Dr. Robert Lawrence Fernau

R.L. Fernau, M.D.
R.L. Fernau, M.D.

Shirley and Robert Fernau
Shirley and Robert Fernau



(June 21, 1922 - July 23, 1976)


The Lusk Herald
July 29, 1976


Mass Celebrated for man who grew up here

Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated Monday morning July 26 at St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Riverton for Robert L. Fernau, M.D., who died at this home July 23 from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to authorities. Friends he had made during his 21 years of medical practice in the community assembled at 9 a.m. to pay final tribute to the 54-year-old family practitioner.

The Rev. Colm Woods who several years ago was the priest in charge of the Lusk Catholic church was the main celebrant for the Mass, with the Rev. Gerard Boucher, the Rev. Anthony Short, the Rev. John Flannagan and the Rev. Carl Starkloff the concelebrants. Burial was in the Mountain View Cemetery.

A rosary recitation was held Sunday evening.

Several years ago Dr. Fernau suffered a near-fatal attack of pneumonia, which hospitalized him in Denver for several weeks. His health has deteriorated since that time. He returned, however, to his practice in Riverton and continued with his heavy schedule of work until his death.

Deaths in Dr. Fernau's family deeply grieved him and he had been especially despondent since the death of his longtime friend and associate Dr. Bernard Stack, Riverton, a few weeks ago.

Dr. Fernau was married August 20, 1950, to Shirley Olsen in St. Margaret's Church in Riverton and he is survived by his wife and three children.

Their daughter Lynnette and her husband Tom Ward are students of the University of Wyoming at Laramie. One son Sgt. Robert L. Fernau is stationed at Blytheville, Ark., and the younger son James L., will be a senior at Riverton High School.

Robert Lawrence Fernau was the next to the youngest of the fourteen children born to John and Christine Strube Fernau. He was born June 21, 1922, at Lusk. Both parents are deceased.

Two brothers, Dale of Crawford and Walter of Lusk and two sisters Mrs. Voyne (Betty) Morgan of Lusk and Mrs. Bonnie Bartlett of Denver are the only survivors of the large family.

Dr. Fernau grew up in Lusk. He graduated from high school here and from the University of Wyoming in pre-med and then from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. After completing his residency, he went to Riverton in 1955, joining the Wind River Medical Group.

During World War II, Dr. Fernau was a medic serving in the South Pacific, where he was awarded the south Philippines Liberation Service Ribbon with one bronze star and the meritorious unit award. He also served on Guam.

Always interested in the advancement of medicine he continued to study. He earned the Specialist Degree in Family Practice and was the recipient of the medical honorary, the Gold Head Cane Award of the A.O.A. He was a member of the American Academy of Physicians and Surgeons.

He was one of the founders of Berdco, real estate business, and as a member of the Riverton Chamber of Commerce, he assisted in various community drives, assisted St. Margaret's School in the development of its library and was one of the three organizers of Riverton's golf course.

For many years he served as the school and as the athletic doctor as well as working as a county health officer.

On a state basis, he was a member of Wyopac and served on the board for Blue Cross and Blue Shield and was chairman of the Heart Fund. Several of his family had been victims of heart attacks.

Memorials may be made to St. Joseph's Children Home, Heart Fund, Cancer fund, or a choice of the donor.

Members of the Fernau family who attended the services were Mr. and Mrs. Dale Fernau, Crawford; Mr. and Mrs. Walt Fernau, and Mr. and Mrs. Voyne Morgan, Lusk; Mr. and Mrs. Richard Fernau and family, Lovell; Mr. and Mrs. Kenton Bailey, Colorado Springs; Mr. and Mrs. Harry Fernau, Jr., Lusk; Mr. and Mrs. Jack Niles and their daughter Mrs. Cristine Sara of Cheyenne.








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