Maria Dunlap "Ria" (Otto) Engebretsen



(February 26, 1924 - November 8, 2015)


Casper Star Tribune
November 16, 2015



Marie "Ria" Dunlap Engebretsen, 91, of Keeline Wyo., was born in Bad Nauheim, Germany on February 26, 1924, to Christian Wilhelm and Katrina Bopp Otto. She went to her heavenly home on November 8, 2015.

In WWII Ria was a nurse in Germany. Due to her young age and the fact that she was not married, she was assigned to the Special Ambulance Group. After enemy bombers had dropped their bombs, this group was responsible for the care of friend or foe.

Thomas W. Dunlap and Marie "Ria" Otto were married in 1946 in Bad Nauheim, Germany. Not long after her arrival in the United States, she went to work for Dr. Rosene in the Wheatland hospital.

After Tom was discharged from the Army, they moved to Lusk, Wyo. In 1950 Ria went to work for Dr. Torkelson in the Lusk hospital. She worked as a nurse, laboratory and x-ray technician, in the front office, and was at times the interim Administrator. She did this for 35 years and loved taking care of people. Ria loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and was an active member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Thomas W. Dunlap passed away November 20, 1967. On September 14, 1972, Ria married Floyd Engebretsen of Keeline, Wyo., where she resided until her death.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Thomas W. Dunlap and Floyd Engebretsen, two brothers, four sisters, one grandson, and one granddaughter.

She is survived by her children: Thomas W. Dunlap, Keeline, Wyo.; Heidemarie (Randy) Sides, Casper, Wyo.; Monika (Doyle) Davies, Lusk, Wyo.; Nels (Lynna Faye) Engebretsen, Chadron, Nebr.; Charles (Mary) Engebretsen, Lost Springs, Wyo.; Pat (Fred) Kagie, Gilbert, Ariz.; sister Margrete Vela, Brighton, Colo.; fourteen grandchildren; twenty-seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends.

Memorial Services will be held at 2:00 P.M. Friday November 20, 2015, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lusk, Wyo.

Memorials may be made to the Niobrara Hospital Auxiliary with the intent to establish a Nursing Scholarship, or to St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Pier Funeral Home is assisting the family.



The Lusk Herald
November 18, 2015
Marie "Ria" Dunlap Engebretsen


Marie "Ria" Dunlap Engebretsen, 91, of Keeline, Wyo., was born in Bad Nauheim, Germany on February 26, 1924, to Christian Wilhelm and Katrina Bopp Otto. She went to her heavenly home on November 8, 2015.

Bad Nauheim's earliest history dates back to the 6th century B.C. Its rich mineral wells provide the healing waters used in the community's numerous bathhouses. In her youth, Ria was a group leader for the "Glaube undo Schonbeit" which was strictly a sports group. She was a very good high jumper and was invited to the Olympic trials for the German National team.

At the outbreak of WWII, every able-bodied German citizen was required to help in the war effort. Ria chose nursing, taking her training from Catholic nuns. During WWII Ria was a nurse for the German Army. Due to her young age and the fact that she was not married, she was assigned to the Special Ambulance Group. After enemy bombers had dropped their bombs, this group was responsible for the care of friend or foe. When she was not on an ambulance run, Ria worked in the many local military field hospitals. Her older brother Willi served as a Captain in the German Army on the Russian Front. Her younger brother Karl served as a Captain in the German Navy on a PT boat in the North Sea.

At the end of the war, the Americans took control of Bad Nauheim. General George Patton moved his Third Army Headquarters to the Grand Hotel in Bad Nauheim. Ria's father, Wilmelm Otto, was considered one of the best carpenters in the area. He was given the responsibility of remodeling one floor of the hotel for General Patton's personal quarters. Wilhelm and his crew spent many evenings with General Patton drinking beer and discussing the war. The Germans in Bad Nauheim have a different take on the car crash in which General Patton was so badly injured.

In order to get a ration card, Ria had to take jobs that the Americans assigned her. She took a job working for General Collins at the Army's Supply Headquarters. Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Dunlap from Wheatland, Wyo. was in charge of this outfit. After a lengthy courtship, Thomas W. Dunlap and Marie "Ria" Otto were married in 1946 in Bad Nauheim, Germany. Ria arrived at Ellis Island in September of 1947 by herself, as her husband had already been shipped home. Not long after her arrival in the United States, she went to work for Dr. Rosene in the Wheatland hospital.

After Tom was discharged from the Army, they moved to Lusk, Wyo. In 1950 Ria went to work for Dr. Torkelson in the Lusk hospital. She worked as a nurse, laboratory and x-ray technician, in the front office, and was at times the interim Administrator. She did this for 35 years and loved taking care of her patients and their families. She always remembered the children that she helped deliver, and would share that memory with them and their families. Ria loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and was an active member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

One of Ria's proudest moments was when she took the oath for her United States citizenship in 1956. She would quiz new visitors to the ranch asking them if they knew where they were. When they responded "Wyoming", she would correct them: "You are in God's country".

She was an avid follower of the University of Wyoming football and basketball teams, having season tickets for both, and attending as many games as possible She also followed the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Broncos, and the Colorado Rockies. Her favorite Rockies players being DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado. Ria was an active sports fan, having no qualms about contacting team ownership. She also had no hesitation in contacting her elected officials, including the White House.

During the winter of '60-'61, Ria and Tom bought a ranch east of Glendo, Wyo.

Thomas W. Dunlap passed away November 20, 1967. On September 14, 1972, Ria married Floyd Engebretsen of Keeline, Wyo., where she resided until her death. She and Floyd greatly enjoyed all the hunters that came from across the country to their ranch. For the last several years Ria has hosted wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts during hunting season.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, Thomas W. Dunlap and Floyd Engebretsen, two brothers, fours sisters, one grandson, and one granddaughter.

She is survived by her children: Thomas W. Dunlap, Keeline, Wyo.; Heidemarie (Randy) Sides, Casper, Wyo.; Monika (Doyle) Davies, Lusk, Wyo.; Nels (Lynna Faye) Engebretsen, Chadron, Nebr.; Charles (Mary) Engebretsen, Lost Springs, Wyo.; Pat (Fred) Kagie, Gilbert, Ariz.; sister Margrete Vela, Brighton, Colo.; fourteen grandchildren; twenty-seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends.

Memorial Services will be held at 2:00 P.M. Friday November 20, 2015, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lusk, Wyo.

Memorials may be made to St. Paul's Lutheran Church or to the Niobrara Hospital Auxiliary c/o Arlene Rapp, PO Box 644, Lusk, WY 82225. The intent is to establish a Nursing Scholarship in Ria's name.

Pier Funeral Home is assisting the family.








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