Obituary Details

William "Bill" John Oates

(11/10/1934 - 09/28/1988)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 10/05/1988

William J. Oates

Services for William John Oates, 53, were held Saturday, October 1, 1988 at St. Georges Episcopal Church. Bishop Bob G. Jones officiated. Casket bearers were James McNeill, Berry Andrews, Pat Sperry, Robert Miller, Ed Boner and William Wilcox. Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery. He died September 28, 1988 at the Niobrara County Hospital.

Mr. Oates was born November 10, 1934, in Deadwood, S.D. His family moved to Lusk in 1947 where he graduated from Lusk High School in 1953. He attended Chadron State College and the University of Wyoming.

On May 19, 1962, he married Helen E. Eikenberry in Douglas and they lived in various areas of Wyoming before coming to Lusk. He was employed by Mountain Bell for 27 years until the time of his death. During that time he represented Mountain Bell in the Chamber of Commerce and also served as president of the Chamber of Commerce for five years.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1958, spending most of the time in Germany. He was a member of St. George Episcopal Church and the Niobrara County Sheriff's Posse. He was also involved in many other civic organizations and projects in Lusk and Niobrara County.

He is survived by his wife Helen; three children, Elizabeth Helen Lecher, of Fort Pierce, Fla., William Howard Oates of Laramie, and Barbara Jean Ivey of Cheyenne; his mother, Rose C. Hitz of Cheyenne; two brothers, Richard H. of Laramie and Albert T. of Grand Rapid, Mich.; 13 nieces and nephews.

Memorials to the Cancer Treatment and Hospice of Casper or to St. George Episcopal Church would be equally appreciated by the family.

Peet Mortuary was in charge of the arrangements.

Thanks for the lead, Bill

by Keith R. Cerny

Niobrara County, and I personally, lost a friend last week.

Bill "Mr. Chamber" Oates will be sorely misssed as one of this community's all-time great leaders. The direction he provided as president of the Niobrara Chamber of Commerce and in the countless activities he somehow found time to dedicate himself to will long be remembered.

Most will remember Bill for his never-ceasing smile. Even in the face of adversity as cancer gnawed at his seemingly endless energy, he smiled and chuckled as if nothing was wrong.

Many will carry found memories of Bill with them for the rest of their lives. Some may choose to be bitter that God took him away from us but we should be thankful that he was here long enough to set a glowing example for all of us to try to follow.

Bill would be happiest to know that we are going on with our efforts to promote our great community and state. And some day, if we are lucky, we will get a chance to join him in Heaven.

God has a good hand at his side.

The Lusk Herald
October 5, 1988
'Mr Chamber" Bill Oates loses battle with cancer

A man who affectionately became known as "Mr. Chamber" in Niobrara County lost a several month battle to cancer last week.

William John "Bill" Oates died Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1988 at Niobrara Memorial Hospital. Funeral services were held Saturday, Oct. 1 at St. George's Episcopal Church in Lusk.

Oates, president of the Niobrara Chamber of Commerce for the past five years, worked for the Mountain Bell Telephone System for 27 years until the time of his death. He was a member of St. George's Episcopal Church and the Niobrara County Sheriff's Posse.

He was also involved in many other civic organizations and projects in Niobrara County, working intensely for the survival of the community.

Honored by the Niobrara Chamber this past April, Oates was credited with providing the leadership to see through numerous community projects since he became involved with the group. One of the major projects cited was the annual Head Start Poker Run and his involvement in it annually.

It was announced at that program that Oates will eventually be inducted into the Wyoming Country Music foundation Hall of Fame when it is developed.

Oates was born in Deadwood, SD on Nov. 10, 1934 and moved to Lusk with his family in 1947. He graduated from Lusk High School in 1953 and served in the United States Army during 1956-58, spending most of the time in Germany before being discharged in 1958.

He attended college at Chadron State College and the University of Wyoming and was married to Helen E. Eikenberry on May 19, 1962 in Douglas.

Bill is survived by his wife, Helen, three children, Elizabeth Lecher of Fort Pierce, FL, William of Laramie, and Barbara Ivey of Cheyenne; his mother, Rose C. Hiz of Cheyenne, two brothers, Richard of Laramie and Albert of Grand Rapids, MI, and 13 nieces and nephews.

Images & Attachments

Bill 'Mr. Chamber' Oates
Members of Bill and Helen Oates' immediate family on hand for a Chamber dinner in Bill's honor included, from left, daughter Barb and husband Dick Ivey of Cheyenne, Helen, son Bill of Laramie, Bill, daughter Liz Lecher of Warrensburg, MO, and Bill's mother, Rose Hitz of Cheyenne.

Gravestone photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

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