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Wyoming Obituary

Clarene Law, Longtime  Wyoming Legislator And Businesswoman, Died

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By Leo Wolfson, State Political Reporter
Leo@Cowboystatedaily.com

One could almost always expect to see Clarene Law’s friendly face inside the office behind the front desk of the Antler Inn motel in Jackson. If she wasn’t in her office, she could often be found cruising around Jackson in her emerald green 1976 Cadillac.

Law, 89, died Wednesday at St. John’s Health in Jackson.

Self-Made Millionaire

She was much more than an owner of the Antler. A self-made millionaire, Law oversaw about 400 rooms, also owning the other Town Square Inns of Jackson and co-owning a hotel in Lander with state Sen. Cale Case and served in the Wyoming Legislature for 13 years.

Case, R-Lander, said Law’s kind demeanor and ability to make friends on both sides of the aisle is what he’ll remember most of her time in the Legislature.

“Everyone loved her,” Case said. “There was nobody that would call her an enemy. She bridged the gap in a huge way.”

“Kindness Toward Everyone”

Longtime lobbyist Jonathan Downing said he first met Law when he was a page in the Wyoming House in the early 1990s and was struck by her kindness toward everyone, especially those who disagreed with her.

“She set a standard for decorum and polite civil manners when dealing with tough issues,” Downing said.

Law bought the Antler in 1962, a time when women less frequently owned businesses. During a 2019 podcast interview with Wyoming Humanities, she spoke of how important it was for her to be a positive influence for other women as a business owner.

“Everybody wants to be at the top of the mountain, but you don’t get there all at once,” she said. “You have to know that someone cast you a rope along the way.

“I want to be somebody that can be that rope. I think that’s what women can do to help others – show it’s possible in a difficult environment. Provide a positive environment for young women.”

She also was a member of the Legislature from 1991-2004 and on Jackson’s first zoning commission, her local school board and a number of state tourism boards.

Protocol And Respect

During her 2019 interview, Law said protocol and respect are the two biggest changes in the Legislature since her time there.

“Respecting the process, civility and respect for each other,” Law said. “I think there’s a lessening of that respect for both parties.”

A center-right Republican, Law chaired the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee and created the Cultural Trust Fund with the late Cody Sen. Hank Coe. 

“It’s done so much good,” she said. “I’m so proud of the Cultural Trust.”

Law told Wyoming Humanities she was an advocate for immigration reform and loved the visa workers she employed like family.

She won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wyoming Business Report and the Wyoming Women of Influence, the Wyoming Business Person of the Year and the Jackson Hole Citizen of the Year. She’s also an inductee in the Wyoming Business Hall of Fame. 

“She was especially sensitive about the way Wyoming worked and Teton County worked. She did that so well,” Case said.

“Made The Sun Shine”

Senate Majority Floor Leader Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, said he had known Law since he was in high school.

“I was attending my first state Republican convention back in 1974 and we had been close ever since,” Driskill told Cowboy State Daily.

“Clarene made the sun shine on Wyoming,” he said, noting that he never heard her say a bad word about anyone.

He said that in 1990 when Wyoming was celebrating its centennial, the state didn’t buy enough complimentary gold coins for attendees at the celebration.

Because state officials were not going to make up for the lack of coins, Law bought them herself so no one would go away empty-handed.

Gold was selling for $800 an ounce, so it was not an inexpensive purchase.

He said his wife Zannie still wears one of those coins around her neck.

“It’s a prized possession,” Driskill said.

“Who We Should Aspire To Be”

U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis described Law as a successful businesswoman, gifted legislator, and devoted community servant.

“She conducted herself with grace and class as she navigated her business and political life, always offering a hand up to those who needed it,” Lummis told Cowboy State Daily.

“Above all else, she was a woman of great faith. Clarene was the type of leader and human being we should all aspire to be. She was a dear friend and a woman I admired greatly.” Lummis said.

Case remembered how Law, a deeply devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave him her free alcoholic drink tickets at a particular event.

Law sat across the aisle from Case during the start of his first stint at the Legislature in 1993. Less than two years later they became business partners, opening The Inn at Lander together.

They remained partners through good times and bad, keeping the business afloat through recessions and personal struggles. Law sold her stake in the business in 2021, but was still working at the Antler as recently as 10 days ago when Case’s son and mother saw stopped in and saw her.

“Passed Peacefully”

According to the Jackson Hole News and Guide, her son, Steve Meadows, said his mother “meant a lot to the community over the decades because she gave so much.”

“She passed peacefully with her loved ones all around her,” Meadows said. “We were honored to have had her as our mother, grandmother, friend.”

Debbie Pummel, a longtime leader in Wyoming’s tourism industry and state regional director of sales for Safari Timberline Hospitality, said she had planned to visit Law on her upcoming trip to Jackson. She has known her since 1995.

“I admired her for several different reasons, but mainly for the instrumental part she played in Wyoming’s hospitality industry,” Pummel said. 

Pummel worked with Law while she was a chair of the Travel, Recreation and Wildlife Committee and always saw each year at the governor’s annual conference on tourism. 

