Jon Clement Nicolaysen
October 23, 1946 - September 5, 2023
Jon was born in Casper, Wyoming to Mary Hester (Lathrop) and Gerald Gifford (“Gerry”) Nicolaysen. He was the descendant of four pioneer families of Casper: the Nicolaysens, the Evans, the Lathrops and the Governor Bryant Butler Brooks families.
Jon grew up on the family ranch northeast of Casper that was homesteaded by his grandparents P.C. Nicolaysen and Clementina Sara Evans. Jon loved the outdoors and spent much of his youth outside at the encouragement of his mother. With his brother G.G. and sister Karen by his side, he explored many of Wyoming’s wildest and most scenic locations. Growing up on the ranch, Jon learned the value of hard work and doing whatever it takes to get the job done - traits that he carried with him and utilized throughout his life.
Jon attended The Choate School in Connecticut and then The Colorado College where Jon was an outstanding college athlete, lettering in soccer, lacrosse, and hockey, and where Jon met best friends for life. After graduation in 1968, Jon and his first wife, Priscilla Pelton, moved to Laramie, Wyoming where their first child, Kirsten, was born. Jon joined the U.S. Army Reserve and earned an MBA at the University of Wyoming. After returning to Casper to manage the family ranch their two sons, Peter and Jon II (Kem), were born.
In September of 1989, Jon married the love of his life Mary L. Burgess Wyatt and gained his beautiful step-daughter, Tracey Ross. Mary brought out the laughter in Jon and the two spent over three decades seizing life and sharing their generous spirits. Holidays with Jon and Mary were epic (Halloween was their favorite) and they loved decorating their home. It was a gathering place and there was always plenty of food, an extra chair at their table, and a deck of cards waiting to be shuffled. Jon and Mary brought out the best in each other and their love and combined sense of humor blessed everyone around them.
In Casper, Jon and Mary devoted their lives to the family ranch, Cole Creek Sheep Company, and under Jon’s leadership the ranch doubled in size and significantly diversified its operations. In his decades on the ranch, Jon learned to fix almost anything and had a vision and foresight that made the operation the success it is today. He embodied a “get the job done” ethic, but loved to have fun with his family and everyone he worked with. From wild softball games at the end of each docking, ATV rides with multiple grandchildren clinging to him, to stories that can’t be repeated, he knew how to have a good time. He taught and gave so much to his family and those he worked with on the ranch.
The ranch was not, however, Jon’s only vocation. He recognized early on that the economics of agriculture in the 1980’s required diversification. As the U.S. lamb and wool markets shrank amid globalization, he became licensed both as a real estate agent and a big game outfitter. He also began working in the energy industry in the 1980’s and over the years, Jon managed, operated and invested in oil properties in central Wyoming. His depth of knowledge of the land and understanding of the landowner’s perspective assisted him in the oil business and throughout his many business endeavors.
Jon’s love for Wyoming and his dedication to his community was evident in his leadership positions and volunteer work, including being past President of the Board of Directors of the Casper Y.M.C.A. and the Nicolaysen Art Museum. Jon was part of the team that helped organize the NIC’s transformation and move into the beautiful downtown building from which it operates today. Jon was a member of Wyoming Stockgrowers Association and Wyoming Woolgrowers Association and served on the Natrona County Predator Board. He was a member of the inaugural class of the Wyoming Leadership, Education and Development (L.E.A.D) program and a Fellow of the Atlantic-Pacific Businessman’s Exchange, traveling to Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Jon was a Master Mason of Casper Lodge 15. He was an active member of the Republican Party and sat with President Ronald Reagan during Reagan’s reelection campaign in Casper. Although he considered a career in politics, he preferred a quieter life in Wyoming with his family and ranch, and serving his local community.
He was an avid outdoorsman, and the pack trips with Kirsten, Peter and Kem when they were young will never be forgotten. Bird hunting was a favorite pastime as it meant an opportunity to be with friends, family, and his beloved Welsh Springer Spaniels.
Jon was a passionate traveler who enjoyed connecting with extended family in Denmark. He and Mary traveled the world, but he always remarked at the end of any journey, that home looked best. Jon and Mary traveled to Alaska many times and were fortunate to have one final trip there with family before he was diagnosed with cancer.
Mary was Jon’s constant companion and caregiver while he fought a brutal battle with cancer this last year in Houston. Jon’s wish to come home, to the place he loved the most, was granted and he passed away in Casper just a few days shy of his 34th anniversary with Mary.
Jon treasured his life-long friends who included co-workers, college and hunting buddies, and cousins. He was loyal, generous, and kind to those close to him.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Nicolaysen of Casper; children Kirsten Parker Nicolaysen (Tim Parker) of Walla Walla, Washington, Peter Nicolaysen (Pam Brondos) and Jon C. (Kem) Nicolaysen, II (Shelly Nicolaysen) all of Casper; step-grandson Alex Ross; grandchildren Maren, Emma and Lucas Nicolaysen, Brooks and Tobias Parker, and Gwen, Jane and Soren Nicolaysen; sister Karen Overton (Sid), sister-in-law Adrienne Bonnet, brother-in-law and sister-in-law David and Kathy Bowers; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Michael and Sondra McCoy; and nephews and nieces that he loved dearly.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Gerry and Mary Hester, his brother, G.G., and his step-daughter, Tracey Ross.
He was a force of life and will be so missed.
Services will be held in Casper at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 701 S. Wolcott, on September 23rd at 2:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church or the Nicolaysen Art Museum.