Obituary Details

Frank Aloysius Barrett

(11/10/1892 - 05/30/1962)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 05/31/1962

Frank Barrett Dies Memorial Day, Last Rites Saturday Morning at 10:00 in High School Auditorium

Frank Barrett of Lusk - Congressman, Governor, United States Senator - died at De Paul Hospital in Cheyenne Memorial Day morning at 5:45 stricken by leukemia.

Returning from Arizona, where he had spent the winter, he stopped at Cheyenne where tests on May 15 revealed the blood disease. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Denver where further tests confirmed his illness. He talked frankly with reporters in Denver May 21 and his illness became of wide public concern. He entered De Paul Hospital at Cheyenne May 24 hoping to come on home to Lusk. But, mercifully, the end came too quickly. He was 69.

And thus the name of Lusk's most illustrious citizen was added to the roll of honored dead at the Memorial Day observance in the Lusk Cemetery where he will be laid to rest. With prayer for him and words from the speaker the observance became a memorial to the man who had served his community and the people of Wyoming so well and for so long.

Funeral services will be held Saturday morning at 10:00 in the Niobrara County High School Auditorium with the Right Rev. Hubert M. Newell, bishop of the Cheyenne Diocese of the Catholic Church, presiding at the requiem high mass and delivering the funeral sermon. Military rites will be performed at the Lusk Cemetery by Wieten-Dupes Post of the American Legion of which Mr. Barrett was a long member and past commander. Rosary services will be held at the Barrett home Friday evening at 8:00 p.m. His body lay in state at the Wyoming Capitol at Cheyenne from 12:00 noon until 2:00 Thursday. Services are being held at the auditorium because it is feared the small home church could never accommodate the crowd which will attend.

Lusk businesses will close from 10:00 to 11:30 Saturday morning in Mr. Barrett's honor.

Frank Barrett was first elected to high office, that of United States Congressman, in 1942 and served four terms. He was elected Governor in 1950 and to the United States Senate in 1952 defeating the veteran Joseph C. O'Mahoney and where he served until 1958.

His great service to Wyoming while in Congress came through his membership on the Interior Committee of both House and Senate and as chairman of the House sub-committee on public lands. He became a student of American preparedness as a member of the Senate Armed Service Committee, but his basic interests were the problems of the west and he was recognized nationally for his knowledge of land and mineral matters, livestock and related problems of the West.

His interest in high office began in the 1930's and in 1936 he gained the Republican nomination for Congress but was defeated in the New Deal landslide by Paul Greever. He did not run again until 1942 though he remained a potent force in Wyoming politics.

Frank worked and fought hard at politics, and once in office dedicated his entire, intense life to it. It was not easy for him to accept defeat to Gale McGee in 1958 and the last minute attack upon him in that campaign by Columnist Drew Pearson was the greatest hurt of his career. Late the next year Pearson made a full retraction of his charge that Barrett had intervened in the tax case of former senator, E. V. Robertson, but the spirit of the Frank Barrett that Wyoming had known never completely returned.

He was appointed chief counsel of the Department of Agriculture in 1959 by President Eisenhower, but in 1960 he resigned to make a comeback try for the Senate. However, he was defeated in the Republican primary by the rising Republican political figure, Keith Thomson.

After such an intense life of service Mr. Barrett found it difficult to relax and enjoy life, and only this past winter was he beginning to get satisfaction out of retirement. His life of political service had been one of concern for the least individual as well as for the heavy problems of state, and many, many people of his home county as well as throughout the state remember the little errands he did for them from his various official positions.

Barrett's public service began at Niobrara county attorney in 1922 an office which he held for three terms until 1934. He was elected to the Wyoming Senate in 1932 serving through 1935. He was appointed to the University of Wyoming board of trustees in 1938 serving to 1942.

He was a director of the Wyoming Reclamation Service, director of the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association, member of the Wyoming Historical Advisory Board, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Woolgrowers Association, Wyoming Farm Bureau, and held a keen interest in all their activities.

