Jul 11, 2012 - From staff reportsCarolyn B. Tyler, the senior news staff member of The Ranger and the newspaper's former editor, died Tuesday at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. She was 77 years old.
Tyler worked for Fremont County's daily newspaper for 51 years, including two decades as editor ending in 1986. She had continued as a staff writer since then, covering School District 25, handling daily obituary writing, and writing regular columns and feature stories.
She had been hospitalized on June 28 in Riverton for pneumonia and complications, just two days after covering a District 25 school board meeting. She later was transferred to Casper, where she died Tuesday afternoon after undergoing surgery intended to clear fluid from the pleuris, the membrane surrounding the lungs.
Tyler's sister, longtime Central Wyoming College facilities coordinator Linda Becker, said Tyler appeared to be progressing satisfactorily immediately following the surgery but went into cardiac arrest in the surgical recovery room.
Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Monday, July 16, at the United Methodist Church in Riverton.
"This is a big loss for our newspaper, for Riverton and for Wyoming journalism," said Ranger publisher Steven R. Peck, who had a lifelong affiliation with Tyler at the family-owned newspaper business. "It is important to remember not just how important she was to our newspaper, but what a pioneer she was in Wyoming newspapers."
Tyler is believed to be the first women ever named editor of a Wyoming daily newspaper. She arrived in Riverton in March 1961, shortly after the Ranger moved from twice-weekly to daily publication, and assumed day-to-day editing duties about five years later. Hired by Ranger co-founders Bob and Roy Peck, Tyler took the reins as editor after Roy Peck moved to Cheyenne in 1967 to accept a cabinet-level position in state government under then-Gov. Stan Hathaway, and Bob Peck became president of the first board of trustees at Central Wyoming College, which opened in 1966.
Born Carolyn Butler, she was a graduate of the University of Nebraska school of journalism two years after being stricken with polio at age 20 while a college student. She wrote in a memorable Ranger column about lying in her hospital bed and hearing a radio newscast announcing the development of the famous Salk polio vaccine.
During a stint as editor of the Ainsworth Star Journal after graduation, she married the newspaper's owner, Robert H. Tyler, in 1960. They sold the paper the following year and both accepted jobs at The Ranger, arriving March 10, 1961, the day current Ranger publisher Steve Peck was born.
Robert H. Tyler served as Ranger advertising manager during much of the time Carolyn Tyler was editor.
She was named Wyoming's Press Woman of the Year several times in the 1960s in an awards category since discontinued by the Wyoming Press Association as more women joined the ranks of Wyoming newspapers. Her career achievements included dozens more awards for newswriting, feature stories, column writing and photography. In 1966 alone, she was awarded first place for news photo, feature photo, news story, sports news story, column writing, page editing, local editorial, page layout and photo layout.
Tyler's physical mobility decreased through the years, and she was confined to a wheelchair or motorized chair for most of the last 20 years of her life while maintaining a full work schedule from her home office. She was able to travel to school board meetings, concerts and plays, library functions, the Fremont County Fair and other community functions both as a reporter and spectator.
"She absolutely did it all," Peck said. "Even into her late 70s, there was no one we counted on more than Carolyn. Her accomplishments and dedication would be more than admirable for anyone. Doing it while battling her considerable physical infirmities is nothing short of heroic. I think everyone who knew her would agree."
She was active in Riverton service clubs as well, including membership and leadership posts in Riverton Business and Professional Women, P.E.O. and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Tyler's last bylined news story appeared on page one of The Ranger on Friday, June 29. Her final column was published two days earlier. The newspaper still has on file several obituaries she wrote during the final days of her life that will be published in coming days.
The Ranger plans a newspaper retrospective of her career, including reminiscences from many journalists who worked with her.
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