As a legislator, Pummel said Law was always upbeat but firm in what she stood for.

“She’s an amazing lady,” she said.

Autopsy Report: Luke Bell Died Of Accidental Fentanyl Poisoning

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Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach
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UPDATE: Tucson Police May Charge Luke Bell’s Fentanyl Supplier With Manslaughter

By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily
Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com

Wyoming-raised country singer and songwriter Luke Bell died of an accidental fentanyl poisoning, according to a Tucson, Arizona, forensic pathologist.  

Bell, 32, died last month after going missing in the Tucson area. He went missing Aug. 20 and his body was found six days later. 

Bell was found in Tucson by passersby, unresponsive in a shaded parking structure, according to an autopsy report from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office. 

Drug paraphernalia was found at the scene.

There were attempts to resuscitate him, the report says, citing markings on Bell’s body from defibrillators, endotracheal tubes and chest compressions.  

Other than those markings, Bell showed no signs of internal or external injury.  

Bell’s toxicology measured a blood-alcohol concentration of .076, according to the autopsy report. His blood contained 21 nanograms of fentanyl per milliliter. 

Investigation Open 

Sgt. Richard Gradillas, of the Tucson Police Department, told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that the investigation into Bell’s death – and the six days before it – is still open.  

Gradillas said police are trying to discover where he was during his six days missing. He said he was uncertain how long Bell was deceased before he was found, but said officers deployed the life-saving measures observed in bodily markings by the medical examiner.  

Bell was found by himself. 

Gradillas said he wasn’t sure how much fentanyl Bell would have had to consume to achieve his toxicity level, but it doesn’t take much to seriously harm or kill someone.  

“With fentanyl, something as small as a pen tip can kill you,” he said. “It is a deadly drug.” 

Wyoming Voice 

Bell’s sudden death came as a surprise to country music fans across the nation, but especially in Wyoming, where he’s known by many.  

After the news of his death broke, Bell was remembered as a charismatic young man who “lit up a room” whenever he entered. 

Bell began playing bars in college, according to fellow Cody musician Kalyn Beasley, who grew up just down the street from Bell.  

“Probably like a lot of us musicians, Luke wasn’t super interested in going to class,” Beasley previously told Cowboy State Daily. “So, he kind of took up gigging and playing in bars.”  

Beasley said Bell also took up train-hopping while in Laramie, riding the rails to the next town, the next gig, the next adventure.  

“There’s people that do that, you know,” Beasley said. “They ride trains and they write songs about it and sing old folk songs and live in an off-the-grid sort of way. And Luke was doing that.”   

Bell spent the early part of his music career in Austin, Texas, before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, in the early 2010s.  

“I didn’t know that he was musically gifted until he came back from living in Austin,” said high school friend Mike Vanata. “And he just came back with a plethora of songs that spoke to his storytelling. And I was just blown away.”  

Bell released his first Nashville album “Don’t Mind If I Do” in 2014. In 2016, he was signed to the Thirty Tigers label, releasing his second self-titled album “Luke Bell.” He retreated from the music scene for a few years before his latest release, “Jealous Guy,” came out in 2021. 

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of September 10 – 15, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Sept. 10 – 15, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Sept. 10:

Sept. 11:

Sept. 12:

Sept. 13:

Sept. 14:

Sept. 15:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of September 5 – 10, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Sept. 5 – 10, 2022.

To alert of an obituary, please email: Jen@CowboyStateDaily.com

Our condolences to family and friends:

Sept. 5:

Sept. 6:

Sept. 7:

Sept. 8:

Sept. 9:

Sept. 10:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: August 27 – September 4, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of August 27 – Sept. 4, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Aug. 27:

Aug. 28:

Aug. 29:

Aug. 30:

Aug. 31:

Sept. 1:

Sept. 2:

Sept. 3:

Sept. 4:

Obituaries Pending:

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Family Of Wyoming’s Luke Bell Mourns Loss

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

The family of fallen country star and former Cody resident Luke Bell released a statement on Thursday thanking friends and fans for their support and asking for privacy as they “grieve and honor his memory.”

They spoke out about Bell’s mental health issues he battled and ultimately was responsible, they said, for his death on August 26.

“We have lost our beloved son, brother and friend and we are heartbroken. Luke had a gentle heart, a wanderer’s spirit and a musical gift that he was fortunate to share with us and the world,” the statement reads.

“Unfortunately Luke suffered from the disease of mental illness, which progressed after his father’s death in 2015,” it continued. “Luke was supported through his disease by a community of loving family and friends.”

“Despite this, he was unable to receive the help he needed to ease his pain. Our hearts go out to the millions of people affected by mental illness who, like us, understand the devastating disappointment of a system that consistently fails to provide caring solutions to those who suffer.”

“As we navigate our heartbreak we respectfully ask for privacy to allow us room to grieve and honor his memory. Our only comfort comes in the fact that our Luke is finally free and at peace.”

