From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 44 - January 29, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online


Edna McWilliams
Corrections made 1/30/04

Edna May Wardell McWilliams passed away Monday, Jan. 19 at the home of her great-granddaughter in Farson. Interment was Jan. 24 in the Plainview Cemetery in Big Piney.

Edna was born March 30, 1916 in Big Piney to John H. and Mattie Wardell. She married Ira McWilliams on Sept. 10, 1932 in Randolph, Utah. To this union were born three children.

Edna spent most of her life working horseback alongside her husband. Her favorite place in the world was Snider Basin, located in the mountains west of Big Piney. In the spring of 1949 they went to work for the LaBarge Roundup Association where Edna pulled double duty by working both as a rider and the cook. Anyone who ever ate her cooking, on and off the roundup, would probably agree that she was the best cook in the world, especially her biscuits. In 1978 Edna and Ira moved to Etna.

Edna is survived by her brother John Wardell, sisters Madge McWilliams and Mike Shannon; her children Gene McWilliams of Dillon, Mont. and Della May Skinner of Thayne; daughter-in-law Virginia McWilliams of Farson; grandchildren Rocky McWilliams of Riverton, Roxy Bird of Thayne, Sheri Griffin of Farson, Shawn McWilliams of Hamilton Dome, Iris Jasperson of Thayne, Dusty Skinner of Afton, Denny Skinner of Phoenix, Ariz., Shane McWilliams of Farson, Tawny McWilliams of Hill City, South Dakota, and Tom McWilliams of Dillon, Mont; 18 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents John and Mattie Wardell, husband Ira, son Ike; She was preceeded in death by a sister, Ida, and a brother Hugh Wardell.

Richard L. Thomson

Richard Leiper (Dick) Thomson was born March 27, 1924 to William Leiper (Lee) Thomson and Cora Holt Thomson in Rock Springs. He was brought home to the family homestead on the upper Green River near Kendall.

The family lived there until 1925, when they sold the homestead and moved down to the New Fork Valley near Forty Rod and the town of Cora. Dick spent his entire life in the Cora area. He attended the Thomson/Alexander School and graduated from the Pinedale High School in 1943.

From 1945 to 1947 Dick served in the Armed Forces. Most of his Army career was spent at Camp Carson, near Colorado Springs, Colo., as a member of the 38th Infantry and as part of the 10th Mountain Division. He received special mountain training in the rugged areas west of what is now the Air Force Academy and excelled in boxing, becoming champion of his division. He was also elected runner up to the title of Mr. Universe by his peers throughout the Western Division, a title he kept hidden all of his life. In 1947, he was offered an inside office position to serve as a Sergeant in Germany, which he refused. Instead he chose to take a six-month re-enlistment in active duty. During his enlistment at Camp Carson, he and his high school sweetheart, Mary Ellen Todd, were married on November 13, 1946. After his discharge in August 1947, they returned to the family ranch in Cora.

At that time Dick and his father Lee purchased a small heard of Buffalo from the Yellowstone Park herd and a herd near Moeese Mont. These loveable shaggy animals made Cora their home for the next 25 years, building to a herd of 90 head. Dick said, "You learn many hard lessons about raising buffalo in 25 years."

Dick took over his father's hunting and outfitting business in 1954, which he and his family operated and continue to at this time. In November of 1962, Dick and friends Keith Anderson, Walt Lozier and Jeff Wilson founded what is now the Sublette County Outfitters Association. Over the last 50 years, Dick bought and sold hundreds of saddle horses and work teams to friends throughout the county and western Wyoming. About this he said, "I didn't make a lot of money from it, but I sure did meet a lot of good people." The Thompson Lakes, which drain into the Upper New Fork drainage near Palmer Canyon, were named afterhis father and the Thomson pioneer spirit. The misspelling from Thomson to Thompson was made accidentally while editing in the mapping division. Of this, Dick said, "there ain't no 'p' in Thomson, can you hear one? Hah, hah, I guess you can't hear no 'H' either?"

Dick was preceded in death by his parents Lee and Cora, one brother Ray and one sister, Joyce Mary MacDonald, both of Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, "mother" Mary, their daughter Loraine "Lory" Gransden (Paul) and Christy Adell O'Connor (Rich). Dick's four grandsons are Richard Todd Stevie (Beverly), Michael Thomas Stevie (Jonnie), Shane T. Thomson (Charlee) and Billy Buck Gransden (Coleen). Dick's great grandchildren are Rochelle Rae, Ryanne Riata and Chance Michael Steve, (Mike and Jonnie) and a baby due in July for Shane and Charlee. Dick is also survived by his sister Jeannie Thomson Isaacs (Gene) of Las Vegas, Nev., four nieces, two nephews and numerous young men and women who all affectionately referred to Dick as "Granddad."

Dick was a man who regularly assisted his friends before he considered himself. He was firm believer 'that all a good man needed in life was a skillet and a little grease to survive." Of late he said, "I'm not leaving, I'm just going next door." Mary, his love of 57 years, says "It was his kindness, consideration, love and respect for others coupled with years of hard work and patience that has held our family and friends together through all the good times and the bad. We are proud of our heritage and appreciate the privilege of being a Sublette County ranch family all of our lives."

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