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William Frederick 'Bill' Petrausch

William Frederick "Bill" Petrausch, 89, passed away on Thursday, April 14, 2022, in a hospital in Memphis, Tenn., with kidney and related issues.

Bill was born in Powell, Wyo., on June 24, 1932, to the late Dr. William Petrausch and Ruth (Rhodes) Petrausch. In 1942, the family, which now included younger brothers John and Jim, moved to Thermopolis, Wyo., where Dr. Bill set up his chiropractic business initially at the Mineral Springs Hotel in State Park, then later at the McGannon Inn, just north of the Washakie Plunge.

Bill, or Billy, as his friends called him, participated in many activities while in school, but particularly enjoyed playing the cornet and marching in the school bands. He also learned to play tennis and along with his brothers, swam almost daily in either the Washakie or Star Plunges. He also enjoyed classical music at a very early age, and had several 78 and 33 1/3 records. He graduated in 1950 as the class Valedictorian.

He then attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie for a short time, also playing cornet and marching in the university band. Then later, he attended Central Business College in Denver, where in his 3rd year, was drafted into the army, where he proudly served for 12 years in the Signal Corps. He was stationed at various Forts in the United States, and then while stationed in Okinawa, he met and married his wife Eiko, with daughter Kay, and was then transferred to Ft. Sill, Okla., near Lawton. Daughter Mary Jo was born during this time.

He let his enlistment run out, but stayed on at the same job, but now as a civilian. Not long after, he decided to become a teacher, and with further training, taught Special Education to all grades for many years. During this time, he also travelled to several towns in Caddo County, Okla., collecting the weekly sports information for inclusion in the Caddo County Warrior newspaper.

After 20 or so years, he retired from teaching and being a local sports reporter. He and Eiko then created a business out of a mobile trailer, and called themselves "Bilkos" after Bill and Eiko, and for many years enjoyed traveling to nearby towns in Oklahoma and into Texas, where they made and sold many varieties of delicious native Indian fruit pies at various swap meets and farmer's markets.

They also travelled to Branson, Mo., over the years, enjoying the beauty and attending the various shows. Then, in 1998, Eiko passed away, so Bill moved to Branson, and became employed in the entertainment industry for a few years. Then he decided to move to Southaven, Miss., just across the Tennessee border and about 5 miles south of Graceland, where he met a man named Chris Coburn and they became the best of friends, travelling here and there, including a mini reunion trip to Arizona in May of 2021, where brother Jim and wife Renée live, and brother John and wife Mary Lou were visiting as well, not realizing this would be the last time.

In the past year, Bill's health slowly began to decline, to the point where Chris was constantly caring for him, including 19 days in the hospital before he passed.

Bill is survived by daughters, Kay Burt (Steve) in Marlow, Okla., and Mary Jo in Oklahoma City, Okla., brothers, John (Mary Lou) in Prineville, Ore., and Jim (Renée) in Sun City, Ariz.; and several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services will be held in Apache, Okla., at a time to be determined.


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