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of August 20 – 26, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of August 20 – 26. Our condolences to family and friends:

Aug. 20:

Aug. 21:

Aug. 22:

Aug. 23:

Aug. 24:

Aug. 25:

Aug. 26:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of August 12 – 20, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of August 12 – 20, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Aug. 12:

Aug. 13:

Aug. 14:

Aug. 15:

Aug. 16:

Aug. 17:

Aug. 18:

Aug. 19:

Aug. 20:

Obituaries Pending:

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Jim Angell, Former Managing Editor For Cowboy State Daily, Dies At 64

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Lifelong journalist Jim Angell (James Lew Angell) died Wednesday, August 17, at Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  He was 64.

Born in Spokane, Wash., on May 29, 1958, he was raised by his parents Carol and Darrel Dean Angell, who were wheat farmers in Walla Walla, Wash. He was an only child.

Angell graduated from Walla Walla High School in 1976 and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Washington State University in 1981.  

He worked as a reporter at the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash. for several years, where he made friendships that would last the rest of his life.

He moved to Cheyenne in 1985 to take a job with the Associated Press, where he worked until 1998.

He began dating Mary Shannon, then a reporter for the Wyoming Eagle, during the 1989 Wyoming legislative session, and the two were married on May 5, 1990.  Their daughter Amanda was born in 1997. 

Angell was a devoted and loving father to his only child, Amanda. He taught her to play video games, look for unbiased facts in the news and never be ashamed to be herself.  Angell was pleased to welcome into the family Tanner Carroll, Amanda’s husband-to-be, and he frequently enjoyed losing to him in video games.

Angell became the executive director of the Wyoming Press Association in 1998.  A stalwart champion of government transparency, he lobbied the legislature to ensure open government and educated reporters and elected officials on Wyoming’s open meetings and public records law. In 2019, he received from the WPA the Milton Chilcott Award for his “extraordinary efforts to defend access to public information.”

Known for his integrity, Angell was dedicated to the Wyoming news industry and very fond of the people across the state who are part of it. His unfailing sense of humor, carefree approach toward life and love of fun made him many friends.

As WPA director, Angell planned conventions for the state’s newspaper people.  He not only scheduled workshops and social functions but also wrapped up each convention by leading a jam session with his fellow journalists, encouraging everyone to sing along until late into the night.

As a guitarist and singer/songwriter, Angell played in five bands in Cheyenne: Jammin’ Easy, Musical Chairs, Bridge Too Far, No Particular Reason and Another Round. He and his wife were co-founders of the Cheyenne Celtic Festival, which began in 2005.  They also led children’s worship at Calvary Chapel in Cheyenne from 2014 until Angell became ill.

In 2017, the Angells formed the Wyoming News Exchange, a cooperative service for the state’s newspapers that continues today. 

Following his retirement from the WPA in 2018, Angell helped to found the Cowboy State Daily, now Wyoming’s largest news organization, in 2019 and worked as its managing editor until his illness.  

He also learned to do voiceover work and narrated four audio books for Boulder Colo. romance novelist L.A. Sartor.

Angell and his wife visited Ireland twice, and he fell in love with the country’s culture — particularly its music — and its warm, welcoming people.

During the last few years of his life, Angell grew out his beard and donned a red suit for his “seasonal work” during the Christmas season.  He was well-suited for the job. Children who visited Santa were often treated to a chorus of “Jingle Bells”, and parents as well as children were entertained by his witty banter.

He was preceded in death by his parents and by Jeff “Kong” Shields of Walla Walla, Wash., a close family friend whom Angell considered a brother. He is survived by his wife and daughter.

Arrangements for a celebration of life are pending but will be held in Cheyenne most likely the first part of November. When finalized, details will be posted on schradercares.com.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Wyoming Press Association Foundation at 2121 Evans Ave., Cheyenne, WY 82001.

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Wyoming Obituaries: July 29 – August 5, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of July 29 – Aug. 5, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

July 29:

July 30:

July 31:

Aug. 1:

Aug. 2:

Aug. 3:

Aug. 4:

Aug. 5:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week Of July 23 – 29, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of July 23 – 29, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

July 23:

July 24:

July 25:

July 26:

July 27:

July 28:

July 29:

Obituaries Pending:

To submit an obituary, please email: Jen@CowboyStateDaily.com

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Wyoming Obituary: Leonard “Pete” Simon Pedersen

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Pete Pedersen, 82, of Cheyenne, passed away on July 19, 2022 at home in Cheyenne, WY.

Pete was born in Minneapolis, MN on May 6, 1940 to Danish parents Alfred and Harriet Pedersen. He grew up with two younger sisters Eileen and Joyce in Medicine Lake MT, working with his dad at their wheat farm. After graduating from high school, he attended Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. This sparked his interest in business and accounting. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps  Reserves.

Pete moved to Denver in 1966 and started his career as a Financial Advisor with Bosworth, Sullivan Co. Although the company changed names five times he continued to work for the same company for 48 years. He and his son, Bryan, joined together to form the Pedersen Investment Group of RBC Wealth Management.

In his late 20’s he met Sandy Aleksich. They fell in love in Denver CO at a “Montana Party” and two years later, they married in 1969. They moved to Cheyenne in 1971 and started a family, complete with Bryan and Valerie. As a family, they loved travel, musicals/plays, museums, skiing, camping, back packing and he loved salmon fishing with his buddies in Alaska. 

