Obituary Details

Thomas Matthew Fagan

(03/26/1882 - 11/03/1931)
Courtesy of Lusk Free Lance, 11/05/1931

Thos. M. Fagan Succumbs

Prominent Local Attorney Passes Away at Family Home After Illness of Many Years; Funeral Services to Be Held Friday.

Out of respect to the memory of our fellow townsman, Thomas M. Fagan, whose funeral will be held on Friday, November 6, 1931 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the business places of Lusk are respectfully asked to close on that day from two until three o'clock p.m.
John F. Harking

The life of Thomas M. Fagan, philanthropist and philosopher, one of the state's most prominent and highly respected citizens and one of the most brilliant lawyers in the West, came to an end at 4:15 o'clock, Tuesday afternoon, November 3, 1931. Mr. Fagan was a sufferer from silicosis, an ailment contracted a number of years ago when he was a worker in the mines of Nevada. His failing had been gradual until just a few weeks ago, when he was forced into confinement at his home, and since which time he steadily grew weaker until death came to relieve his sufferings.

His passing causes a feeling of sadness in the hearts of all his acquaintances, every one of whom cherished the friendship that began with the first meeting. Mr. Fagan's was a life devoted to the good of others, and it was because of the many trials and tribulations, and illness he had endured, that he so willingly became a man's best friend.

His brilliance as a lawyer in this city was never doubted by the best of the profession who matched wits with him, and as such his services were always in demand. His success as an attorney can be judged by the cases he won for his clients, and these were many, all records show.

Funeral services will be held from the family residence on Main Street Friday afternoon, November 6th, at 2 o'clock. Although definite plans are not yet completed, it is believed Rev. Harry H. Koontz, former pastor of the Congregational church of this city, and a long-time friend of Mr. Fagan, will deliver the funeral sermon. The Odd Fellow order will probably have charge of services at the grave. Funeral arrangements are in charge of the Midwest Mortuary.

Mr. Fagan is survived by his widow and five children, two daughters, Margaret and Jane, and three sons, David, Thomas and James Wells. One child, the first born of this union, died in infancy.

Mr. Fagan's life was a varied one - filled with experiences very few are able to claim. He was next to the youngest of a family of thirteen children, and is the second of the group to pass on. He was born of Mr. and Mrs. John Fagan at Montrose, Iowa, March 26, 1882. His father died while Mr. Fagan was but a small child, and when but three years old, he moved with his mother and family to South Dakota. Shortly after that change in residence his mother passed away and he then went to live with his grandmother at Burlington, Ia. When he was 12 years old, his grandmother died and from that time on Mr. Fagan was thrown upon his own resources. Eager to secure an education he moved to DeSmet, S. Dak., and went through school, graduating from the DeSmet high school in 1899.

Following his graduation his interest became centered in ore mining and he entered that work. In the capacity of a miner, he kept up his studies and soon became a graduate mining engineer. He went through all of the important mining booms of Nevada, and while in that state became president of the of the Nevada Miners' Union, which office he served most faithfully.

His experience of the dangers of mining labor prompted him to attend the initial "Safety First" convention of the nation, held at Reno, Nev., and there gave the inspiring address that was largely responsible for the safety measures in force today.

On June 24, 1915, he married Miss Josephine Eleanor Warner, the ceremony climaxing a courtship which began in one of the miners' hospitals at Reno, where Miss Warner was matron.

For a number of years preceding his marriage, Mr. Fagan studied law and in 1916, took the state bar examination and was admitted to practice. This profession proved to be his calling and he soon abandoned active mining endeavors.

In 1918 he moved with his family to this city, opening a law office which he maintained up until his death. Here his interests were many and the upbuilding and growth of the community was a part of his daily life.

He entered politics and became one of the leaders of the Democratic Party, attending the Democratic National Convention at New York City. He was elected state legislator in 1924, serving in the session of 1925. In 1926 he planned a wider field - that of holding a seat in Congress representing this state, but was defeated. This strenuous campaign, combined with the ailment contracted in the mines, tended largely to weaken him and bring about his poor health.

In 1928 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Houston, Tex. Since that time he became less active in politics and devoted his time almost entirely to his profession.

As a civic worker, he carried a constant burden on his shoulder. He served as a member of the Niobrara County Fair Board for a number of years and was president of the board at the time of his death. He was president of the First Harvest Festival held here in 1918. He was a most valuable person in the promotion of public welfare and served upon many occasions in this capacity.

During the World War, Mr. Fagan served on the draft board at Casper, and his speaking knowledge of six different languages made him a valuable asset to the government.

Mr. Fagan was a member of the American Bar Association, the highest ranking organization in the profession of law, the Wyoming Bar Association and also the Niobrara County Bar Association. He was also a member of Custer Lodge No. 21, I.O.O.F. of this city, and was regarded as one of the leading members of the local order.

As to his spiritual attitude, we had no fear of death or what comes after. He lived his life believing in "Live and let live."

For such a man as Mr. Fagan was, there surely must be a reward on the Other Side.

The Free Lance, joining the large host of friends, extends heartfelt condolences to the bereaved in this hour of sorrow.

