By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Hank Coe was known throughout Wyoming for his dedication to his city, his friends, his position as a state senator — and now his memory is being honored in the Wyoming Legislature.
A bill that would name a portion of Highway 120 – both north and south of Coe’s hometown of Cody — the “Hank Coe Leadership Highway” is this week nearing the end of its journey through the Legislature.
Henry Huttleston Rogers “Hank” Coe passed away just two months ago at the age of 74 after battling pancreatic cancer — less than a year after his retirement from public office.
He served in the Wyoming Legislature for 32 years in a multitude of roles, including majority floor leader, Senate vice president and Semate President, and chaired a number of committees.
Among his many achievements, Coe played an instrumental role in creating the Hathaway Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship which benefits Wyoming students who attend state colleges and the University of Wyoming.
So to designate a portion of a major highway that runs through his hometown as a “leadership highway” seems appropriate, according to Sandy Newsome, a fellow Cody resident who currently serves in the Wyoming House of Representatives.
“You know, he was a county commissioner for years and years and served in the state house for 32 years — and just always giving to his community,” Newsome recalled. “Whether it was as a firefighter or commissioner, or with the Coe Medical Foundation, or the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, he was always giving of his time and expertise.”
Newsome said her connection with Coe began back in the 1980s when Coe served as a volunteer firefighter and Sandy’s husband was on the Park County Search and Rescue squad.
Coe’s concern for people was genuine, she said.
“I used to take my mother-in-law on Tuesdays to do her little errands around town, and it often included a stop at Hank’s office, because he was her stockbroker” she said. “She had lost her hearing a little bit and he was so patient, and so kind. “Given his stature in the community, he was just as gracious as can be.“
House Bill 135 designating the highway has been approved by the House and was approved Tuesday in its first reading by the Senate. If the Senate approves the bill in two more readings, it will go to the desk of Gov. Mark Gordon for his signature.
If it passes, the “Hank Coe Leadership Highway” will join other memorial roadways such as the “Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Highway” on Interstate 25; the “Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Pathway” on Highway 28 in Fremont County; the “Medal of Honor Highway” on Highway 20 between Wyoming’s borders with Montana and Nebraska, and the “Wild Horse Highway” east of Cody on Highway 14/16/20.