Community service was important to Pete. He was active in Young Republicans, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Cheyenne Soccer Association Board, Kiwanis, Old West Museum Board, Goodwill Board, Cowboy Joe Club member and was on the CFD Security Committee for over 40 years. 

In addition to his wife Sandy Pedersen and son Bryan Pedersen (wife Sara), daughter Valerie Martin (husband Tobias), Pete is survived by his sisters Eileen Klisis (husband George) of Great Falls, MT and Joyce Eck (husband Ed) of Missoula, MT, and his grandchildren Brock, Dane, Ea and Brant Pedersen.

He was preceded in passing by his parents Alfred and Harriet Pedersen.

The funeral service will be held at Ascension Lutheran Church on Tuesday, July 26 at 1:30 pm. Following will be a gathering at Pete’s, “home away home”, Uncle Charlie’s.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to  Wyoming Children’s Society, Cheyenne Frontier Days Scholarship Fund, or a charity of your choice in Pete’s name.

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of July 16 – 22, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of July 16 – 22, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

July 16:

July 17:

July 18:

July 19:

July 20:

July 21:

July 22:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of July 9 – 16, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of July 9 – 16, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

July 9:

July 10:

July 11:

July 12:


July 13:

July 14:

July 15:

July 16

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of July 2 – 8, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of July 2 – 8, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

July 2:

July 3:

July 4:

July 5:

July 6:

July 7:

July 8:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week Of June 25 – July 1, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of June 25 – July 1, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

June 25:

June 26:

June 27:

June 28:

June 29:

June 30:

July 1:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week Of June 17 – 25, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of June 17 – 25, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

June 17:

June 18:

June 19:

June 20:

June 21:

June 22:

June 23:

June 24:

June 25:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of June 10 – 17, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of June 10 – 17, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

June 10:

June 11:

June 12:

June 13:

June 14:

June 15:

June 16:

June 17:

Obituaries Pending:

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Cowboy Poets Remember Storyteller Baxter Black

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Wendy@CowboyStateDaily.com

Baxter Black had a way with words that connected with rural folks and brought the culture of cowboy and ranch life to a broader, more urban audience.

“And the mountains have shoulders like granite / They’re big and they make their own rules / So take what you need, but you’d better pay heed / ‘Cause the mountains don’t tolerate fools,” reads one of Black’s poems, titled “The West.”

The veterinarian-turned-cowboy-poet and author died last week at the age of 77 at his home in Benson, Arizona. 

The prolific writer and performer came to fame in the late 1980s, when a poem he wrote and recorded about the Yellowstone National Park fires of 1988 caught the attention of public radio. 

Black went on to speak at conventions and events across the country, wrote a weekly column (“On the Edge of Common Sense”) that was published by dozens of newspapers and became familiar to national television audiences through appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”



Black’s success was an inspiration for others who enjoyed cowboy poetry. Waddie Mitchell, one of the co-founders of the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, told Cowboy State Daily that Black was a mentor to him, even if he wasn’t aware of it.

“He didn’t know he was teaching me,” said Mitchell, “but he already had it going, people wanting him to speak after dinner and people wanting him to do this. And at the time we first met (in the mid-1980s) he was really thinking, ‘It’s time maybe I try this full time.’ And that’s the only thing that ever gave me the guts to go at it full bore.”

Black’s veterinary career began in 1969, but he quit in the early 1980s to write and perform full-time. Since then, Black wrote more than 30 books of poetry and fiction and sold more than 2 million books, CDs and DVDs, making him perhaps the most well-known of the cowboy poets. 



Dan Miller, a Cody entertainer and television host, said he first met Black around 20 years ago on a television project.

“When you think of American originals, I know that’s high praise, but I put Baxter Black in that category,” Miller said. 

He recalled fondly his dinners with Black and his family at their home in Benson and the time the two spent playing music together. 

“Baxter always said, ‘I’m no cowboy,’” Miller pointed out. “A lot of cowboy poets are cowboys or cowboy wannabes. Baxter knew his place in that world, from his veterinarian background. I think his overview of the cowboy way of life was such a unique perspective.” 

Mitchell said there was a magnetism to Black’s personality, which added to his appeal.

“Have you ever had somebody come into the room, even if they were well known or not known, and just trap your attention?” said Mitchell. “I’ve seen that happen with him time and time again. He could go into a room and meet 30 people, shake their hands, make them all feel like he really had interest in them. And so they went away feeling good.”

“And by golly the next day, if he saw them, he could call their names,” Mitchell added.

“His sense of humor was so acute, and that to me always set him apart,” Miller said. “You know, a lot of his humor, you had to be a farmer and rancher to get it. But he was an entertaining, funny guy who genuinely cared about his audience.” 



Mitchell pointed out that Black took his role as a storyteller seriously.

“People have forgotten that a storyteller is an important part of the human experience,” Mitchell said. “There’s something about somebody conveying stories or humor or just completely getting you enthralled with what’s going on in your own mind.”

