Around our Town...People
Lola and Wendell Culbertson
05/01/2005 - When Lola Culbertson traveled to Casper with her late husband, Print Thompson, in 1953 she had no idea how much her life would change over the next 52 years. Born, raised and married in California, the couple moved first to Phoenix, Arizona for 7 months before hearing that Casper would be a good place for Print to start his carpentry business. They raised their four children, Tom, Larry, Jeff and Starla in a charming home near Eastdale Park.
In January 1993, after 40 years of marriage, Print died suddenly and unexpectedly. Lola was widow for the next ten years. "I didn't think I would ever marry again," she reflects.
Enter Wendell Culbertson...recent widower after 59 ½ years of marriage. Born in Colorado Springs, CO, Wendell attended seminary in Pueblo for two years until WWII, when he entered the Navy. He studied radar and became a radar technician for the mysterious night fighter squadron (VFN76). He won the Presidential Unit Citation Award for excellence in battle twice – once for service on the USS Yorktown and the other for service on the USS Hornet. He completed his tour of duty with the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
He then attended the University of Colorado, Boulder and studied electrical engineering. He then accepted a temporary job with Continental Oil Company at their refinery in Glenrock. He moved to Wyoming during the blizzard of '49. "I love the wonderland winters of the state! That "temporary' job lasted seven years," Wendell chuckles.
After that he worked for Conoco Oil Company for 34 years, making his home in Casper and traveling from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska and from Indiana to California. He and wife, Arlene, raised their two children Richard and Rayanne in Casper during those years.
Lola and Wendell, having known each other for many years, had always thought well of each other. Then one evening during a church seniors meeting, Wendell approached Lola and put his arm around her. "I won't bite you!" he assured her. Two weeks later the couple was engaged and it's been "moonlight and roses" ever since.
"Lola's added an exciting new chapter to my life," Wendell says, "she's been just a princess...she's been more than a princess, she's been a queen!"
"He's the kindest, gentlest, loving man I've ever know," Lola says.
...And they lived happily ever after!