Issue: October, 2005
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Stanley K. Hathaway - Wyoming’s Leader, Lawyer and Friend
Wyoming attorneys lost a colleague, mentor and friend on October 4th when former Governor and Interior Secretary Stanley Knapp Hathaway died in Cheyenne following a lengthy illness. Hathaway was 81 years old.
Hathaway was a member of the Wyoming Bar for 55 years, practicing law in Torrington from 1950 until 1966, and in Cheyenne beginning in 1975. He was the founder of Hathaway & Kunz, P.C., and remained of counsel to the firm until his death.
Hathaway was born on July 19, 1924, in Osceola, Nebraska. He was the fifth of six children born to Robert and Lily Knapp. His mother died when he was two years old. He was adopted by his first cousin, Velma Hathaway, and her husband Earl. The Hathaways homesteaded near Huntley, Wyoming. He was raised on the farm near Huntley and received his primary education in the one-room country schools at Table Mountain and New Fairview, Wyoming. He was valedictorian of his graduating class from Huntley High School in 1941.
Hathaway attended the University of Wyoming for a year before enlisting in the Army Air Corps. He trained as a radio operator and gunner. He was assigned to the Eighth Air Force’s 401st Bomb Group, flying B-17 bombers from England. He participated in 35 combat missions over France and Germany. In the fall of 1944 his crew was on a mission to Frankfurt, Germany, when their plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire. They lost three engines before crash-landing in a field in France. The crew was rescued by the French Resistance.
Hathaway was the recipient of the French Croix de Guerre, U.S. Presidential Unit Citations, and five Air Medals.
After his discharge from the Air Corps, Hathaway continued his undergraduate education at the University of Nebraska, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He graduated in 1948, and was accepted into the University of Nebraska law school. He met Roberta “Bobby” Harley at the University, and they married on November 25, 1948.
Following his graduation from law school in 1950, the Hathaways moved to Torrington, Wyoming. Bobby Hathaway taught science and chemistry at the Huntley High School and Torrington Junior High while Hathaway established his law practice. Mr. and Mrs. Hathaway had two daughters, Susan and Sandra.
Hathaway was elected Goshen County Attorney in 1954 and served until 1962. He continued his private practice with his partner, Bob Sigler.
Hathaway had a lifelong interest in Republican politics. He was elected Chairman of the Goshen County Republican Party and Secretary of the Republican State Central Committee in 1962. In 1963 he was elected Chairman of the Republican State Central Committee and served for two years on the Republican National Committee. In 1966 he was elected Governor of Wyoming. He was re-elected Governor in 1970. He declined to run for a third term. Hathaway always described himself as a “citizen politician,” likening himself to those who respond to a call to public service and then return to private life.
His tenure as Governor was marked by reorganization of State government and passage of environmental laws – the enactment of air and water quality standards, surface mining regulations, and the creation of the Department of Environmental Quality. Wyoming’s economy was in the doldrums when he was elected Governor, but Hathaway set in motion a number of initiatives which turned the economy around and saw it booming by the time he left office.
He will be best remembered, however, as the Governor whose administration enacted Wyoming’s first mineral severance tax in 1969, and a constitutional amendment creating the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund during his last year in office.
The Permanent Mineral Trust Fund required the legislature to impose a 1½% tax on the extraction of minerals, the proceeds of which were deposited in the Trust Fund. The principal of the Trust Fund can never be spent. The Trust Fund balance is now more than $2.25 billion. The income from the Trust goes into the State’s general fund to pay for State operations.
While Governor, Hathaway served as Chairman of the Interstate Oil Compact Commission, Chairman of the Western Governor’s Conference, the National Governor’s Conference Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and the Federation of Rocky Mountain States.
After retiring from the Governor’s office in 1975, Hathaway was nominated and served under President Gerald Ford as Secretary of the Interior. He was Wyoming’s first cabinet officer. During his brief tenure he was responsible for moving the federal coal leasing program forward. More coal leases became available in Wyoming, and its coal industry became the nation’s largest. Health issues resulted in his resignation from the Interior Department, and he and Mrs. Hathaway returned to Wyoming.
In 1975 Hathaway established the law firm of Hathaway, Speight and Kunz in Cheyenne. He served on the Board of Directors of PacifiCorp, Nerco, Inc., First Wyoming Bank, and Apache Corporation. He was an Emeritus Member of the Ruckelshaus Institute Board. At the time of his death he was of counsel to the firm of Hathaway and Kunz, P.C.
In recognition of Hathaway’s contributions to higher education, the 2005 Wyoming Legislature authorized $400 million for the Hathaway Student Scholarship Endowment Account. Qualified Wyoming high school graduates will receive a scholarship equal to tuition and fees at the University of Wyoming or any state community college.
Hathaway was preceded in death by his wife, Bobby, on April 5, 2004. They were married for 57 years. He is survived by his daughters Susan Garrett and Sandra D’Amico; their husbands, Glen Garrett and Chris D’Amico; and by his grandchildren, Meg and Bethany Garrett and Andrew and Christine D’Amico.
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