get the hang of it. Carolyn’s sons Derek (11) and Monty (10) came for the summers with their motorcycles and enjoyed the outdoor freedom of riding the undeveloped areas of Star Valley Ranch, exploring the canyons with Danny as their guide. Fritz taught the boys how to repair and maintain their “rides” and how to gut fish and other manly arts. After a few years of “roughing it” in the winter, hauling groceries and other supplies to the house in a sled, keeping the wood stove stoked, moving snow, enjoying the wildlife, the beauty of the pristine snow, and frigid temperatures; the adventure of it all got old and the finances were squeezed to the limit. It was time to move on.

After moving to the Salt Lake City area, Fritz found employment as a broadcast engineer at a radio station. He had a natural knack for this and soon contracted with many of the stations in the vicinity — keeping their equipment running and their signals on the air. He also gained experience in building radio stations from the ground up and he dreamed of having his own.

Carolyn’s daughter Lesil and her significant other had a baby girl, Vive, in 1994. This granddaughter came to live with Fritz and his wife for several years. Although Fritz always said he didn’t want any crying grand babies around, he became thoroughly attached, and proclaimed that she was the child that he and Carolyn never had.  Vive became his little “schnookie.”

In 1999 Fritz started taking steps toward making the radio station possible. He and his wife moved back to Star Valley and around 2004 and his dream began to be his reality. Intermountain Public Radio was up and running.  KTYN 91.9 on the FM dial was playing Golden Oldies on the air. Through the years other call letters and a country venue were added. He was a one-man operator managing all aspects and complexities of a radio station. He was assisted by Laurie Arnold who produced most ads, liners, and announcements — lending a professional touch to his on-air presence. His desire was to serve by announcing local cultural events, advertising local businesses, and bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to the communities in Wyoming and Idaho. He was always striving for better sound and further signal outreach.

Fritz was a unique and sometimes eccentric man. A man of conviction who loved the Lord, who delighted in the work of his hands, and loved the people he served through the airwaves.

He was a great handyman able to fix almost anything.

He owned several airplanes during his lifetime and loved flying them. Fishing, boating, camping and enjoying the beauty of nature delighted him. He loved watching the wild life and feeding the birds. Having a small flock of “cluckers,” for fresh eggs, a few peafowl for beauty, and guinea hens to eat insects were among his hobbies.

By the end of 2023 it was evident that Fritz could no longer climb towers and fix antennas, or snowmobile up mountains to fix radio transmitters along with the duties of broadcasting due to dementia and other physical age-related issues. A few days before Christmas 2023 he drove himself to Mesquite, Nevada, to be with Carolyn who was there for the winter; he spent the last six months of his life in her care. During his last month Carolyn was assisted by the professionals from Comfort Home Health and Hospice. Their kind perceptive care for both Fritz and Carolyn helped ease them through the last chapter of Fritz’s life. He drew his last breath in the early hours of Tuesday, June 18th, 2024 and crossed over the realm of physical existence into the arms of Jesus and his forever home.

He is survived by his wife Carolyn, the afore mentioned children and their spouses (if they have one), 14 grandchildren and several great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Freda Ashauer and his son James Ashauer.

We invite family and friends to leave condolences or memories at


Robert Wilkes

Robert Murray Wilkes

Robert Murray Wilkes passed away peacefully Thursday June 20, 2024, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Bob was born to Murray and Lucy Wilkes in Afton, Wyoming, on Thursday January 25, 1940.  At the age of 6, he began to learn the values of hard work, loyalty, and dedication as he worked daily alongside his father. Bob attended Star Valley High School and enjoyed school, sports, and building lifelong friendships as he grew up. In 1960, he was called to serve in the Central States Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Later, Bob was sealed to his eternal sweetheart, Estella, in the Salt Lake City Temple on September 6, 1963.  Bob and Estella established their first home in Provo, Utah, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University. After graduation, he taught seminary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Enterprise, Utah.  He then taught institute at the University of Nevada at Reno. While in Reno, Bob completed a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from BYU.

In 1970, Bob began his employment at Ricks College, in Rexburg, Idaho.  During his career at Ricks College, he taught religion, horsemanship, and basketball. From 1999-2004 Bob served as the vice-president of Student Life and assisted in the transition of Ricks College to a four-year university as BYU-Idaho.  During this time, he was awarded the BYU-Idaho Man of Excellence Award in 2004.

Bob was a dedicated and faithful servant of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  He had a strong testimony of the Savior and considered it an honor to serve as a bishop, a counselor in a stake presidency, a stake president, a Regional Representative, and as President of the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission from 1995 to 1998 with his wife, Estella.  In November of 2004, Bob was asked to return as the Interim President of BYU-Idaho. He was released from this position in August 2005. Then from 2005-2008 Bob and Estella served together as Temple President and Matron for the Billings Montana Temple. Upon their return to Idaho in 2008, Bob was called as a sealer in the Idaho Falls Temple where he served diligently for 15 years. His love for the temple, love of people, and love for Estella and his family culminated in the great joy Bob felt being in the temple.

He is survived by his beloved spouse Estella Woodruff Wilkes of Rigby, Idaho.  His children Elizabeth (Kelly) Burgener of Rexburg, Idaho; Alison (Thayer) Rogers of San Antonio, Texas; Robert (Suzanne) Murray Wilkes, Jr. of Farmington, Utah; Amanda (Brian) Kingsford of Rexburg, Idaho; John (Amy) Woodruff Wilkes of Pocatello, Idaho; Scott (Shelly) Edmond Wilkes of Rexburg, Idaho; twenty-six grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two sisters Carolyn Wilkes, Afton, Wyoming; and Annette (Larry) Ferguson, Taylorsville, Utah.

