Obituary Details

Roy Chamberlain

(06/04/1905 - 09/19/1979)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 09/27/1979

Roy Chamberlain dead at 74

by Gerald Bardo Associate Publisher

Lusk's Roy Chamberlain widely known in oil and business circles, former state senator from Niobrara County and former member of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees, died shortly before midnight last Wednesday at Niobrara County Memorial Hospital after a three-year battle with cancer.

He was 74.

Mr. Chamberlain served from 1943 to 1953 in the Wyoming Senate, the last year being elected interim president.

While in the Senate he probably became best known for his interest in and contributions to education. He was chairman of the senate education committee and for the four years of its existence was a member of the Wyoming Citizens Committee for Education which initiated the school district reorganization program and the school foundation program.

He was a Wyoming delegate to the first White House Conference on Education in 1955 and he was a sponsor of the legislative act establishing Casper College.

As a member of the legislative interim committee he chaired the subcommittee to study the hodgepodge of state retirement acts and was mainly responsible for the Wyoming retirement act which was to become a pattern for many other states.

Mr. Chamberlain was a member of the University Board of Trustees from 1953 to 1965. While serving in that capacity he also became a member of the board of directors of the National Governing Board of Land Grant colleges, and was elected to its several offices and finally honored as president.

As one of the founders of the University of Wyoming Foundation Program he continued his interest in the school and was recently honored for distinguished service to the foundation recognizing his large gift to establish the School of Private Enterprise in the College of Commerce and Industry.

At the time of his death Mr. Chamberlain was a member of the board of directors of Teton Insurance Co., Cheyenne, of which he was one of the founders. He was one of the organizers of the Ranger Oil Co., originally headquarted at Lusk and later moved to Canada as Ranger Oil Canada, Ltd., and through the years was member of its board of directors. He served 12 years on boards of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Wyoming.

Mr. Chamberlain was a longtime director of Lusk State Bank and still held a director's post at the time of his death.

Born June 4, 1905, at Brownville, Neb., Chamberlain was the son of Louis and Martha Winters Chamberlain, the youngest of nine children. He attended Brownville public schools through the tenth grade, finished high school at Peru Normal and graduated from Nebraska State College at Peru.

He taught school at Brownville for a year, then was a teacher and assistant coach at Wheatland, Wyo., for two years.

He started work for Ohio Oil Co. at Big Muddy Field, then was transferred to Lance Creek in 1930. In 1933 he and James Hoblit established the small C & H Refinery at Lusk.

Mr. Chamberlain and Gertrude Ord of Lusk were married on December 25, 1935 in Denver.

Earlier that year he had purchased the Ranger Hotel from Denver interests. It had been built in 1920 during the first oil boom, and though a fine structure, only 40 rooms had been completed.

The Chamberlains improved it until all four floors were completed with 120 rooms, and it was known as one of the finest hotels in Wyoming and gained national recognition. They sold the hotel in 1958 after an extensive modernizing project.

Mr. Chamberlain served the local community in several capacities. He was a member of the former District No. 1 school board and was its president. During those years he was instrumental in securing for the district the site on which the present Niobrara County High School is located. In 1949 when the county voted to become a single school district he was named by the first board as president.

As a member of the Congregational Church, Mr. Chamberlain served on its boards and in official capacities and headed up the committee on the church's extensive remodeling in 1954.

He was a longtime member and past president of the Lusk Lions Club, past master of the Masonic Lodge and a 32nd Degree Mason.

Besides his wife, survivors include a sister, Lena Ramel of Lincoln, Neb. and a brother, John Chamberlain of Casper. One sister and six brothers preceded him in death.

The Lusk Congregational Church was filled to capacity Sunday afternoon with those paying final tribute at a memorial service officiated by the Rev. Frank Blish.

Music was by Mrs. Gerald Bardo, organist, Mrs. Frank Kaltenheuser, vocal soloist, and a quartet composed of her, Ruth Thomas, James Willson and Gerald Bardo. Two hymns were sung by the congregation.

Arrangements were under the direction of Peet Mortuary and burial was at Lusk Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Richard T. Barnette, James Thompson, Dale Fullerton, Paul Percival, Robert Pfister and Dale Redding. Honorary bearers were Clifford P. Hansen, James E. Barrett, Fred B. Willson, James Ryan, Gerald Bardo, Andrew McMaster, C. E. Hollon, James B. Griffith, Dr. Francis Barrett, Howard Flitner, T. W. Anderson, Lee Johnsonbaugh, Gene Lenz, Harold Newton, Robert Templeton and Joe Watt.

Images & Attachments

Roy Chamberlain

Gravestone photos courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project

Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
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