A celebration for well-known community member Leslie Blythe will be held this summer. Ms. Blythe died on Friday, after developing pneumonia and other complications from influenza. According to her obituary published by Newcomer Funeral Home, "a party celebrating Leslie’s life will be scheduled in the summer."

Ms. Blythe held a Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and worked in communication, journalism, and community relations through her career. She served as Pacific Power's Community Business Manager for Northwest Wyoming at the time of her death, according to the obituary, and served with a long list of community organizations and boards.

Ms. Blythe also had a great love for her Golden Retrievers, was a national board member of the Golden Retriever Club of America, and participated in countless shows.

Since her death was announced by her husband, the community has been flooded with tributes and memories of her life and legacy. Ms. Blythe stopped by the K2 Radio Studios just last December to talk about the Energy Share Program, which she helped to launch thirty years ago. She told us the program, which helps fund energy costs for folks who may not be helped by other agencies, was very near and dear to her heart. "Seems hard to imagine we've been operating for that many years, but we've been able to help a lot of families over that course of time in Wyoming," she said.

It was through Energy Share that Bob Price, General Manager of Townsquare Media in Wyoming, met Leslie Blythe. "Her uncanny ability to bring folks together for a good cause was remarkable.  In addition she was a trusted associate and represented her firm with impeccable manner –  and when needed for comment she was always available to our news room - 24 hours a day," said Price. "Her demeanor was flavored by her deep sense of caring for her beautiful pets - she knew that a dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.  We  shall miss her terribly.”

A personal note from this writer, Susan Burk: "She was a pioneer for women professionally and personally." This line from Leslie's obituary speaks volumes to me about Leslie.  I met her soon after arriving in Casper in the early 1990's. There were a lot of things I didn't know (most things, actually) about the state of Wyoming and navigating the issues and the journalism scene here. Leslie took me under her wing and was a treasured mentor and friend to me through these many years. When my father recently passed away, Leslie sent me a beautiful card and note which brought me much comfort. Anything I can say seems insufficient to describe what a shining light she was to all who had the privilege to know her. I will keep close all that she taught me about how to move through this world, not only professionally, but as a gracious, trusted, priceless friend.

Leslie Blythe's entire obituary, as published by Newcomer Funeral Home, can be found below.

"Leslie Blythe was born April 23, 1959 in Fort Ord, CA to Richard (Dick) and Kaye Kyner Blythe. The family moved to Billings, MT in 1962 where Leslie grew up with two brothers and graduated from high school. She graduated from the University of Wyoming and then went onto earn her Masters Degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Leslie worked in the fields of communication, journalism and community relations for her entire professional life. She began working for Pacific Power, now Rocky Mountain Power, in 1987 until present. Starting as a raw recruit, Leslie evolved in the company to become Community Business Manager for Northwest Wyoming.

In addition to her outstanding professional career, Leslie was an energetic and active community member. She was a pioneer for women professionally and personally. She was the first female editor of the Branding Iron at the University of Wyoming while in college. She was the first female Board Member of the Casper Petroleum Club and held that position for nearly a decade. She was one of the charter members of the Five Trails Rotary Club. She also worked tirelessly for Wyoming Press Association; Wyoming Broadcasters’ Association; United Way; 4H; Vision 2000; board member and President of the Casper Chamber of Commerce; a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority; a past Board member of First Interstate Bank; a current member of the AAA Regional Advisory Board among many others. Her contributions did not go unnoticed. She was awarded the Woman of Distinction early in the millennium.

She married the love of her life, Mark Wilkinson, on November 27, 1993. A blind date led to 24 years of friendship, passion, partnership and a beautiful life built together. The marriage came with two beautiful stepdaughters, Emmy and Jenna, who were the icing on the cake of her marriage.

Leslie’s personal passion was her Golden Retrievers, beginning with the most handsome Casey in 1994. The family grew as Leslie’s interest in showing dogs blossomed. She and Mark helped begin the Agility Club of Central Wyoming and are members of the Mile High Golden Retriever Club and all the itinerant organizations associated with ethical breeding. She was a national board member of the Golden Retriever Club of America. The ethics of breeding, showing and caring for Goldens and all dogs became a special focus. The number of friends she made in the community of showing equaled the number of miles she traveled to shows. She treasured the circuit friends and their dogs and, true to her meticulous and loving nature, noted their successes on social media and kept in touch with everyone.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Kevin, her beloved mother in 2000, and her cherished Godson, Aidan McCroskey in 2017. She is survived by her loving husband, Mark Wilkinson, father, Richard (Betty), brother Scott (Krista), nephew Andrew, stepdaughters Jenna (Jason) and Emmy (Derek) and adored grandchildren, Rowan, Henry and Helen. Eight Golden Retrievers will mourn her loss: Dudley, Brinkley; her heart-dog, Fate; Norma Jean; Jackie O.; Ellie; her newest favorite puppy, Sandra Dee; and newest puppy, Roxie.

A party celebrating Leslie’s life will be scheduled in the summer. Please donate to the Golden Retriever Foundation or any local pet rescue non-profit in lieu of flowers.

Paraphrased from the Rainbow Bridge:

She has been spotted, and when she and her special friends finally meet, they will cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon her face; her hands again caress the beloved heads, and she looks once more into the trusting eyes of her pets, so long gone from her life but never absent from her heart. Then they cross the Rainbow Bridge together."