CASPER, Wyo. – On February 15, 1941, a ray of sunshine named Norma Jean (Brammeier) Heil was brought into the world. May 25, 2019, was the day the sun stopped shining.
Jean was born to Donald and Margaret Brammeier in Scottsbluff, Neb. Jean spent her younger years helping her parents and brother, Bob, on the family farm. She had one 4H steer that she raised and showed in the county fair, but it was her last when she cried when she had to sell him.
Jean graduated from Lyman High School in Lyman, Neb. in 1959. While in high school, Jean met her future husband, Don Heil, at a dance. While they were dating, Don learned that she was a fearless driver when they were racing his car and her father’s car. Don knew he had met his match when she hit a rise in the road and went airborne. Grandpa never found out, which is a big reason my brother and I (Lynette) exist. Well, that and the blonde ponytail.
On December 20, 1959, Don and Jean were married. They lived for a time in Torrington, but soon moved to Casper, Wyo., where they have lived since. April 21, 1961, was the day Jean and Don welcomed their son, Chet. A year later, exactly, they welcomed, Lynette. Don nearly died when Jean came home from the hospital to find the birthday cake mess Chet and Don had made for Chet’s first birthday.
Jean worked for several different banks in her younger career years, making lifelong friends at every bank. In 1985, Jean turned her hobby of ceramics into Crackpot Ceramics, which she operated until 1997. She was an incredible artist and businesswoman. One of her favorite subjects were Santa Clauses. At Christmas, she would decorate her home with Santas; much to the delight of her three grandchildren. Jean made many more friends at her shop.
Jean was the best grandma to her grandchildren, Darby and Quinn Clark and Taylor Meyer. She attended all of their school and sporting events. Jean was especially excited when Taylor told her that she would soon be a great grandma. While she never had the opportunity to meet the new little one, she loved her anyway.
From her early days of auto racing to her retirement years, Jean always loved cars. Not necessarily the fancy new ones, but the ones she watched Don restore. Jean was an active member of the Oil Capitol Auto Club and enjoyed showing their two vintage cars. Jean made even more friends at car shows.
Jean also enjoyed traveling, either with Don, or their family. One of her lifelong dreams was to go to Hawaii and see the Pearl Harbor memorial. In 2010, she was able to go with her entire family. She even enjoyed the odd excursions Lynette would con her into taking.
Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. She fought the disease with all her might, but in the end, it won.
Jean is survived by her husband, Don; children Chet and Lynette; son-in-law Ron; grandchildren Darby, Quinn and Taylor; brother Bob; and sister-in-law Dorothy.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Jean was an amazing daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was the one person who made sure all birthdays and Christmases were special for everyone. Jean made her family better people, and we are grateful for her.
Services for Jean will be Saturday, June 1 at Bustards Funeral Home at 10 a.m. A reception will follow at the Casper Senior Center at 11 a.m., with lunch being served.
“Grammy, we love you more.”