MaryEllen (Wenner) Kaan Brightwell


July 14, 1932 - January 4, 2018

MaryEllen (Wenner) Kaan Brightwell, 85, passed away January 4, 2018, at Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne, WY. MaryEllen was born in Catasauqua, PA on July 14, 1932 to James J. Wenner and Tillie (Weibll) Wenner. She attended Catasauqua High School and the Sacred Heart Hospital School of Nursing. She began her nursing career in Greenwich, CT. She then moved to Cheyenne where she met Lawrence Kaan. They were married November 1, 1958 in Pennsylvania and then moved to the Kaan Angus Ranch near Lusk, WY where they lived until moving into Lusk in 1979. MaryEllen worked at the Niobrara County Memorial Hospital and for Dr. Carlton Huitt during her nursing career in Lusk. Lawrence and MaryEllen were married for 30 years before his passing in November, 1988. 

MaryEllen continued to work at NCMH where she met and married her second husband, Wade Brightwell on October 5, 1993. After they were married, Mary Ellen retired from nursing and they moved to his home in Culver City, CA. After Wade passed away in August, 1998 MaryEllen moved to Rock Springs, WY where she worked as a teacher’s aide at Holy Spirit Catholic School and volunteered at Sweetwater Memorial Hospital. She moved to Cheyenne in December, 2016. 

MaryEllen was a 55 year member of Rebekahs, a long time member of the Niobrara Hospital Auxiliary, Red Hats and Rock Springs Women’s Club. She enjoyed knitting, counted cross-stitch, gardening, and especially University of Wyoming football and basketball. 

MaryEllen is survived by her children; Dennis (Cheryl) Kaan of Sterling, CO; Dale (Andrea Ford) Kaan of Pinedale, WY; Jennifer (Harold “PJ”) Page of Cheyenne, WY; and daughter-in-law Tina Kaan of Denver, CO; grandchildren; Melissa, Dusty, Justin (Bobbi Redding), Nathaniel and Christian Kaan, Ashley Page, Wyatt and Shawn Ford, and numerous nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her husbands, parents, son Dr. Daryl Kaan, brother Frederick Wenner, sisters Helen Muringer and Emma Williams. 

A Remembrance of Life will be held in Lusk on July 14, 2018. 

The family of MaryEllen respectfully suggests that donations in her memory be made to Wyoming Rebekah Assembly Scholarship, 5844 Indigo Dr., Cheyenne WY 82001 or Memorial Hospital Foundation, 1200 College Dr., Rock Springs, WY 82901. 

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