Charles L. “Chuck” Townsend – 1943-2011

Senator Charles L. “Chuck” Townsend, 68, of Osage, Wyoming, died Wednesday, December 28, 2011, at Weston County Health Services.

He was born August 29, 1943, in Newcastle, Wyoming, to William D. and Katherine Townsend, and spent the vast majority of his life in Weston County, graduating in 1961 from Upton High School, where he played football and basketball.

Following high school, Chuck attended Black Hills State College, earning a degree in Business Administration in 1965.

On July 11, 1965, he married Pat Simmons, and she accompanied him when he went to Minnesota and North Dakota to work for Standard Oil of Indiana. They missed Wyoming dearly, however, and moved back to Weston County in 1968.

Chuck was the chairman and CEO of Townsend Co. Inc., a family owned corporation involved in ranching and oil production in northeast Wyoming, and he spent most of his adult life working in the oilfields around Osage and Oil City, where he and Pat lived and raised their children. He was a member of the Lion’s Club and the First United Methodist Church in Newcastle.

Chuck raced cars in his younger years, and loved to ride motorcycles throughout his life. He also enjoyed using Macintosh computers and experimenting with modern technology, but he was always happiest when he was out in the oil field, repairing equipment, monitoring wells and locations or just spending time with the people who worked with him in the “patch.”

“His hobby was the oil field. It was more than his business — it was his passion.” Pat said.

Chuck had a distinguished career as a public servant, and served on the Weston County School District #1 Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1989, where he became vice-chairman. He was on the board of directors of Powder River Energy Association, eventually holding the position of board president. He also served on the steering committee of the Wyoming Business Alliance and was vice-chair of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.

In November of 2003, Chuck was appointed to the Wyoming State Senate, serving Weston, Crook and Niobrara counties, as well as small portions of Converse and Goshen. He completed the final two years of the unexpired term of Sen. Bill Barton beginning in 2004, and won election to the office in 2006, serving until his term ended in 2010.

While in the Senate, Chuck served on the Senate Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Committee, the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee, the Education Committee and Appropriations Committee. He also served on the Clean Coal Research Task Force, Council of State Governments Energy and Environment Committee, the Enhanced and Improved Oil Recovery Commission, the Select Natural Resource Funding Committee, the Select Water Committee and the University of Wyoming Energy Resource Council.

Following his retirement from the Wyoming Senate, Chuck and Pat took great joy in spending time with their family, and particularly looked forward to those special times when their grandchildren would visit.

Survivors include his wife, Pat, Osage; son, Collin (Susan) and their daughter, Nichole, of Salt Lake City, Utah; daughters, Colleen (Kurt) Aungst and their children, Ryleigh, Payton and Brady, of Princeton, Texas, and Kara (Tony) Lenardson of Newcastle; two brothers, Mark, Osage, and Butch, Newcastle; and one sister, June Brown of Rapid City, S.D.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Kay Linton.

Services were at the First United Methodist Church in Newcastle at 1 p.m. on Monday, January 2, 2012.

The family suggests that memorials be sent to the Osage Fire and Ambulance Service or to a charity of choice in Chuck’s name.