John and Barb Lager of Colorado let me know the sad news about their tanner, Bernie Bickels of Buffalo, Wyoming. He was the Lager's tanner as well Barry Smith's and many others in Colorado and Wyoming. He drowned last week trying save his two dogs from thin river ice. Here is the obituary from the Casper Star and Tribune. Casper, Wyoming Casper resident Bernie Bickels passed away on January 24, 2015 after trying to rescue his two black labs (Kenai and Gunner), from the frozen North Platte river at Edness Kimball Wilkens State Park. Kenai’s body was also recovered from the frozen river and the search for Gunner will continue. Bernie Bickels was born in Omaha, Nebraska to Harry and Julia Joan Bickels. After graduating high school in Omaha, Bernie voluntarily enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Serving in Vietnam, Bernie was combat wounded while trying to save a fellow Marine and thus received a Purple Heart. Bernie served in the Marine Corps from 1968-1970. His humble heroism has always been admired by many. To this day, Bernie remains in contact with many fellow Marines that he served side-by-side with. A true Marine Hero through and through. Throughout his lifetime, Bernie enjoyed a love for the great outdoors and the many animals he owned over his lifetime. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, and brother. In 1978, Bernie started his own business from the ground up tanning hides for taxidermists which he operated until 2 months ago when he sold the business to retire. The business was last located in Buffalo, Wyoming where he resided for many years and enjoyed the Big Horn Mountains and the local community. Bernie is survived by his wife of 42 years Nancy, three daughters (Rachael, Lisa, and Laura), grandchildren (Desireee, Alexia, and Brayden), two brothers (Bill and Ben), sister Liz, and many other loving relatives. A memorial fund has been set up at WyHy Federal Credit Union in Casper, Wyoming. Donations can be made at this location to a new account set up to Honor Bernie, Marines, and the local Natrona County Sheriff’s Department. A special new account has been set up under Lisa and Laura Bickels to Honor Bernie and those listed above. A visitation will be held 2:00 PM until 7:00 PM, Saturday, January 31, 2015, at Newcomer Funeral Home Chapel. A funeral mass will be held at 11:00 AM, Monday, February 2, 2015 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Casper. Interment will follow with military honors at Oregon Trail State Veteran’s Cemetery.