Elmer Kandt died, Sept. 22, 2018. He was born June 4, 1927, the second in a family of eight, four brothers and three sisters, all born 3 ½ miles south of Woodbine, KS.
He attended school in Union School District 18, a one-room school where about half the students were his brothers and sisters. After graduating from Woodbine High School in 1945, he worked on the family farm until enlisting in the Army in 1946. He served in the 24th Infantry Division during the occupation of Japan until he was honorably discharged in 1948.
He then returned home to work the farm with his father. A lifelong Democrat who was active in the Wyoming Democratic party, he recalled voting for Eisenhower in 1952. Abilene was the county seat and Eisenhower’s boyhood home. The Abilene paper said it was everyone’s duty to vote for the hometown boy. He voted for him even though “he didn’t like to be told what to do.” He then left to go to Wyoming on Veteran’s Day 1952.
One of the main reasons he came to Wyoming was his uncle Harold Noyes who came to Wyoming in 1923 where he served on the Casper City Council in the 1930s and was mayor in the early 40s. At that time the Casper newspaper printed an annual paper that had sections about agriculture, ranching, oil and gas, tourism and other subjects, and his uncle sent him that paper.
When he got to Casper he got a job with Stanolind Oil and Gas on a seismograph crew. He worked in several areas of Wyoming.
In 1953, he married Alo Jean Fossey of Lander. Beginning in 1956 he worked at the Texaco Refinery until its closing in 1982. After early retirement, he was the building and grounds manager at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, a hand on the Kanski Ranch near Pinedale, WY, and a wheat harvester in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
His brother-in-law’s mother, a widow, knew he didn’t like to sit around, so she asked him to mow her lawn and told other widows about him. He ended up mowing lawns in summer, shoveling snow in winter, and doing a lot of handyman work for about 30 widows and older couples. Nearly all have passed on. That widow was right; he didn’t like to sit around. He worked summers as a campground host for the US Forest Service. For several years, he helped build houses for Habitat for Humanity and volunteered at Poverty Resistance. One of his most recent projects was helping his son Greg build a home in Dubois. He always enjoyed working.
Elmer loved the outdoors and backpacked, camped, fished, and hunted throughout Wyoming. A pioneer of Casper’s Nordic skiing scene, he groomed the trails for the high school ski teams in the 70s and early 80s. Elmer’s grandchildren called him a “freak of nature” because he competed in ski races well into his 80s.
He was preceded in death by his father Victor Kandt and his mother Sophia (Stroda) Kandt and two brothers Edward and Kenneth Kandt of Wichita.
He is survived by his ex-wife Alo Jean Kandt; their four children - Greg Kandt (Pamela) of Casper; Laurie Ann Sponsler (Mike) of McDonough, GA; Mark Kandt of Escondido, CA; and Lisa Smith (Ernie) of Casper; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sisters Theresa Lorson of Hope, KS and Arlene McWhirter of Jackson, WY; brothers Keith Kandt of Lindsborg, KS and Robert Kandt of Wichita, KS.
A memorial service will be held at the Oregon Trail Veterans Cemetery in Casper, WY at 2pm on October 15, 2018. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorials to Habitat for Humanity.