Edward Leon Potter died on July 18, 2020, in his home in St. George, Utah, with his loving and devoted wife of 57 years, Cheris K. Waugh Potter, at his side after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Ed was born on January 8, 1942, and adopted at 18 months by his parents, Leon and Amelia Feretto Potter, of Spearfish, South Dakota. An adored child, he was soon joined by sister, Francine Potter Shepard. Ed attended Catholic grade school and graduated high school in Lead, South Dakota. His activities included drafting, basketball, and track. Ed graduated from Black Hills State University, then Teachers College, in 1966, with a degree in Industrial Arts and pursued his desire to teach. Ed married Cheris, the love of his life, in 1963.
Ed and Cheris raised three children, Tina, Dawn and Shane, who are now raising families of their own. Each carries on pieces of their dad’s passions, Tina shares his enthusiasm for starting small businesses; Dawn carries on his creativity with her artistic talent and floral business; and Shane with his work ethic and love of the outdoors. With his family, Ed continues on. A man of humor and ingenuity, he will be remembered for his self-made Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous clothing, dressing as a clown for local parades, and bringing a smile to the face of a newly single friend by dressing in drag as his date.
Hunting and camping with the Shelsta, Dremmel and Johnson families were some of Ed’s favorite memories. This close-knit group could often be found together for Friday night dinners, holiday gatherings, and birthday celebrations, rotating among each other’s home and enjoyably entertaining. Many local teachers and their families joined this group through the years.
He also taught elementary school for four years in Scenic, South Dakota, moving back each summer to Spearfish to finish his teaching credentials. Ed briefly served as a police officer in Spearfish in the early sixties then moved the family to a farm in Lynch, Nebraska. In addition to managing the farm, he taught industrial arts at the high school and coached basketball and track. Ed continued to pursue his love of drawing, building and woodworking throughout his life.
Moving his family to Kemmerer in 1973, he worked at local coal mines, construction companies and even started a few of his own businesses. Ed oversaw the construction of the Kemmerer High School swimming pool, the renovation of the South Lincoln Medical Center and the construction of many homes in town. He built his family home in Kemmerer, literally one handed, casted from left shoulder to fingertip for most of the build. The Potters and Shelsta’s also constructed and opened the Kemmerer Skate Center in 1982.
Ed continued to have lots of big dreams and career moves. The Potter family followed those dreams to Belton, Missouri; Sheridan; back to Kemmerer, finally retiring in St. George, Utah, where Cheris was reunited with her sister.
Ed was happiest on a bicycle, especially his beloved recumbent. His many adventures included a journey along the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, to Oregon City, Oregon, cursing the rumble strips the entire way. On all these long bike trips across the country, Cheris could be found waiting for the phone call or trailing behind in the car in case of breakdowns, weather, or fatigue. An avid competitor in the Wyoming Senior Olympics for over 10 years, Ed medaled too many times to count. Ed and Cheris could often be found hosting cyclists, whether competitors for the Senior Olympics or just a pit stop riding through St. George.
Settled in St. George for the past seven years, Ed and Cheris, with their assortment of cats, found both respite and adventure. Together with Cheris’s sister, Jeannie, nephew, Adam, and dear friends Bob and Dorothy Wright, and Yolanda and Vic, they re-discovered southern Utah, Arizona, and Nevada through hikes, day trips, gambling, and many clandestine adventures down unmarked trails and private roads with Ed in the back seat shaking his head the whole way. Yearly trips to the Oregon coast were made with Cheris, Jeannie, and Donna Dremmel in tow.
Ed is survived by Cheris; children, Tina Nations (Jim), Dawn Anderson (Don), Shane Potter (Shannon); sister, Francine Potter Shephard, and sister-in-law Jeannie Waugh Rogers. He has nine grandchildren and many loved nieces and nephews. Ed is preceded in death by his parents, infant son Troy Edward, and many good friends.
The family would like to take this opportunity to praise Ed’s hospice caregivers, support staff, and counselors in their genuine care, support, guidance and assistance given during his precious last days on earth. We are profoundly humbled.
A celebration of life will take place at 11 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2020 at the South Lincoln Cemetery in Kemmerer. Due to COVID-19, social distancing will be requested, and masks will be appropriate.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in his name can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Wyoming at www.alz.org/wyoming.
Messages for the family can be posted at ballfamilychapel.com.