Patricia Jo Nagel
Patricia Jo (Pat) Nagel died on January 30, 2021, of complications following a fall. She was 78.
A woman of compassion, creativity, and community, Pat's life was a testament to her love of
family and public service. Born in Montana on September 24, 1942, not long before her father
Robert left for service in WWII, Pat and her mother Evelyn lived in Carmel, California, and then
Tacoma, Washington, where her mother worked in the naval shipyard. The family settled in
Casper in the late 1940s. She graduated from Natrona County High School and then attended the
University of Wyoming. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert (Bob) Nagel, in 1963.
During his service in the military, they lived in Maryland and New Mexico, where she graduated
from New Mexico State University in 1965, with honors in political science.
Following her graduation, Bob's job took the couple to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In a sign of the
times, she was told that the only job she was qualified for was as a meter maid. Not one to let
barriers stand in her way, Pat harnessed her artistic and creative talents and became an interior
designer, a vocation as well as a lifelong love. After daughter Stacia was born, Pat's passion for
educating children was ignited, and, together with Bob and like-minded parents, she founded
Cedar Valley Montessori School. With little Stacia in tow, the family moved back to Casper in
1973, when Bob joined his father at Nagel Motors, and daughter Susanna was born.
Pat brought her vision of Montessori education to Casper, and in 1974 helped found Meadowlark
Montessori School, the first Montessori school in Casper. That school is still in operation today
as the Montessori School of Casper, where Pat proudly attended the graduations of her six
grandchildren. She was immersed in community activities in Casper, including the Casper
Service League and PEO, the Symphony Home Tour, and the Garden Walk. Ever interested in
youth and education, Pat chaired the board of Mercer House, a youth service agency, served on
the United Way Allocation and Admissions Committee, and was appointed as President of the
Standards Board of Natrona County Academy, a rigorous college preparatory program. She was
also a charter member of the Business Advisory Council, a private business group that developed
initiatives to reform local public education.
In 1980, she enrolled at the University of Wyoming College of Law, commuting between Casper
and Laramie. She was a senior editor of the Land and Water Law Review and graduated with a
J.D. in 1983. Following graduation, she returned to Casper, clerked for Judge Robert Forrister,
and was briefly in private practice. Pat then became Co-Director of the Wyoming Futures
Project, along with Linda Nix, and they later formed Nagel and Nix, a consulting firm
specializing in small business and non-profit organizations.
Pat put her political science degree to good use when she was elected in 1992 to the Wyoming
State House of Representatives. She was reelected four times and retired in 2002. During her
time in the legislature, she was Chair, House Judiciary Committee; Chair, House Revenue
Committee; on the Management Audit Committee; and liaison to the Wyoming State Retirement
Board. In 1997, the Governor appointed her to Wyoming's first Juvenile Justice Commission.
Pat also represented Wyoming on the first Federal Home Loan Bank's Advisory Council on
Affordable Housing and was Chair of the Wyoming Community Development Authority.
Travel and adventure were central to Pat's life. In 1999, she received a prestigious Japan
Society Fellowship and spent several months in Japan studying juvenile justice issues. Pat
sen'ed as crew on a boat delivery trip from New York. through the Panama Canal. to Decatur
Island in the San Juan Islands, Washington, where she spent many summers with Bob, her
daughters, and grandchildren. In New Zealand, she met the challenge of the Milford track and
tackled the Tonaariro Crossing with her brother Mike, and enjoyed traveling in Europe and Asia.
Pat and Bob spent parts of recent years at their home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where
she continued her painting and gardening. An avid reader who loved sharing book
recommendations, she will be missed by her book clubs in Mexico and Casper, and by her many
Pat was a passionate cook with a gift for hospitality, and family, friends, and neighbors enjoyed
everything from formal parties to casual get-togethers at her historic home. She loved gardening
and was often seen planting bulbs around town with the Bulb Society and tending the plants in
her own beautiful garden. Her Little Free Library outside her house was the first in Casper.
Pat's accomplishments were many, but none was more important than her relationships with her
husband, girls, and grandchildren. As she looked back on her life, she said her times with her
girls were the most important to her. Her daughters and grandchildren were privileged to grow
up surrounded by the love she had with Bob. That beautiful marriage provided a strong
foundation for passing on her values of caring for others, kindness, and curiosity about the world.
She left the world a better place, and she will be dearly missed by her family.
Preceded in death by her husband Bob in 2019, Pat is survived by two daughters in Casper,
Stacia Vigneri (Dr. Sam Vigneri), and Susanna Nagel; grandchildren Hunter, Harper, and
Hannah Hatch, and Lucia, Benjamin, and Robert Vigneri; brother Mike McKeown (Ardeth
Lobet) of Auckland, New Zealand; sister Judge Margaret McKeown (Peter Cowhey) of La Jolla,
California; sister-in-law Susie Goode (Denny) of Atlanta; and nephews Haruka Cowhey of
Seattle, and Damon and Jason Goode of Atlanta.
Donations in her honor may be made to the Wyoming PBS Foundation or the Nagel Family
Scholarship at Casper College. To allow her friends around the world to gather together, and in
light of COWL), a virtual memorial service will take place on Sunday, February 14 at 3:00pm
MST. The link to attend Patricia's service is-
Meeting ID: 966 145 8920
Arrangements are entrusted to Bustard & Jacoby Funeral Home , 600 CY Ave. Casper, WY 82601.