Mitchell recalled a conversation he had with Black when they were both appearing on “The Tonight Show.”

“Baxter said, ‘You know, it’s primordial,’” Mitchell said. “‘The first story told was the first art – if the story was nothing more than how they killed that mammoth that day, it was still a story. And later on we got the stories through the cave paintings. And later on it just evolved and it split out – but art is storytelling.’”

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week Of June 3 – 10, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of June 3 – 10, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

June 3:

June 4:

June 5:

June 6:

June 7:

June 8:

June 9:

June 10:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of May 28 – June 3, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of May 28 –  June 3 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

May 28:

May 29:

May 30:

May 31:

June 1:

June 2:

June 3:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of May 21 – 27, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of May 21 – 27, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

May 21:

May 22:

May 23:

May 24:

May 25:

May 26:

May 27:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week Of May 14 – 20, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of May 14 – 20, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

May 14:

May 15:

May 16:

May 17:

May 18:

May 19:

May 20:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of April 30 – May 7, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of April 30 – May 7, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

April 30:

May 1:

May 2:

May 3:

May 4:

May 5:

May 6:

May 7:

Obituaries Pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of April 23 – 29, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of April 23 – 29, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

April 23:

April 24:

April 25:

April 26:

April 27:

April 28:

April 29:

Obituaries Pending:

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Legendary Wyoming Artist Jim Bama Dead At 95

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Anyone who has lived in Wyoming for any length of time has no doubt seen a print of a James Bama painting. 

A portrait so vivid, capturing the essence of the subject’s mood, that one wonders if it might be a photograph. The subject, usually a cowboy, is looking away from the artist, who has finely detailed the person’s clothing and accouterments.

That was Jim Bama’s style in his later years, and is a large part of his legacy. 

Bama passed away on April 24 at his home in Wapiti. He was 95 years old, and leaves behind scores of art pieces that have stood the test of time.



Bob and Nancy Brown, owners of Big Horn Art Gallery in Cody, told Cowboy State Daily that ever since they entered the Cody art world 35 years ago, Bama stood out to them not only as a legendary artist, but as a generous and genuine man.

“When we first thought about moving to Cody, they were doing an event at Old Trail Town, and Jim was there and Bob Edgar was there,” Nancy said, referring to the creator of “Old Trail Town” and the subject of one of Bama’s most famous pieces, “At the Burial of Gallagher and Blind Bill.”

“And as someone very new to the potential art world, I was absolutely in awe of this artist that could paint so photogenically,” she added. “Physically, yes, but just so graphically, and capture so much through that, and I think that’s what people responded to in Jim.”

Western art wasn’t always Bama’s calling card. When he first began selling his work at the age of 15, Bama was an illustrator.

In a 2014 interview with Robert Deis, Bama recalled his first paid job ($50 for an aerial drawing of Yankee Stadium for “The Sporting News”) and how his dream was to be a cartoonist, like his first hero, Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon). After his discharge from the army in the 1940s, Bama attended art school on the GI Bill, which led him into a career as an illustrator. 

Bama was the illustrator for the entire 62-book “Doc Savage” series as well as multiple covers for men’s magazines in the 1950s and 1960s.



He took his own photos (over 55,000 of them) that he based his drawings from, and used various mediums depending on the work.

“For the men’s adventure magazines, I worked with fast-drying, water-based paints on illustration board because of the deadlines,” Bama told Deis. “My paperbacks and fine art paintings were almost all in oil. When you work in oils, the paint is thick and you work on a textured surface. When you work in water-based paint, the paint is thin and you work on an illustration board, which is smoother.”

With his wife, Lynne, whom he married in 1964, Bama moved to Cody in 1968, where his career as an illustrator for magazines and book covers phased out and a new phase of his artwork began – the realistic portraits he took of men and women in the west. 

“I’ve been taking pictures out here for almost 40 years,” Bama told Deis in 2014, “and I’ve got a record of all the old-timers: a guy who drove a 24-horse steam stagecoach, the oldest living Arapaho Indian, who was in Tim McCoy’s Wild West Show and performed in front of Queen Victoria and was in the silent movie ‘Covered Wagon.’ I caught a lot of these people when they were in their 90’s. And Robert Yellowtail, who was a famous Crow Indian Chief. I got them not only in my artwork, but in the photography.”



It was Bama’s western art that hooked Bob and Nancy Brown in the 1990s.

“When he moved here he was completely enraptured with the West,” said Bob. “He’d grown up watching movies, and cowboys were pretty impressive. He never considered himself a Western artist, he didn’t like that title. He saw himself as an American realist.”

“When he got here, he was just mesmerized by the people, the characters, and the stories that they told,” added Nancy, “and he could do a really fine job of telling stories through his paintings, and through the people he painted. And I think that’s part of what made him so successful and what people responded to, because otherwise it’s just a portrait of somebody you don’t know.”

Several books have been released on the subject of Bama’s work, one of which was titled “American Realist” and was compiled by Bama himself and Brian Kane and released in 2006. Other compilations include “The Western Art of James Bama,” (1975); “James Bama: Sketchbook,” (2010); and “James Bama: Personal Works” (2012).

