The journey had been long, and cold at times. The landscape was severe, unforgiving and glorious.
As the sun lowered, the warm air rose off the plains. The eagle welcomed the rest and stretched its
wings wide to grab the thermal as it rode the rising gust toward the heavens.
It was a similarly cold day on January 18th, 1941 in Lander Wyoming when James Randal Gustin
was born to James E. Gustin and Mary Lee Wallace Gustin, only reaching 22 degrees at 3:00 in the
afternoon. What others considered to be the "challenges" of living in Wyoming, Jim learned to love.
His days were filled with hunting, fishing, camping and working in the spectacular and lonesome
Wind River Mountain Range. After his graduation from Lander Valley High School in 1959, the only
thing powerful enough to pull him away from the mountains was his commitment to America and the
adventure offered by the United States Air Force. His military service took him to F. E. Warren AFB
in Cheyenne where he met the love of his life and married his soul mate, Carol Marie Berdahl in
1963. The Air Force sent the young couple to far-reaching stations like Okinawa, Korea, Colorado,
California, Alaska and Utah. The couple was blessed by their first daughter, Rebecca, while
stationed in Denver, Colorado and three years later, their second blessing arrived with Rene'.
The family was close as their travels taught them to rely on each other. In 1980, following Jim's
20-year retirement as a Master Sergeant from the Air Force, their final destination was Newcastle,
Wyoming. Wyoming Refining Company recognized the value of this hard working veteran and hired
him immediately, where Jim stayed employed for the next 23 years as their Purchasing Agent. Time
rolled on and he continued to devote his time to the outdoors, his family, his faith and his country.
Jim gifted the world with a legacy that will continue to enrich others as a result of his influence. The
honor of his life continues with his wife Carol, his daughter Becky, her husband Tom Ferris and their
son Nick. Jim and Carol’s youngest daughter Rene’ is married to Mike Whitley and they have two
daughters Kristen and Nicole. Also honored by their relationships with Jim are Steve and Kim
Berdahl, Nancy and Jerry Jernigan, Mark and Bev Berdahl and John Berdahl. The family feels
privileged to have been a part of Jim’s life and to have learned so much from him over the years.
Receiving Jim into the loving arms of the Holy Spirit will be his parents, his sister Catherine and his
beautiful granddaughter Beth Ferris.
On March 29th, 2023 and in the grasp of another cold Wyoming winter, surrounded by family and
friends, and after a glorious journey, Jim welcomed a rest, he embraced the warmth and rode the
The celebration of Jim’s life will be held Saturday, April 8th at 11:00am at Christ The King Lutheran
Church in Newcastle, Wyoming. Jim will be interred with full military honors at the Black Hills
National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be
made to Christ The King Lutheran Church, Wounded Warrior Project or Tunnel To Towers
With loving memories, respect, admiration, gratitude and peace, we wish Jim the best in his journey.
“Let's go, we’re burnin’ daylight!”