For his many outstanding services he received honorary doctor of law degrees from both the University of Wyoming and Creighton University, Omaha, of which he was a graduate. He took pride in having been a member of the Wyoming Bar Association and the American Bar Association since entering law practice at Lusk in 1919.

Frank Barrett was born in Omaha, November 10, 1892, member of a large family of eight. He worked his waythrough Crieghton University and went on to get a law degree there being a postal employee on the side. He served 17 months in the Balloon Corps in World War I training crews in this country.

He married Alice Catherine Donoghue May 21, 1919 and they came to Lusk and Wyoming. She bore four children, a daughter dying in infancy, and became his able partner throughout most of his public life. She died February 17, 1956 of cancer. On April 4, 1959 Mr. Barrett married Augusta K. Hogan, friend of many years and widow of the late William E. Hogan, both formerly of Lusk.

Involved in many facets of the community life, Mr. Barrett along with T. A. Godfrey were force behind organizing the county fair in the early 20's when the grounds were established just east of Lusk. He was active in the Legion and in the Lions Club. In fact it was said that to get many a community promotion started people would Frank in on it. He was a lifelong member and faithful contributor to the Catholic Church, and was a member of Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of Elks, Moose and Eagles lodges.

In 1933 he became a partner with Frank Brooks in a sheep ranch near Manville and helped nurse that business through the depression into a strong enterprise. Through that venture he gained a sound knowledge of the industry and became one of its most able spokesmen in Congress. He was active in the oil industry development in Niobrara County.

He was always vitally interested in Highways and convinced of their importance to a community or state. In the founding days of the Highway 85 Association he was its president. When Governor he inspired legislation for a farm-to-market system of roads in Wyoming.

Surviving Mr. Barrett are his widow and three children, Dr. Frank A. Barrett, Jr., Cheyenne, Mrs. Richard Tobin, Casper and James Barrett of Lusk. There are 11 grandchildren. A brother, Jack, practices law in Omaha, and a sister, Linnian Barrett, lives in Cheyenne.

Because of his interest in his church and its projects, persons so desiring may give a Mass remembrance for the repose of his soul or a memorial to St. Joseph Orphanage of Torrington.

The Lusk Herald
June 7, 1962

Over 500 persons including many dignitaries from over the state as well as home folk from all walks of life crowded into the Niobrara High School Auditorium Saturday morning to pay final tribute to Frank A. Barrett, and heard the Most Rev. Hubert M. Newell, Catholic Bishop of Cheyenne pay high tribute to him.

Assisting Bishop Newell were Msgr. Thomas F. O'Reilly, Casper, and Rev. Leo B. Morgan, Torrinton. Celebrant was Rev. Cornelious O'Connor of Lusk; deacon Rev. Terrance McGovern, Douglas, subdeacon, Rev. Michael J. McBrien, Newcastle; master of ceremonies, Rev. Michael Butler, Torrington. Other priests present were Rev. Charles Brade, Gillette; Rev. Thomas Flannigan, Newcastle; Rev. Lawrence Etchingham, Casper; Rev. William Delaney, Cheyenne; Rev. Robert O'Neill, Harrison.

Bishop Newell's sermon follows:

"Blessed are they who die in the Lord. Let them rest from their labors for their works shall follow them," (Apoc. 14:13)

On this sad day, amidst the solemnity of an ancient liturgy, the Church joins the state of Wyoming in paying tribute to one of its most famous and devoted sons, Frank A. Barrett, a respected resident of this community for 43 years, and the recipient of the highest positions of trust and honor that a commonwealth can concede to a citizen. From every corner of the state and from every section of the nation, there have come expressions of the high esteem in which he was held, and the sentiments of deep personal loss that his passing has evoked, through the alchemy of faith, all of these tributes are transmuted into the prayer which we have taken as the text for these remarks. "Blessed are they who die in the Lord. Let them rest from their labors for their works shall follow them." And for the words of sympathy that have come in such number and such depth of feeling to his bereaved wife and family, we recall the beautiful incident that is related in the Gospel of this morning's Mass, in which the Lord Jesus, comforting Mary and Martha on the death of their beloved brother, Lazarus, uttered the prophetic words that have brought ease and hope to sorrowing hearts for 19 centuries. "I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in Me, even if he die, shall live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." (Jn 11:26)

It is not the mind or the wish of the Church to engage in idle or fulsome praise of the dead, because of them it can be said with great finality, their days of meriting are over; their record is completed. What is written of them in the Book of Life, is written, and nothing now can change it. Their lives and works, their intentions and their accomplishments, their successes and failures have been weighed in the scales of divine justice and judgement has already been passed upon them.

