Introducing The Class of 2018: Thomas L. Whitley

By: 
NLJ Staff

Aug. 22, 1926– Dec. 3, 1993

Tom Whitley moved to Newcastle with his family in 1940 where he entered the 8th grade. He was active in the Boy Scouts and sports throughout high school and was his class president all four years. He worked at the Newcastle Drug and other local businesses throughout his high school days. He graduated NHS in 1945, then went on to attend the University of Wyoming where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949. In 1951, he graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law.

Tom entered the United States Army and was on active duty from 1951 until 1954, serving much of that time at Fort Knox, Ky. 

After returning to Newcastle, he continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserve with the Judge Advocate General’s office. Later, he served as a recruiter for the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He assisted several people from the area with their appointments there. He retired from the Army in 1986 at the rank of colonel.

Whitley entered the practice of law in Newcastle in 1954. He maintained his practice until his death in 1993. He served as Newcastle City Attorney for a period of time and as the Weston County Attorney for 23 years. He also acted as a magistrate in the local courts. Tom was honored by the Wyoming State Bar Association in 1991 with its “Community Service Pro Bono” award for his continual service to his community and its citizens in need.

Tom was a leader in the community. He was past president of the Newcastle Area Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle Lions Club, and the Newcastle Country Club.  He served on the Weston County Memorial Hospital and Manor Board as well and was past chairman of the Weston County Republican Central Committee. He was an advocate for the arts and served on the board of directors of the Black Hills Playhouse. He served as an advisor and leader to the First United Methodist Church, local youth groups, the high school speech and debate teams and the Boy Scouts.

He was instrumental in planning for the Newcastle Centennial celebration and in creating and planning for the first Newcastle All School Reunion. He worked with the reunion board to ensure that money made from the event would be preserved in a scholarship fund for local students. This fund is still providing financial resources to graduates of Newcastle High School today. He continued to serve on the All School Reunion Committee until his death. Through his law practice, he encouraged his clients to remember the area’s students in their wills.  Several of these scholarships will benefit local students for years to come.

Tom loved the outdoors and enjoyed hiking with his kids and the many dogs he had over the years. He was also an avid sports fan and rarely missed listening to the University of Wyoming football games on the radio. His life-long love and support for Newcastle has benefitted the community in many ways. He continues to serve as an inspiration to many; especially to those who are willing to help others.

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