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Four Generations of Neithammer Women

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05/01/2008 - I watch as they gather around the wingback chair in front of the fireplace, these Neithammer women. Beautiful and poised, matriarch Jean Marie sits in the chair. On the arm beside her sits daughter Susie True. Susie's daughter, Tracy Propp, stands behind her grandmother and Tracy's seven-year old daughter Mikayla takes a seat on the floor. The room is teeming with the love and respect these Neithammer's have for each other. And, by default, it permeates over to me and I revel in it as I watch them pose for their photographs.

Though both were Casper natives from a couple of generations back, Jean Marie Spees and Victor Neithammer were married in New Mexico where he was stationed during World War II. He had only five days leave for their wedding and honeymoon. But, after all, as the popular saying went, "Don't you know there's a war on?"

After the war they moved back to Casper and Victor earned a living with Western Distributing. For a short time, they lived on a ranch in Tensleep. It happened to to be during the infamous winter of 1949. They were snowed in and isolated for four months. Jean Marie, pregnant with their second child, remembers having to "climb the snow drifts" that were way over the house, "to get to the chickens." And, as for fetching the cow every day so they could have milk,... well... let's just say oldest daughter Susie thought its name was "Damn cow." After that episode, they happily moved back to Casper and raised their four daughters here. They spent their summers at their cabin on the Lake.

Susie Neithammer married Diemer True and Diemer supported his family as the managing partner for Black Hills Trucking and Tool Pushers. They spent their summers working on the True ranch at the foot of Laramie Peak near Wheatland. They loved spending their summers there and their children benefited from knowing the peace of country life. They were blessed with four children in five-and-a-half years. Susie says, "It was wonderful because you have them close together and, while you're still young, you get to start having grandchildren. We have 21 and we're expecting number 22 very soon."

Tracy loved spending her summers growing up on the ranch. "We had to learn to get along with our siblings because our siblings were our only playmates," says Susie. "Growing up there, I learned the importance of a strong family unit and to love the outdoors and animals. And I learned a strong work ethic."

Tracy True Propp was married to Mike Propp for four years. They have two children, Mikayla (7) and Preston (5). Tracy home-schools her children, is currently remodeling the old family home, and is beginning the business of raising horses on her parents' ranch. Recently her mare, Montana, gave birth to a colt and they named him Bozeman. (Bozeman. Out of Montana. Get it? Very cute.)

Mikayla's favorite thing to do in school is to practice her handwriting. In her free time, she loves riding her bike, playing in the creek when mom says it's low enough, helping with barn chores, and riding her horse Beau. She also plays soccer. Ah-h...the energy of youth.

These four lovely women grace our town with their presence, one of the many reasons Casper is such a wonderful place to live.

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