Yet, it is not for the benefit of him who is gone that I speak. His record needs no words from me to give it dignity or meaning, but I speak for the edification of the living, the consolation of his family, the inspiration of us all.

Born almost three score and ten years ago on a small farm in what is now part of the city of Omaha, Nebr., a farm puny in size for a man who was to spend his adult life in a state in which acreages are computed by the thousands and ten-of-thousands, Frank A Barrett was one of eight children of Patrick and Elizabeth (Cullen) Barrett. His father was born in Harper's Ferry, W. VA., but was reared in Ireland until his 10th year, when the family returned to America and settled in Pennsylvania. It was here that the father of Frank Barrett took his bride and made the decision to move westward to Nebraska to take up a homestead, rather than to attempt to rear a family in the bleak coal mining town of the Keystone state.

Both of the parents of Frank Barrett were school teachers, and it was from them that he inherited the desire for an education that would lead him to a professional career. Because his family was modestly circumstance, it was expected of him, as it was expected of so many youths of his time, that he make his own way through college, and this he did by working from three o'clock in the afternoon until midnight for the seven years it took him to gain the degrees of bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws from Creighton University.

Graduated in 1916, the plans of the young lawyer to set up a practice were rudely disrupted by the entry of the United States into World War I. For 17 months he served in the now-disbanded balloon corps of the Air Force.

Married in 1919 to his childhood sweetheart by Father Flanagan, the famed founder of Boys Town, Nebr., the Barretts moved to Lusk to rear a family and establish a law practice. It was in this community that he launched the legal career that was to prove a springboard to a lifetime of politics. Beginning as county attorney, he moved into the state legislature, then to the Congress of the United States. He returned to Wyoming as governor in 1950, and in 1953 began a six-year term in the United States Senate. In 1959, he was appointed general counsel for the Department of Agriculture by the president.

This would be a full life for any man, but to his joy was added a family of three children, and he was accorded the privilege of seeing each of the three become representative members of their professions, two in law, and one in medicine.

At the death of his wife, Alice, Frank Barrett was blessed in a second marriage, entered into just three years ago last April, with a cherished family friend, the widow of a beloved business associate of many, many years.

This in brief is the story of the man whose sudden death last Wednesday morning elicited so many expressions of sorrow in our state and in the nation. It seems appropriate to ask ourselves this morning what there was about this man that merited so many honors and offices from his fellow-citizens, and made him so highly regarded by his political foes as well as his many friends.

I would say that the first quality that gained him respect was his sincere love for his adopted state, his country and his fellow-citizens. In this sophisticated day, when many people are embarrassed at patriotism and have a disdain for politics, it is comforting to consider the example of a man who enjoyed politics, who viewed governmental service as a high privilege, and who devoted his many talents to these two interests, to the advantage of his state and his country.

Linked with his enthusiasm for public service, was a deep sense of personal integrity, manifesting itself in complete honesty in every office that he held. He was ever scrupulous to avoid using any position of public trust for his own personal gain.

He was a devoted husband and father, making of his home a sanctuary where love and devotion dwelt, and in which the wholesome qualities of Christian family life would be transmitted to their children.

Finally, the worth of the man is measured by his quiet, yet uncompromising fidelity to the practice of his faith and the fulfillment of his spiritual duties. The love for his religion, planted deeply in his soul on the little Nebraska farm never faltered through the years, but was enriched and strengthened by the knowledge and experience of mature adult life. It was this faith that shone through his life, that gave it depth and dimension, that made his word a pledge he could not think of breaking, that made him an upright, conscientious servant of those who entrusted him with public office.

