Leora “Blondie” Jane Wildberger (Phipps) was born on December 8, 1950 in Deadwood SD to Burton and Ruth Phipps.

Leora attended school in Lead, SD until she graduated in May of 1969. She attended Black Hill State College in Spearfish, SD and received a Bachelor’s Degree in music education. In 2004 she graduated with her Master’s Degree in music education from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming.

In 1988 she met the love of her life, Rick Wildberger. They were married April 30th of 1994. Leora and Rick were the best of friends and truly completed each other.

Leora loved all of the countless pets she had over the years. “I was never a people person. My comfort zone was always with my four-legged kids.”

She truly was wonderful with people, and especially children. She had a passion for instilling the love of music in youth. She was a very accomplished music teacher and instilled a love of music in many students over the years. Her teaching career began in Mission, SD where she taught elementary music for one year. She later moved to Rawlins Wyoming where she taught elementary music from 1994-2002. Rick and Leora moved to Sheridan Wyoming in 2002 where she taught music in Ranchester, Wyoming until her retirement in 2015. She also taught hundreds of piano and flute students over the years. After her retirement she directed the church choir at Trinity Lutheran Church and then one of her most proud accomplishments was starting a youth chorale at Trinity Lutheran, where she continued passing along her love of music to children.

Leora’s grandbabies provided great joy to her. She loved spending time with them doing arts and crafts. She was known around Sheridan for her garage sale-ing and thrift shopping with her best friend/granddaughter Elise. Those two were inseparable and could usually be found at the park eating ice cream together.

Her friends knew her as a lady full of joyful spirit and positive attitude, that brightened up everyone’s day around her. As one of her friends said, “She wore the coolest shoes”!

Leora was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. She was preceded in death by her father Burton Phipps, Mother Ruth Williams, Step Dad Hugh Williams, and sister Lona Phipps. She is survived in life by her husband Rick Wildberger, Son Tyler Surrell and wife Jill, Step Children Michelle Wildberger Meyers, Bryan Wildberger and wife Tina, Sister Deanna Cooper, and grandbabies Lance Reutlinger, Elise Surrell, Kalani Meyers, and Olivia Wildberger.

Leora left this world way too soon on January 17, 2019 after fighting a brave battle against brain cancer.

Services will be held on Friday, January 25, 2019 at 2:00pm at the Trinity Lutheran Church with Pastor Phil Wold officiating. A reception will follow.

Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.

Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.

Sheridan & Johnson County Obituaries