“Certainly, of his contemporaries, he was right at the very top of the ladder for that, just the very top,” Bob Brown pointed out. “And if you look back at those artists who have done well, in the last 40, 50, 60 years, most of them were artists who had a career in illustration prior to being involved in Western art full time.”



Because Bama didn’t see himself as strictly a western artist, he employed his realistic style to other subjects, including people he photographed while on a cultural exchange trip to China in 1987.

“He would probably not have been tickled to have been lumped in with other Western artists, because what he did, in his mind, was different,” Bob said. “He was capturing people.”

The Browns spoke of Bama’s love for his wife, Lynne, whom Nancy said was “the love of his life.”

“She really sacrificed her own career (as an author),” Nancy said. “She kept writing, kept producing things, but her career didn’t flourish in Cody. They truly loved each other and it’s a great example of how that relationship can work.”

Bama’s generous spirit was his defining characteristic, the Browns said.

“As high status as he does have in the world of American realism and Western art, he was really a humble guy,” Nancy said. “Very down to earth. He would just as soon stand and talk to the grocery cashier as to (noted artist) Howard Terpning. It didn’t matter. He was very humble that way. He was a fine man, and an iconic artist.”

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of April 17 – 22, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of April 17 – 22, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

April 17:

April 18:

April 19:

April 20:

April 21:

April 22:

Obituaries pending:

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Former Three-Term Cheyenne Mayor Bill Nation Dies at 96

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Former three-term Cheyenne Mayor Bill Nation died last week at the age of 96.

Nation was a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives, and served in Cheyenne’s top elected position from 1962 to 1964, 1964 to 1966, and 1972 to 1976.

Nation, whose name is used for a major Cheyenne street — “Nationway,” — also ran for governor in 1966 but was defeated in the Democratic primary.

Nation remained active in the community even after serving as mayor, being seen frequently at public events, ribbon cuttings, and receptions.

Affable by nature, the former mayor often laughed when discussing how much simpler it was to get things done in government some 50 or 60 years ago.

Curt Gowdy State Park

In a 2018 interview at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Nation recalled the time he played a major and instant role in the renaming of Curt Gowdy State Park.

Nation at the time was a member of the Wyoming State Recreation Commission, the organization that named state parks. He said while attending a meeting of the commission, he received a phone call from Frank Norris, who chaired the Wyoming Travel Commission.

Norris said his group was planning on honoring national sportscaster and Wyoming native Curt Gowdy at a reception and wondered if Granite State Park could be renamed in Gowdy’s honor.

Nation said he told Norris to hold, put the phone down, walked back into the room where the Recreation Commission was meeting and made the motion.

“I move that we change the name to Curt Gowdy State Park,” Nation said. “The chairman said ‘Great. Is there a second? Yes. All those in favor say aye.’ Of course it was unanimous.”

Nation said he walked back to the phone and said, “Frank, It is named Curt Gowdy State Park right now.”

“He said, ‘Nation, you get things done,'” the former mayor said with a laugh.

But that wasn’t the only time Nation navigated through bureaucracy quickly.

Big Boy

When he read in the newspaper that the Big Boy steam engine, the world’s largest steam engine, was being retired, Nation said he called the president of Union Pacific Railroad to make a case for it to be put on display in Cheyenne.

It didn’t take much lobbying, he said.

“I hear you are going to get rid of that steam engine,” Nation recalled of the conversation.  “I got a perfect spot for it. We want it in Cheyenne. We’re a railroad town.”

Nation said the UP’s president “immediately” thought that was a good idea and asked him where he wanted the engine placed.

“Holliday Park, right next to the highway,” Nation said.

Union Pacific was able to get the engine transported to where the mayor wanted it, but the trip almost ended in disaster, he said.

“It was moving too fast and almost ran through the YMCA,” he said. “But they got it slowed down and they parked it right there.”

Nation is survived by his children, Michael, Martin, Nancy and Molly, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by Ed Nation, Helen Rasmussen and Marie Hall of Cheyenne, as well as his other nine older siblings.

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of April 9 – 15, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of April 9 – 15, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

April 9:

April 10:

April 11:

April 12:

April 13:

April 14:

April 15:

Obituaries pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of April 3 – 8, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of April 3 – 8, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

April 3:

April 4:

April 5:

April 6:

April 7:

April 8:

Obituaries pending:

Wyoming Obituaries: Week Of March 26 – 31, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of March 26 – 31, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

March 26:

March 27:

March 28:

March 29:

March 30:

March 31:

Obituaries pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of March 19 – 26, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of March 19 – 26, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

March 19:

March 20:

March 21:

March 22:

March 23:

March 24:

March 25:

March 26:

Obituaries pending:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of March 12 – 18, 2022.

