Bill Sniffin: RIP Dave Kellogg, Tall In The Saddle For Good Works In Wyoming

Columnist Bill Sniffin writes: “Dave Kellogg was sitting in his favorite chair looking out the window at those wonderful mountains. When Carol found him, he had a scotch poured but untouched on the table beside him. The only thing missing was 'a damned good cigar.'"

Bill Sniffin

April 13, 20245 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A Wyoming cowboy never stands so tall as when he bends over to help a young person. 

Dave Kellogg typified this attitude through his good works helping to bring about a second Cowboy State four-year college with Wyoming Catholic College in Lander. 

Kellogg, 80, died at home Tuesday, April 9.

He moved to Lander in early 1970. We moved there six months later. We have been good friends ever since.

On a personal level, we smoked a lot of cigars (with Mike Wilmer, Stan Grove, Paul Powers, Bob Carlson, John Freeh, and others) and drank a lot of scotch together over the years. He very much liked Macallan single malt scotch. As for smokes, he would take a puff of his stogie and exclaim: “That’s a damned good cigar.”

The Fox News All-Stars

Lander has a 60-year-old coffee group that now goes by the name "the Fox News All-Stars," which describes its political leanings. Dave has always been a member. If the nine guys around the table were a baseball team, he would probably be our second baseman.

He would order his biscuits and gravy with various additions and pour tabasco over them. He loved that tabasco.

Dave never dominated the discussion but every time he offered his opinion, it was always well thought out, and was greeted with great respect. Despite his small stature, he was a giant.

Not sure he would call himself a cowboy, but he always dressed like he was from Wyoming, wearing long-sleeved shirts year-around, jeans, and boots. He loved caps. He was once on the board of the Cowboy State Daily and proudly wore that cap. He had a vintage Volkswagen convertible that he drove during the summer months.

Dave was always a builder and spent a lifetime helping his community. The biggest event of this type was his work in helping Lander to acquire and build a new college back in 2005.

He and I were co-presidents of Leader Corporation, a local economic development group during that effort. We were involved in the Cornerstone Committee raising money and doing the necessary things to get picked as the final site.

When founder Bishop David Ricken announced plans for a new four-year Catholic college in the state, it took a lot of work and a lot of clever maneuvering to get the school located in Lander. The other two founders were Fr. Bob Cook and Dr. Bob Carlson. Dave became deeply involved in this and was critical to it occurring here.

The committee raised $300,000 and pledged it for the new college. Then local rancher Francie Mortenson donated her family’s ranch, which pretty much sealed the deal.

Dave Studied Other Colleges

Dave then really got busy. He traveled the country looking at how other small Catholic colleges functioned and how they worked with their communities. He always feared there could be a “gown versus town” animosity and he worked tirelessly to avoid that in Lander. So far, the college and town have fit together well.

He was appointed to the original college board. As board chairman, he shepherded the tiny college through some extremely difficult times. One of the founders, Prof. Carlson, always said that Kellogg was the “fourth” founder of the school.

One of the pivotal moves made early by the school was hiring its second president, Kevin Roberts in 2013. Roberts now heads the 500,000-member Heritage Foundation based in Washington, D. C. Roberts called Kellogg “one of the greatest men I have ever known.”

Last month, the Lander Chamber of Commerce honored Kellogg with its Lifetime Contribution Award. It was well deserved. So glad this recognition occurred during his life.

At a recent college banquet, both Dave and his wife Carol, were recognized for their long service to the college. Over the past 18 years they have donated over $1 million to the school. Their 8-plex apartment complex was one of the original dorms for the school and is still being used today to house students. At no cost to the college.

He was also active in the One Shot Antelope Hunt. During the famous Lander July 4, he always served amazing Bloody Mary drinks out of the back of his pickup to the adults in the huge crowd.

Dave’s two daughters Julia and Abbey are very successful and he was proud as punch of his grandchildren.

Both Dave and Carol were long-time IBM employees. For business reasons, Dave had to move away from Lander in the early 1980s when the Wyoming economy tanked. During those stints in Colorado and Washington, he always wanted to come back to Lander. “The mountains were always calling to me,” he told me one day while sipping a scotch (“Neat, please”) and smoking a cigar.

The Mountains Were Calling

Last Tuesday, he woke up complaining about back pains but still made it to the coffee group that morning. At 11 a.m. he sent me a text inquiring about my wife Nancy’s health. Dave was always caring about others. I told him she was doing fine.

Later that afternoon, he was sitting in his favorite chair looking out the window at those wonderful mountains. When Carol found him, he had a scotch poured but untouched on the table beside him. The only thing missing was “a damned good cigar.”

Bill Sniffin can be reached at:

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.