Claretta Mae Mortensen Messerli Whaley

May 6, 1923 – Dec. 27, 2020

Longtime Shell resident Claretta Whaley, 97, died Dec. 27, 2020 at Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home, Basin, Wyo.  She was born May 6, 1923, in Neola, Iowa, daughter of Clarence and Alice Amanda Whitmore Mortensen.

Claretta married Howard Messerli in Neola, Iowa. After his death she and their children, Judy and Terry, came to Wyoming to be near her sister and brother-in-law, Ruth and Oscar Deveraux, in Greybull.

Claretta married Chester Whaley on Sept. 4, 1946. Three children were born to this union: Chester Arthur, Jr., Thomas Jay and Alice Marie.

They built a home on their ranch west of Shell and worked together in the Whaley family sheep business and later raised their own cattle. In earlier years Claretta was active in the Shell Woman’s Club. She enjoyed going to the mountain, raising a beautiful garden, having an afternoon tea party with grandchildren and Grandpa, playing pinochle and special times spent with family and friends. 

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Chester; sons, Chester Arthur, Jr. and Thomas Jay; two brothers, Clarence (Buzz) Mortensen, George Soppe, Jr., and sister, Ruth Deveraux.

Claretta is survived by three children, Judy Whaley of Shell, Terry Messerli of Shell and Alice Whaley of Greybull; 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and two sisters, Alice Mary Schnitker of Laramie and Geraldine Gardner of Neola, Iowa.

A memorial service will be held in the spring. Cremation has taken place at the Antelope Butte Crematory in Greybull. Arrangements have been entrusted to Atwood Family Funeral Directors.