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of March 12 – 18, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

March 12:

March 13:

March 14:

March 15:

March 16:

March 17:

March 18:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of March 5 – 12, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of March 5 – 12, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

March 5:

March 6:

March 7:

March 8:

March 9:

March 10:

March 11:

March 12:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of February 26 – March 5, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Feb. 26 – March 5, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Feb. 26:

Feb. 27:

Feb. 28:

March 1:

March 2:

March 3:

March 4:

March 5:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of February 18 – 25, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Feb. 18 – 25, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Feb. 18:

Feb. 19:

Feb. 20:

Feb. 21:

Feb. 22:

Feb. 23:

Feb. 24:

Feb. 25:

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Wyoming Sportscaster George Kay Dead At 88

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By Frank Gambino, KTWO
Republished with permission from Frank Gambino

Kay’s career in broadcasting spanned nearly 50 years starting with his first radio job after his service in the Navy in 1956. 

He started at KTWO Radio and Television in Casper in 1966 working in news and sales before settling into the sports director position in 1980.

Kay had a long relationship with the University of Wyoming dating back to the 1960s. He served as the radio color commentator for Cowboy football broadcast as well as TV play-by-play.  He’s remembered by most for his work on the Wyoming Radio Network starting in 1987.

During his long career, Kay was instrumental in getting the Wyoming High School Basketball Championships televised as well as the Wyoming High School wrestling championships. Over the course of 24 years, in the sports broadcasting business, he interviewed the biggest names in the Wyoming sports world.



By the same measure, he interviews countless high school players from around the state, sensing that Wyoming had a great deal of admiration for high school athletics. Kay also co-hosted a radio talk show with Tim Ray for 9 years that featured in-depth conversations with national sports figures along with Wyoming players and coaches at all levels.

Kay was named the Wyoming Sportscaster of the Year 4 times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. 

He retired in 2004 but was always willing to lend his expertise to up-and-coming sportscasters. More than anything else, George Kay was one of the nicest and most gracious people you would ever meet. Wyoming is really going to miss him.

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of February 10 – 18, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Feb. 10 – 18. Our condolences to family and friends:

Feb. 10:

Feb. 11:

Feb. 12:

Feb. 13:

Feb. 14:

Feb. 15:

Feb. 16:

Feb. 17:

Feb 18:

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Once World’s Most Famous Child Ballerina, Stephanie Selby Dies At 56 in Cody

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming is filled with amazing stories — when you walk down the street in one of the state’s many small towns, there’s no telling whose story you might learn.

In Cody, one such story was Stephanie Selby’s. Selby passed away in Cody on Feb. 3 at just 56 years old. 

Most people who knew Selby met her because of her work in the outdoors — she loved horses, she was a hunting camp cook, horse wrangler and guide, and her best friend was her Australian sheep dog Pete. She was deeply committed to her Christian faith, and was a dedicated member of her church in Cody.

What only her closest friends and family may have known, however, was that Selby was once the most famous child ballerina in the world.

In 1976, Selby was the subject of a book by photographer Jill Krementz which followed the 10-year-old School of American Ballet student in her day-to-day life as she prepared for and starred in the role of Clara in New York City Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” 

The book, “A Very Young Dancer,” was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1976. 

In a New York Times feature from 2011 titled “Storybook Ballerina’s True Life Adventure,” the writer noted that the book inspired many young aspiring ballerinas and rocketed young Stephanie, who spent her childhood summers at her family’s Cody-area ranch, to fame.  

Her time in the spotlight led to experiences very few young people could claim — she was featured in a “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” Christmas special, was interviewed on the “Today” show and made other TV appearances.

But she left that life behind, according to one of her friends in Cody, Lisa Courtney.

“What she really loved was her life away from all of that,” said Courtney, who met Selby more than 20 years ago. “What she really embraced and loved was her life here as a guide and an outdoorsman, and horsewoman. She loved her dog. She loved the Lord.”

Selby graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where she majored in religion, according to her obituary. For a time she lived and worked in Boston for charitable organizations, helping people in crisis. 

But her Wyoming roots called her home, said Courtney, who was introduced to Selby through their mothers.

“Stephanie and I just kind of connected through my mom,” Courtney said. 

Courtney’s mother was friends with Stephanie’s mother, Linn Selby.

“And then we just became good friends over the years,” Courtney said.

As an adult, Courtney said Selby was intensely private. She spent much of her life in Cody immersed in the outdoors.

“She loved to take city people, you know, like New York City people, and show them the wonders of this country,” Courtney said. “And because she was passionate about this, she was outside all the time. She was fishing, hiking, horseback riding, dancing in the woods.”

Selby stayed connected to her New York City roots, but Courtney pointed out that she always came back to Cody.

“She loved New York City, but it couldn’t contain her,” she said. “It just couldn’t contain everything that she was — so she was here sometimes, then she wanted to go back there. But she would never stay long. She always came back here.”

What her friends in Cody will remember most isn’t the childhood dancer who was handpicked by George Balanchine himself to play the coveted role of “Clara” for the New York City Ballet — not the 10-year-old who won the hearts of young girls who dreamed of becoming ballerinas. Courtney said the woman who danced in the outdoors, the free spirit who loved her horses and her animals, and who loved intensely is the woman who will be missed.

“She was intensely generous with her love,” she said. “And she was delicate and extremely intelligent and incredibly talented.”

