Cover photo for Billy Ogden "Cowboy" Wadsworth's Obituary
1927 Cowboy 2024

Billy Ogden "Cowboy" Wadsworth

October 31, 1927 — May 30, 2024



Billy Ogden “Cowboy” Wadsworth, resident of Encampment, Wyoming, passed away on May 30, 2024, at the age of 96.

 Bill Wadsworth was a proud American, a devoted Christian, and a colorful, charismatic person. Born on October 31st, 1927, in Jefferson, Iowa, he was the second child of Grace Ogden and Lee Wadsworth, and brother to Beryl Dilsaver and Wilma Halterman. He built a long, interesting life on his own terms, and as he lived deeper into his nickname “Cowboy,” he became a bit of an icon to many.

 Bill was an award-winning and popular high school student, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in mid-1945, at 17 years old. Called into active duty in October 1945 at the war’s end, he served domestic appointments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois as an aviation cadet, then a communications specialist. He received training at Swarthmore College, Upper Iowa University, and Iowa state, and later finished Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Denver (M.A.s in Psychology and Education). Along the way, he was married twice.

 Over the course of his nine and a half decades—and until his final day—Bill enjoyed working. His various occupations included farming, house-painting, ranching, middle-school teaching, carpentry, contracting, running a popular bar and restaurant in the High Sierra, real estate development, and various sorts of public service. His work took him to places like Montana, California, Hawaii, and the Marshall Islands. He was known and loved at the Talladega Superspeedway for his help with vehicle camping and ticketing for many years. As an interpretive guide at the Grand Encampment Museum and a host at the Carbon County Visitor Center, he met and stayed in touch with people from all over the world. Well into his nineties, he showed up to help neighbors and establishments with shoveling snow, greeting, and keeping a watch on business about town.

 As much as he worked hard, he played hard too. As a younger adult he was an avid ballroom dancer, competing in recreational contests all over the country. He had a passion for classic cars, especially Lincolns, and was proud to have driven many of them several hundred thousand miles. Later, living in Mammoth Lakes, California, he became a superb skier and skied with early ski pioneers like documentarian Warren Miller before he became famous. He traveled widely during midlife, developing special relationships with the cultures of Norway, the United Kingdom, and Israel. He was an avid rodeo fan and loyally attended Cheyenne Frontier Days for nearly 50 years running. He loved old school country music and had a chance to meet many of his heroes, like Charlie Pride and Chet Atkins. In his beloved Encampment/Riverside community, he enjoyed his coffee clutch at the 307, sewing club, Bible study, choir, meals at the Senior Center, and Mariner’s meetings. He was a stranger to no one and a friend to many.

 He will be missed and held in fond memory by daughter Nancy Dawn Wadsworth, son Billy O. Wadsworth II, Daughters-in-law Anne Pogoriler and Mary Wadsworth, grandchildren Reilly and Chloe Wadsworth, the citizens of Encampment, Riverside, and Saratoga, and friends far and wide.

To order memorial trees in memory of Billy Ogden "Cowboy" Wadsworth, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service & Military Funeral Honors

Friday, July 19, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

Encampment Cemetery

, Encampment, WY 82325

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Memorial Service with Stories and Singing (per Cowboy's wishes)

Friday, July 19, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Friday, July 19, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Mountain time)

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