LaVerne Wahlert Obituary, Death – Dame LaVerne On September 2, 2023, James Wahlert, who was fondly referred to by many as “Hoot,” passed away in the comfort of his own home. His parents, James and Arlene (Schwab) Wahlert, welcomed Hoot into the world on December 13, 1938, at their residence in Exira, Iowa. He was the second child out of a total of four.
His family made the trip to Hillrose, Colorado, in 1944, and after settling in, he and his brother Ed had many adventures together on the family farm. After receiving his diploma from Hillrose High School in 1957, he immediately began working for Betty and Shorty Leis on the farm that they owned in Merino. In the summer of 1960, he was “dragging Main” in Fort Morgan with a friend when that’s when he first laid eyes on the woman who would become the love of his life: Patricia Columbia.
Patricia lied to her father and told him that her name was Sue Calhoun because she was afraid of getting in trouble with her father. He was steadfast in his love for her, and he never stopped asking her out on dates until she gave in and said yes. He enlisted in the United States Army in February of 1961 and spent the entirety of his service in the state of Alaska, more specifically in the city of Anchorage.
Pat recognized that he was one of a kind and had the desire to spend the rest of her life with him, so on June 17, 1961, they tied the knot. Pat followed him to Alaska, and on December 9, 1962, they became parents to their one and only source of pride and delight, Rhonda. He did everything he could for his daughter until he passed away because he loved her more than life itself and would do anything for her.
Following his discharge from the Army, he went back to Fort Morgan, where he had previously begun his career with Great Western Sugar. He put in a lot of effort, and as a result, the company gave him multiple promotions, which allowed him to move his family to a number of other locations. They finally made the move back to Fort Morgan in 1974, and it was there that they established their roots until his retirement from Great Western Sugar in 2003, after he had worked there for 41 years.