Historical Details

Chamberlain, Roy Edwin

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 11/12/2020


by Gertrude Chamberlain

Roy Edwin Chamberlain, businessman, oil man, and educator, was born and raised in Brownsville, Nebr. After graduating from Nebraska State College at Peru, Nebr., he took a position as principal and coach at the high school in Brownville. In the fol­ lowing year, he came to Wheatland, Wyo. to teach in high school.

After two years of teaching in Wheat­ land, he went to work for Ohio Oil in the Big Muddy Field near Glenrock.     Later that same year he was transferred with a promotion to Lance Creek. In 1933, when the Depression necessitated a cut back in the payroll, the Ohio Company put everyone on half time.   Roy was chemist and warehouse­ man, but did not like the idea of working only half time.  He encouraged Jim Hoblit, another employee of Ohio Oil, to go in with him as a partner and build an independent oil refinery at Lusk. Roy had secured permission from Mr. Holland, the General Superintendent for Ohio Oil in the terri­tory, to buy Lance Creek crude oil for the refinery.  They built and operated the C & H Refinery together and succeeded in introducing oil burners to Lusk residents who had previously used only coal.

In 1935 Roy met and married Gertrude Ord, who was teaching in the high school at Lusk and was the daughter of a pioneer ranch family.

In 1935 Mr. Chamberlain purchased the Ranger Hotel. He and his new bride took over the management of the hotel on Jan. 1, 1936. In 1938 he launched an expansion program for the hotel, finishing the two top floors of the four-story building, put­ ting in an electric elevator and a new 
coffee shop.  At this time, he sold his half of the refinery to Mr. Hoblit.   At the end of the next 10 years in 1948, he had added seventy new rooms to the original forty­ room hotel.   It was recognized as one of the best hotels in Wyoming and was known throughout the nation as a fine place to stay. The Chamberlain's made their home in the hotel until 1950 when they moved into their present home, one of the early pioneer homes of Lusk at 325 Main Street.

In 1943, Mr. Chamberlain was elected Senator for Niobrara County on the Republi­can ticket and served in the Senate for three terms.    He was a member of the Legis­lative Interim Committee for eight years, and President Ad Interim of the Senate and presided over a special session.  He was Chairman of the Education Committee of the Senate and was responsible for the passage of several important acts including the Reorganization Bill and the Wyoming Retirement Act.

In 1953 he was appointed to the Board of Trustees at the University of Wyoming and served on that Board for 12 years. During that time he was interested in the Association of Governing Boards of State Universities and held offices in that organ­ization, serving finally as its President of the National Board.

During all of these years, he was interested, and still is at the time of this writing, in the oil business.   He was one of the founders of Ranger Oil Company, which is now an International Company with its home office in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He was a director and president of Tom Bell Royalty Company until that company merged with Glasscock Oil Company to form Bell Western Corporation, and his since served as a director of the new company.

All during this time, he was active in the promotion of State and Community pro­jects.  He was chairman of the Black Gold Festival, which was especially successful, held at Lance Creek for the purpose of securing a paved highway to Lance Creek Oil Field and promoting good will between the Lusk, Manville and Lance Creek Communities.

He was President of the Lusk School Board at the time of the reorganization, resulting in one county-wide school district, and was the first Chairman of the Board of the Niobrara County School District.  He was delegate to various Governor's Conferences and White House Conferences on Special Studies and Projects.  He was one of the organizers and original Directors of the Wyoming Development Corporation.

Mr. Chamberlain took an active part in the presentation of the Pageant of the Raw­hide and drove the covered wagon which is now in the Lusk Museum.

The positions he has held include that of: President of Lions Club; Chairman and member of the Board of Trustees of the Congregational Church of Lusk, and also of Board of Deacons; member of the Boy Scout Council of Wyoming; Master of Harmony Lodge AF and AM; President of the Wyoming Hotel Association; President of Highway 20
As­sociation; Director of the Lusk State Bank, Director of the Wyoming Board of Blue Shield; Director and Chairman of the Wyoming Blue Cross Board.

Mr. Chamberlain has always been interested in good government and has been active in local, state and national affairs.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Chamberlain, Roy (06/04/1905 - 09/19/1979) View Record
Historical C & H Refinery earns historic recognition View Record
Obituary Chamberlain, Gertrude (03/09/1907 - 05/03/1998) View Record