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of February 3 – 10, 2022

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By Jen Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Feb. 3 – 10, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Feb. 3:

Feb. 4:

Feb. 5:

Feb. 6:

Feb. 7:

Feb. 8:

Feb. 9:

Feb. 10:

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Former State Sen. Leland Christensen Dies Friday Morning

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Former State Sen. Leland Christensen died on on Friday morning at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center at the age of 62.

Christensen passed-on due to complications from the COVID-19 virus.

“We were hoping Dad was going to wake up today but in the night he passed peacefully on to the next life surrounded by family,” Leland’s son Hunter said.

On a GoFundMe page created to help the Christensen family with medical expenses, Hunter said, “Thank you to all of you for your love and faith and true friendship. Thank you for your help so that his family could cover medical expenses that are not covered by insurance. We will post details about memorial services when arrangements are made. Love you all!”

Christensen served two terms as state senator representing Teton County. Before then, he had a distinguished 20-year career as a deputy sheriff for Teton County.

The Alta native served as a Teton County commissioner from 2005 to 2011 and served with the 19th Special Forces Airborne Army and the National Guard for 15 years.

In 2016, Christensen ran for U.S. Congress, coming in second to now-U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney.

In 2019, Christensen was appointed by Gov. Mark Gordon as Deputy Director for Wyoming’s Office of Homeland Security and in 2021 U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis appointed him as her state director.

“Leland’s death cuts me to the depths of my heart,” Senator Lummis said. “Leland was all Wyoming. He was tough as nails, endlessly patient, unwaveringly kind.”

“When I was elected to the US Senate, I knew I needed Leland on my team because he loved Wyoming people. He loved to help his fellow man. He cared about the challenges our state and its people face. His smile would light up every room and his laugh was infectious,” she said.

“He was a joy to be around. He was my dear friend. He even guided my daughter and me into the Teton Wildnerness alongside his own family, on horseback. By every estimation he was ten feet tall and bulletproof. But, in His own good time, God calls all his children home to be of service there,” Lummis said.

“Leland prepared for his service in heaven each and every day, throughout his entire life in Wyoming. I am mourning his loss with his wife Anita, children Hunter, Brittany, Simone, Jed and Wyatt, their spouses and his grandchildren. My staff and I, along with the entire Wyoming community, are all praying for them,” she said.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon called Leland a kind and committed public servant and a good friend.

“I am grateful for his service in the Legislature and as Deputy Director of the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security. He will be deeply missed,” Gordon said.

Earlier this month, longtime friend and senate colleague Ogden Driskill (R-Devils Tower) called Leland his “best friend” and “one the finest people” he had ever met.

On Friday, Driskill told Cowboy State Daily that Leland “…truly left a mark of a leader on WYOMING. Don’t know a person who knew him who didn’t respect him. Really lived and embodied the Code of the West.”

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney on Friday said, “Very sad to learn of the passing of Leland Christensen. Leland served our country in uniform, the community as a County Commissioner, and our great state as a legislator. Leland will be missed and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Hunter said his father contracted COVID in December and was admitted to the hospital on Dec. 19.

Leland was subsequently moved to the intensive care unit in an Idaho Falls, Idaho, hospital and was in a medically-induced coma since late December.

Leland is survived by wife Anita, five children, and 13 grandchildren.

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of January 27 – February 3, 2022

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Our condolences to family and friends:

Jan. 27:

Jan. 28:

Jan. 29:

Jan. 30:

Jan. 31:

Feb. 1:

Feb. 2:

Feb. 3:

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Wyoming Obituaries: Week of January 20 – 27, 2022

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Jan. 20 – 27, 2022. Our condolences to family and friends:

Jan. 20:

Jan. 21:

Jan. 22:

Jan. 23:

Jan. 24:

Jan. 25:

Jan. 26:

Jan. 27:

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Wyoming Obituaries: January 13 – 19

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Jan. 13 – 19. Our condolences to family and friends: 

Jan. 13: 

Jan. 14: 

Jan. 15: 

Jan. 16: 

Jan. 17: 

Jan. 18: 

Jan. 19: 

Wyoming Obituaries: January 7 – 13

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Jan. 7 – 13. Our condolences to family and friends: 

Jan. 7: 

Jan. 8: 

Jan. 9: 

Jan. 10: 

Jan. 11: 

Jan. 12: 

Jan. 13: 

Wyoming Obituaries: December 30 – January 6

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 6. Our condolences to family and friends: 

Dec. 30: 

Dec. 31: 

Jan. 1: 

Jan. 2: 

Jan. 3: 

Jan. 4: 

Jan. 5: 

Jan. 6: 

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Wyoming Obituaries: December 16 – 22, 2021

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Dec. 16 – 22, 2021. Our condolences to family and friends:

Dec. 16:

Dec. 17:

Dec. 18:

Dec. 20:

Dec. 21:

Dec. 22:

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Wyoming Obituaries: December 9-16

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Here’s a list of recent deaths of Wyoming residents and those with close affiliations to the state for the week of Dec. 9 – 16. Our condolences to family and friends: 

Dec. 9: 

Dec. 10: 

Dec. 11: 

Dec. 12: 

Dec. 14: 

Dec. 15: