Obituary Details

Kathleen Rochelle

(11/20/1877 - 02/28/1958)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 03/06/1958

Mrs. Albert Rochelle, Niobrara Pioneer and Legislator, Dies in Casper Friday

Mrs. Albert Rochelle, 80, Niobrara and Wyoming pioneer and former member of the State Legislature, died in the Natrona County Memorial Hospital at Casper Friday evening after a short illness.

The community of Rochelle in northwestern Niobrara County is named after Mr. Rochelle. He died February 15, 1957. Rochelles lived in Lusk for many years. The C. W. Spacht home on south Main was originally built by Rochelles for their home.

Mrs. Rochelle was a woman of many "firsts" and most of them directly concerned the welfare and development of Niobrara. She was the first primary teacher in Lusk, the first woman on the board of education in Lusk, first president of the original Parent-Teacher Association in Lusk, and the first woman member of the Legislature to come from Niobrara County.

Mrs. Rochelle was born Kathleen Ogden in Leon, Iowa, November 20, 1877. She was reared there and attended normal schools in Iowa.

She taught in primary schools in Leon for eight years before deciding to come west. She chose Wyoming because that state granted women the right to vote, and Mrs. Rochelle was a strong advocate of woman suffrage.

Married In 1907
She was Lusk's first primary teacher, from 1906 to 1907. On June 7, 1907, she was married to Albert Rochelle who died February 15, 1957, only a few months before their 50th wedding anniversary.

She was President of the Lusk Reading Club, and first president of the Lusk Civic Improvement Club. During her term of office the Carnegie Library was established in Lusk.

During the First World War she was a member of the Niobrara Council of National Defense, a member of the Food Administration Committee, and vice county chairman of the American Red Cross.

In 1918 she was the first woman elected to the school board of Lusk. The following year she became president of the first local Parent Teacher Association in that area. Four years later, she served as state president of the Wyoming PTA for three years. From 1919 to 1923 she was also recording secretary of the State Federation of Women's Clubs.

Elected To Legislature
In 1926 she ran and was elected to the State Legislature from Niobrara County, the fifth woman in Wyoming to be thus honored. A fellow legislator said of her, "Mrs. Rochelle had quite a fine influence in many ways. We are proud of her." And February 12 of that year she addressed the assembly on "Lincoln in the Home."

The Rochelles moved to Natrona County in 1927 and lived on a ranch near Arminto. In 1932 she was again elected to the Legislature on the Democratic ticket and re-elected two years later.

She was the first president of the Natrona County Wool Growers Auxiliary. She was also a charter member of Chapter I of PEO at Lusk serving as president in 1927. She later belonged to the Casper chapter.

She had served as president of the Casper Women's Club.

A member of St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church, she belonged to the Altar and Rosary Society of that church.

Surviving are six children, Ogden J. of Pacific Palisades, Calif., Marion F. and Rodney James both of Casper; Curtis William, Rawlins; Mrs. George Angelovic of Green River, and Mrs. Emmett Osborne of Riverton. There are also 15 grandchildren.

Recitation of the Rosary took place at the Bustard Funeral Home Monday at 8 p.m. High Requiem Mass was performed Tuesday at 9:30 at St. Anthony's Church with Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas F. O'Reily officiating. Burial was in Highland Cemetery.

Images & Attachments

Kathleen Rochelle

Gravestone photos courtesy of photographer Barb Walker


Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Rochelle, Albert (03/29/1869 - 02/15/1957) View Record