Harold Cogdill

1928 – 2016



Harold Cogdill, 87, of Ten Sleep, Wyoming and the Upper Nowood, saddled up an old bald faced horse and rode over the ridge for the final time on April 1, 2016. He was born on June 8, 1928 on a farm north of Worland, to Elsie May (Neely) and Charles Franklin Cogdill. He lived there the first six years of his life.


He moved to the ranch on the Nowood south of Ten Sleep when he was seven, and became a cowboy. The fields were cleared with horse drawn equipment, and the family raised all kinds of livestock while living on deer, elk and chickens, as beef was money.


They got electricity when he was ten; and running water to the place when Harold was twelve; and a telephone when he was thirty years old. Heat was from wood they cut, and coal from the mines near Thermopolis.


Not many people knew that Harold was dyslexic but that never stopped him. Excuses were irrelevant, the family being short on praise and long on getting things done. Harold passed this trait on to his children.


He was a superior horseman which made for some excellent stories near campfires while trailing cattle or hunting. He was a good mechanic and could fix anything once he figured out how it went back together. He became the family fixer as he liked tinkering with things.


He went to high school in Ten Sleep as his father drove the school bus. With World War II in progress, he dropped out after his sophomore year because he was needed to work at home because of his brothers being away in the army.


As he grew older, Harold got jobs cowboying and calving, and doing a little sheepherding and lambing for various neighbors, but his father would show up sooner or later to get him to come home as he was hardworking help and needed at home.


When he was twenty-eight, he was gathering cows from the badlands, and the horse he was riding stuck both front feet in a prairie dog hole and landed on him, breaking his ankle. The horse was uninjured so he worked the rest of the day, only figuring out there was a problem when they had to cut his boot off that night. The next day he made a trip to town to see a doctor, and there he met his future wife, Pat Ryan, who was the nurse in the doctor’s office. They were married for fifty-eight years.


He left the ranch in 1981 and took various jobs including working in construction, one job being building the Ten Sleep Library. After that, he worked for Williston Basin Interstate, an MDU subsidiary, for the next thirteen years until a knee injury at work caused his retirement.


In his retirement he worked for Black Hills Bentonite, and for rancher friends moving livestock. He spent his later days tinkering on various projects that neighbors would bring by his shop. Many times he could be found sitting in the shop with various relatives, friends, and neighbors swapping wild tales.


Harold loved to hunt and could be found traveling the badlands and mountains with his friends. He spent some time “immortalized” on Google Earth as a satellite picture of Ten Sleep showed him walking to the post office with Shade, his black dog, behind him.


He was preceded in death by his parents; by his brothers Orville, Louis, Donald, and Ronald Cogdill, and his sisters Elsie Bosch and Doris Breeden.


Harold is survived by his wife Patricia and their four sons Charlie (Traci), Byron (Kristi), Mike (Terri) and Sean (LaWanda), and by their families, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and by several nieces and nephews.


Cremation has taken place, and no services will be held at the present time, but there will be a celebration of his life later this summer.