This is but a brief summary of the life of Frank A. Barrett, upon which each of you could expand as a result of your own personal experiences with him. It is more detailed and more personal than the ordinary funeral oration, but it seems appropriate that it should be so because of the unusual qualities of heart and mind and soul that he possessed.
It is trite to say that these are troubled days for mankind. There are problems facing us that the Founding Fathers of this nation could not in their wildest imaginings have envisioned, but we can be confident that these problems will be met and solved as long as we have men of the intellectual and moral fiber of Frank Barrett, men who share his affection for their fellowmen and his love for their country.

I cannot allow this hour to pass without a word about the universality of death. The wise man remembers of old that it has been said, "It is appointed to men once to die, and after death, the judgment." (Heb. 9:27) Before the altars of our churches have lain the bodies of men, women and children, without number, who once knew and exulted in the possession of life. Today, they are gone. In due time, known only to God, we, too, shall take our places in the silent procession that moves unceasingly to the distant shores of eternity.

Standing as we are this morning in the presence of death affords us a singular opportunity to take stock of ourselves, to ask ourselves whether our lives are such as we would wish them to be at the moment of death. While precious time still remains, would it not be well for us to resolve to be the men and women of faith, of Christian principle that a loving God expects us to be.

Finally, I would not have you forget that one of the treasured privileges of our holy faith is that we can aid the souls of our departed friends and loved ones by our prayers, shortening their days of trial in Purgatory and hastening their possession of the joys of Heaven. Though we believe Mr. Barrett has led a good life, that his manifold works of faith will follow him, yet we are conscious that the judgment of man is not the judgment of God, and the test of our friendship will be the prayers we offer for him now and in the future.

While we prepare to consign the remains of our dear friend to his final resting place, and while we renew to his beloved wife and family our sincere and heartfelt sympathy, let us pray that his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed may rest in peace. Amen.

Images & Attachments

Frank A. Barrett

Frank Barrett portrait unveiled in ceremonies at the state capitol, January 15, 1965.
Wyoming's First Family Enjoy Thanksgiving - The family of Gov. and Mrs. Frank A. Barrett enjoyed Thanksgiving in the governor's mansion at Cheyenne. Standing, left to right are Dr. Francis A Barrett, Jr., their eldest son, and his son Jim; Miss Marialyce Barrett, and James Barrett. Seated, left Mrs. Francis Barrett holds Francis III, and their other sons, Michael and Larry, are seated with Governor and Mrs. Barrett. Mrs. James Barrett is at the right with their infant daughter, Ann Cathrine.
Barrett Family Thanksgiving 1955
Over 500 pay tribute to Frank A. Barrett
Cemetery Rites were conducted by Wieten-Dupes Post of the American Legion with help of the VFW Dept.of Wyo

Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Barrett, Alice (02/04/1897 - 02/17/1956) View Record
Obituary Barrett, Francis (06/29/1920 - 09/29/1998) View Record
Obituary Barrett, Harriett (07/21/1922 - 01/18/1992) View Record
Obituary Kellar, Katherine (11/30/-0001 - 01/07/1931) View Record
Obituary Barrett, Augusta (08/03/1906 - 01/16/1986) View Record
Obituary Donoghue, Catherine (11/30/-0001 - 10/08/1949) View Record
Obituary Barrett, Carmel (05/31/1923 - 01/04/2011) View Record
Obituary Barrett, James (04/08/1922 - 11/07/2011) View Record
Obituary Barrett, Patrick (11/30/1856 - 11/03/1939) View Record
Historical Veteran History by George Flint View Record
Historical Niobrara County History Series, Part 3 View Record
Historical Van Tassell Ghost Town Article Brings Memories View Record
Historical Amend Family: The Lost Springs Ranch View Record
Obituary Barrett, Ann (01/11/1951 - 06/26/2020) View Record
Historical Barrett Family History View Record
Obituary Barrett, Infant (09/19/1925 - 09/24/1925) View Record
Obituary Tobin, Marialyce (01/01/1924 - 08/28/2021) View Record