Frederick Brooks "Fred" Willson

Picture courtesy of Anne Willson Whitehead, author of <i>Willson Brothers Running Water Ranch: The Homestead Cabin Story</i>
Picture courtesy of Anne Willson Whitehead, author of Willson Brothers Running Water Ranch: The Homestead Cabin Story



Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

(December 13, 1898 - November 22, 1996)


The Lusk Herald
December, 1996


Frederick Brooks Willson

Funeral services for Frederick Brooks Willson, 97, were Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1996, at the Congregational Church with the Rev. Don Laue officiating. Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery. He died Friday, Nov. 22, 1996, at Denver, Colo.

He was born Dec. 13, 1898, to Eugene Bigelow and Isabel Mack Willson, Wyoming pioneers, at his parents' Running Water Ranch east of Manville. During his youth, he attended schools at Manville and Lusk and graduated from Boulder Prep School at Boulder, Colo.

There he continued his education graduating from the University of Colorado, where he was affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity. He also attended the University of Michigan studying law. During World War I, he served his country in an Army STAR unit. His professional career was with the oil and gas industry, first being employed during his pre-college years by Union Oil Company of California as a driver for geologists conducting exploration work at the time throughout Montana and northern Wyoming. After graduation from college, while located in Fort Collins, Colo. with the Union Oil Company, he met Mary Frances Wheaton of that city.

They were married Aug. 5, 1927, in the First Presbyterian Church of Fort Collins. For a brief time he returned with his family to operate his parents' Running Water Ranch. However, he soon resumed his career in the oil industry with Continental Oil Co. and during his 28 years of service was located at various times in Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

For three years after retirement, he continued as a consultant for Continental Oil.

He and his wife have continued operation of their Manville Ranch, a part of his parents' and his uncle's George Luther Willson, with the original Running Water Ranch being founded in 1880.

In the summer of 1992, Manville Ranch, Inc., and Fred and Mary Frances Willson were recognized and honored by the State of Wyoming as being a Wyoming ranch in continuous operation by the same family for at least 100 years. He continued active involvement in his ranching business until the time of his death.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Edna Willson Koontz and brothers Eugene Parkhurst Willson and Kenneth Mack Willson.

Survivors include his wife; daughter Anne Willson Whitehead; grandson Bruce Willson Whitehead and his wife Chisa; nephews, George B. Willson of Loveland, Colo., James V. Willson of Lusk and Kenneth M. Willson, Jr., of Longmont, Colo.; nieces, Phyllis Hahn of Lusk, Mary Gene Wilson of Sundance, June Read of Greensboro, N.C., and Barbara James of New Orleans, La.

Olinger Mortuaries of Denver and Bader Funeral Home were in charge of arrangements.








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