Edward R. Schunk, 72, of Big Horn, WY died Saturday, August 20, 2011, in Memorial Hospital of Sheridan County. Edward was born November 16, 1938, in Sheridan, WY to Dr. William & Edna (Grandbouche) Schunk.
Edward graduated from Sheridan High School in 1957, served in the U. S. Army and then in the Army reserve. He attended Sheridan College and the University of Wyoming. On December 26, 1963, he and Rosemary Barlow were married at the Barlow Ranch on South Deadhorse Creek in Campbell County, WY.
Survivors include his wife, and three children: daughter Eda and son-in-law Mark Thompson of Big Horn, son Stephen and daughter-in-law Sarah Schunk and five grandchildren, Jacob, Catherine, Ailsa, William, and Lucy, of Irving TX, and son Lewis and daughter-in-law Lizbeth Schunk, and three grandchildren, Bradly, Gideon, and Yashi, of Junction City, KS.
Leaping granite boulders, skiing summer glaciers, disappearing in a cloud of powder snow, repelling from a ski lift chair, vibrant, passionate, and funny, that was Edward Schunk.
An expert powder skier and National Ski Patrolman, Edward trained at ski clinics and coached local Patrolmen and ski racers. Hauling a carload to Antelope Butte followed his childhood of skiing behind his Dad on the tractor up the Red Grade to Little Bear Hill.
At least four climbs from both aspects of Black Tooth Mountain in the Big Horns, began in high school years and concluded with his sons, Lewis and Stephen, up the north face.
Following his father’s goal, Edward took his children on many pack trips and they participated in the Study of the Primitive Area to its completion in the Cloud Peak Wilderness Act of 1983.
Whether driving tractors, riding horseback, pack tripping, or biking in the mountains, regulating water, attacking wildfires, operating heavy equipment, plowing snow, building ditches and reservoirs, all was a carefully planned adventure. Beginning with shovels and ditches and eventually installing a circle pivot and gravity-fed sprinkler systems, he taught his family the love of the land: harvesting crops and caring for livestock in a year-around family operation. He spent hours studying Wyoming Water Law and covered many miles on trusty horse “Sam”, or motorbike and pickup, administrating agricultural water. Edward used his woodworking skills to build a schoolhouse for his children and others for a Biblical private education, and to improve the cabins on the mountains.
As a forty-plus year member of the Big Horn Volunteer Fire Department, and County Fire Warden for fourteen years, he was passionate about training, attending fire schools, learning fire fighting techniques and management skills.
A reception and Celebration of Life will be at 6:00 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 2nd) in the Big Horn Fire Hall. Private interment will be at a later date. Arrangements are with Champion Ferries Funeral Home.
Memorials may benefit the Big Horn Fire District, PO Box 501, Big Horn WY 82833 or the charity of the donor’s choice.