A viewing will be held Friday, June 28, 2024 from 6-8 p.m. at the LaBelle 3rd Ward Chapel located at 4223 East 528 North, Rigby, ID.  A second viewing will be held Saturday, June 29, 2024 from 9-10 a.m. in the John Taylor Building on the campus of BYU-Idaho located at 101 East Viking Street, Rexburg, ID.  Funeral services will be held in the Taylor Chapel from 11-12 a.m. with internment following at the Rexburg Cemetery.

For full obituary see


Vivian Jones

Vivian Gardner Jones

Vivian Gardner Jones beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 2nd at the age of 92. She was born on November 5, 1931 in Grover, Wyoming, in an old log house. She was the third of eight children born to Delos and Lorean Gardner.

She graduated with honors from Star Valley High and received a scholarship to University of Wyoming, where she was part of the first nursing class and graduated with honors in 1954.

While in college she was honored to be National Vice President of Lambda Delta Sigma Sorority. During her time at the university, she met Woodford Wilkerson Jones. Shortly after they met, he was drafted in the army and stationed at Camp Chafee in Arkansas. He asked her to come see him. During a snowy November, she traveled on a bus to Arkansas and while there got engaged.

They were married on May 29, 1953, in the Idaho Falls Temple.

Their first year of marriage Woody was deployed to Germany. Vivian remained in Laramie finishing her Nursing degree and working at the Iverson Memorial Hospital. Brad was born in Laramie in 1955 and 3 months later they settled in Casper, Wyoming, where she was a nurse at the Natrona County Hospital. They welcomed children Cynthia, and Sharon. In addition to their joys, they also faced heartbreaking loss, including the passing of their son Kyle at birth in 1963.

Woody accepted a job in 1966 with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which led them to Bountiful, Utah. She worked and taught nursing at St Marks in Salt Lake City for several years then finished her nursing career at Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful.

They experienced another profound loss with the passing of their daughter Karla, also at birth. Their lives were brightened by the arrival of their sixth child, Tony in 1973.

Throughout her life, Vivian was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She served in many callings but loved her service as ward and stake choir director. She loved music and played the Oboe in high school. She had a beautiful singing voice and shared that talent often. Her favorite vocal artist was Alfie Boe. Vivian bravely battled and survived breast cancer. Her testimony was a comfort to her during this time.

She had a talent for writing and self-published a collection of her poems in a book dedicated to her 13 grandchildren. “13 is my Lucky Number” She inspired her children and grandchildren with her creativity. Her writings and poetry were a result of a lifetime of experiences. Grandma, we were the Lucky Ones!

She had a lifelong love for sports, especially BYU athletics, though she did have a soft spot for the Wyoming Cowboys. Throughout her life, she attended countless sporting events and other performances of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She cherished her large extended family staying connected with her 66 cousins, nieces, and nephews. Vivian leaves behind a legacy of faith, strength, resilience, and love for her family and community. She will be deeply missed by all who knew her.

She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Woodford, her parents Delos and Lorean, her siblings Delworth, Nola Jean, LaNiel, Hank, Julia.

She is survived by children Brad (Neola) Jones, Cynthia (Mark) Hepworth, Sharon Dehart and Tony (Danyal) Jones and her two sibling’s Marjorie (William) Bradshaw, Joel (Joyce)Gardner, Sister- in- law Harriett Paris, 13 grandchildren, 4 step grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 29, 2024 at 11 am at the Centerville Deuel Creek Ward, 690 N 400 W Centerville, Utah, where a viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 am prior to services.

Services will be streamed live on Russon Mortuary Live Facebook page.

Interment will be held at the Afton Cemetery, July 1, 2024 at 11:00 am.


William Crnkovich

William Crnkovich

William Anthony Crnkovich was born on September 6, 1980 in Montpelier, Idaho.

He was preceded in death by his father Anthony (Tony) Christopher Crnkovich. He is survived by his daughter, Kaelana Geordan Crnkovich, and mother Brenda Rose Crnkovich, as well as his two sisters Judy Raquel Williams (husband Dale, and children Tyler Long, Christopher, Katelyn (Freya, Tatum) and Kaileb Camacho) and Charity Lee Williams (husband Tyler, and children Benjamin and Zoie) and many others.

He graduated from Star Valley High School on May 27, 1998.

He then joined the Army National Guard on December 20, 1997 and served for 10 years. He was medically discharged on November 8, 2007.

After a tour in Iraq, he and his then wife were blessed with their beautiful daughter, Kaelana.

William had a very generous heart and loved people well. William loved to make people smile, his business motto was, “I’m in business to make people smile.”

William took after his dad and loved to work hard, he did this through working with various construction crews, as well as owning and operating his own knife business (William’s Knives). He also was extremely knowledgeable about guns and loved shooting them. William also loved fishing and loved hunting with his dad Tony.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2024 at Schwab Funeral Home (211 Jepperson Rd., Thayne, WY) at 11 am. After this service, those who would like to are invited to join the family in Soda Springs for a graveside service and military honors at Fairview Cemetery (148 S. Main St., Soda Springs, ID) at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, those who wish to remember William in a special way are invited to give to the memorial fund at the Bank of Star Valley, the fund is under his daughter’s name, Kaelana Crnkovich.

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