Obituary Details

Elvira "Vira" Olinger

(07/27/1890 - 03/31/1974)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 04/04/1974

Vira Olinger, Member of Niobrara County Pioneer Family, Dies Sunday

Mrs. Vira Olinger, 83, a member of a pioneer family of Niobrara County died Sunday in Youngtown, Ariz. A resident of Youngtown since 1965 Mrs. Olinger had recently moved to a Christian Science Nursing Home. She died of cancer in a hospital in Youngtown.

Memorial service was being held in Youngtown Wednesday following complete cremation.

Vira Snyder Olinger was the second daughter born to Harry and Mary V. Snyder July 27, 1890, in Lusk, the same month and year that Wyoming became a state. Her father was a Texan who came to Wyoming with a herd of longhorn cattle and after working as a ranch foreman at the 4 P Ranch near Fort Laramie for three years he moved to the LZ Ranch located fifteen miles east of Lusk.

He had married Mary Vincent Snyder, a teacher from Pennsylvania, whom he met while she was teaching at the old government farm a few miles from Fort Laramie.

The couple had three daughters while living at the LZ and when they were of school age the family moved to Lusk. Mr. Snyder entered the mercantile business operating for many years the H. C. Snyder and Company store. He was a stock holder and vice-president of the Lusk Bank and one of the pioneer mayors of Lusk. He was chairman of the Lusk citizen committee seeking the creation of Niobrara County and later represented Niobrara County at the State Legislature.

After attending the Lusk schools Mrs. Olinger attended the University of Wyoming at Laramie for two years and then helped in her father's store.

It was there she met Ralph I. Olinger, who had come from Tekamah, Neb., to work in the Snyder Store. The couple were married in May, 1912, at the old Snyder home in Lusk

They had one son, Harry, who was killed in a car accident when he was 35.

When the Snyder Store closed during the depression years, Mr. and Mrs. Olinger moved to Newcastle and started a clothing store which they operated until 1943 when they moved to San Diego, Calif., where they lived during the war years.

After the war they returned to Lusk and opened another clothing store. This store they sold in 1953 and Mr. Olinger served three terms in the Wyoming Legislature. In 1957 they moved to Youngtown, Ariz., where Mr. Olinger died in 1965. Mrs. Olinger continued to make Youngtown her home until her death.

She was a charter member of Chapter I of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, charter member and grand matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, and member of the D.A.R.

She was a devout member of the Christian Science faith and annually attended meetings of the church.

Mrs. Olinger is survived by her granddaughter, Mrs. Nancy McLaughlin of Oregon and her sister, Mrs. Otto (Veda) Stratton of Palo Alto, Calif. Her parents and a sister, Mrs. James B. (Nellie) Griffith, died previously.

State Treasurer Jim Griffith is a nephew, and he and Donald Olinger of Cheyenne, another nephew, flew to Phoenix to attend the memorial service.

Images & Attachments

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The Snyder Sisters - Vira (Olinger), Veda (Stratton) and Nellie (Griffith)
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Gravestone photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
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