Photography

Louis "Llama Louie" Centrella

June 2, 1945 ~ July 8, 2020 (age 75)

Obituary

Louis “Llama Louie” Centrella died peacefully July 8 in his home, surrounded 

by family. His family provided the following. 

Lou was a force of nature whose laughter and wit will inspire his loved ones 

forever, and many of our lives now feel an aching emptiness that his massive 

presence once filled. 

His story began in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, as a member of the class of 

1963. The third of Louis Sr. and Evelyn Centrella’s six children, he came from 

a big, boisterous, Italian family that adored him. Affectionate and generous 

with his family, Louie was sure to mix every act of love with a daredevil antic 

or two. He was a writer, a comedian and, most proudly, a district champion 

wrestler. Years after he passed through Upper Darby, people would talk about 

the speed and strength of the “Flying C.” Everyone knew him, and everyone 

had a story about him. 

In 1967, Lou graduated from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania with a 

degree in English. He went on to teach junior high school English at Upper 

Darby and coach the school’s wrestling team, a pursuit he later considered his 

life’s calling. Even years after he retired from teaching, Lou would stop school- 

age kids on the sidewalk and ask them to deliver facts about national 

landmarks. Later in his life he volunteered as a mentor to middle school 

students and helped coach the Jackson Hole High School wrestling team, 

sharing his love for the sport with the next generation. 

Lou stopped in Jackson in 1974 and, like many early Jackson Holers, never 

left. From then on his charm and energy radiated throughout town until 

almost everyone knew his name. He ran the gamut of career options, including 

carpentry, sales, copy editing the Jackson Hole News&Guide and real estate 

brokering. 

In the 1980s he became “Llama Louie,” bringing llamas to Jackson Hole as 

pack animals and beginning an outfitting business in the Tetons. He enabled 

countless visitors to enjoy Wyoming’s wilderness and sleep under the stars, 

including journalists from The Washington Post and ABC who were covering 

conservation of natural lands. In the winter he became a concierge, booking 

snowmobile trips from a little office under the steps of the Mangy Moose. 

Lou was also a rock star. As the lead singer of the local band Hicksville he 

brought the house down with impersonations of Billy Joel and Elvis Presley. 

Louie relished hunting. He once harvested a full-curl ram and a record- 

breaking moose, “Colonel Randall,” which can be viewed at the visitor center 

north of town. 

But he secured his biggest score when he married Susan in 1995. As he wrote 

on his wedding invitations, “the young, beautiful, and vibrant Susan Hannah 

Hess actually agreed to marry the old and wrinkled, but still lovable Louis 

Rocco Centrella,” and so began a journey full of laughter, love and unexpected 

twists and turns of various magnitudes. 

In 1999 they welcomed beautiful twin daughters Mila and Lane. They lived on 

their dream property in Alta, which Louie named “Al Di La,” after the Italian 

love song. Look up “Wyoming man kills mountain lion eating his llama” for a 

snapshot of the adventures Louie got into over there. He loved Al Di La and 

was able to visit that beautiful place once more shortly before he passed. 

Many of his family remember laughing hard with Louie, a twisted humorist, 

cinematic storyteller and vibrant merrymaker. He served as a role model and 

teacher to his nieces and nephews, coaching them in chess, Scrabble, guitar 

and sports. As a father he glowed with pride, teaching his daughters to walk 

tall, laugh loudly and not mince words. Lou’s intelligence, enthusiasm and 

constant curiosity for the world around him was a light that never dimmed. 

Even in his old and persnickety age, Lou brought adventure and passion to 

many. 

He is survived by his wife Susan, daughters Mila and Lane, brother Nick 

(Cathy), sisters Susan and Norma, sister-in-law Nina and about 6,000 nieces, 

nephews, in-laws, cousins and other friends and relatives. He was preceded in 

death by his brothers, Michael and Dominic, with whom he is currently 

laughing over a game of heavenly Scrabble. 

If you see a shadow moving along the Death Canyon shelf and coming down 

the Devil’s Stairs, that will be Lou. Rest in peace, Louie. 

We were given 14 extra years with Louie thanks to a liver transplant he 

received when he was 61. To honor his memory, please consider registering as 

an organ donor and/or go out and plant a tree, kill a thistle or hike a trail or 

two. 

Due to COVID, Lou’s memorial service will be postponed until travel is safer 

and spirits are higher. Stay tuned. 

 

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