Lusk Free Lance
November 12, 1931
Thomas M. Fagan

Final Rites for Thos. M. Fagan Are Held Tuesday

Funeral services for the late Thos. M. Fagan, prominent attorney, civic worker, philanthropist and philosopher of this city, who passed away at his home here Tuesday, November 3rd, were held from the family residence last Friday afternoon, Rev. Edwin F. Irwin, pastor of the Congregational church, and Rev. Harry H. Koontz, former pastor here, jointly officiating. Rev. Koontz was a warm personal friend of the deceased, who, before death, requested that a portion of the services be under his officiation.

The high esteem in which Mr. Fagan was held in this community was proved by the immense host of friends who came to pay final respects to the man whose friendship and ideals they cherished so greatly. The large house was filled, the large veranda and the yard were likewise crowded with those who had in the years gone by acquired the friendship of the deceased. Odd Fellows were here assembled in a group.

A mixed quartet, composed of Mrs. Robt. Taylor, Mrs. H. J. Templeton, C. C. Browning and Alger Johnson, rendered two songs at the services in the home, at the conclusion of which the remains were borne, in a lengthy procession, to the Lusk cemetery, where they were placed at rest in a metal vault. A brief ceremony at the grave was performed by Custer Lodge No. 21, I.O.O.F. of which Mr. Fagan had been a member for many years. Pall bearers were: J. M. Bishop, E. M. Arnold, Lewis Larson, George L. Miller, Alfred Johnson, and Michael Cordell. Members of the Niobrara County Bar Association, Judge C. O. Brown of the sixth judicial district, of Douglas, and Alger Johnson, representing the city, acted as honorary pallbearers.

Funeral arrangements were under direction of the Midwest Mortuary.

Mr. Fagan's life in this city, which covered the past years, was one devoted as much to community welfare and growth as it was to his own profession of law. He was an outstanding figure politically and was elected representative in the state legislature in 1924, serving during the 1925 session. He was one of the leading democrats of the county and guided that party's destinies for a number of years. He became attorney for the Town of Lusk and served in that capacity for many years. In the session of district court, he pleaded many cases, matching his ability and knowledge with the best lawyers of the West. The results of his efforts were seldom but gratifying to his clients.

During the past few recent years, Mr. Fagan was president of the Niobrara County Fair Board, and in this position, served in a most commendable manner. He was precise, methodical and judicious in all his undertakings, and his success is attributed to these traits, combined to his ever pleasant and friendly manner.

The community has lost a valuable citizen in the passing of Mr. Fagan and all join in extending sincerest sympathy to the bereaved family.

<>Lusk Free Lance
November 19, 1931

In Honor of the Late Thomas M. Fagan


WHEREAS, Divine Providence has seen fit to close the earthly career of Thomas M. Fagan, member of the Bar of the State of Wyoming, and a member of this Association, and

WHEREAS, the life of Mr. Fagan was of spotless rectitude and honor and of love and charity toward all mankind, particularly the poor and oppressed, and

WHEREAS, in the various public offices which he has filled, both State, County and City, he displayed such qualities of leadership and statesmanship as have written his name imperishable in the annals of Wyoming, as a true builder, and

WHEREAS, this community and the State of Wyoming at large have suffered an irreparable loss in the death of this sterling man, lawyer and citizen;

BE IT RESOLVED, by the NIOBRARA COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION that the fullest sympathy of this bar for the death of Thomas M. Fagan be extended to his bereaved family, and to the citizens of Lusk and Niobrara County, where for many years he has made his home

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be forwarded to the family of the deceased, to the Secretary of the Wyoming Bar Association, to the papers of Niobrara County, and that a copy hereof be presented to the Honorable District Court in and for Niobrara County, to be spread upon the records of the said Court, as a perpetual memorial of the love and esteem borne toward the late Thomas M. Fagan and of its sad sense of loss in his demise.

Dated at Lusk, Wyoming, November 12, 1931.



WHEREAS, Almighty God has seen fit to close the earthly career of our President, Thomas M. Fagan, and,

WHEREAS, Mr. Fagan has given unstintingly of his time, energy, and ability to the betterment and enlargement of Niobrara County Fair, and,

WHEREAS, Mr. Fagan, by his leadership and forethought, has ever worked toward a permanent and lasting organization of the Niobrara County Fair, and,

WHEREAS, The County of Niobrara and the Niobrara County Fair Association has lost one of its most valuable citizens and members,

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Niobrara County Fair Association that the sympathy of this board, in the death of Thomas M. Fagan, be extended to the bereaved family; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this Resolution be forwarded to the family of the deceased and to the papers of this County for publication, and the Secretary is hereby instructed to spread a copy upon the minutes of the meeting of the Niobrara County Fair Association as a permanent memorial of the esteem in which Mr. Fagan was held.

Dated at Lusk, Wyoming, this 13th day of November, 1931.


Images & Attachments


Photo courtesy of Joshua Brackett's Eagle Scout Project

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Fagan, James (07/13/1926 - 02/12/2003) View Record
Obituary Fagan, Madeline (04/29/1922 - 09/25/2002) View Record
Obituary Fagan, Thomas (09/03/1918 - 12/11/1999) View Record
Obituary Chester, Jane (06/02/1921 - 04/05/2000) View Record
Obituary Honeycutt, Margaret (04/09/1917 - 02/23/1974) View Record
Obituary Fagan, Josephine (03/31/1880 - 04/09/1945) View Record
Obituary Chester, Robert (12/24/1919 - 10/10/2009) View Record
Obituary Fagan, David (03/09/1917 - 01/10/1941) View Record
Obituary Chester, James (05/25/1944 - 07/30/2010) View Record