Feb 17, 2012 - By Carolyn B. Tyler Staff WriterFormer Riverton Mayor William Eichler has died.
The longtime Riverton resident died Thursday, Feb. 16, at his home. He was 84 years old.
Eichler served five years as mayor of Fremont County's largest city, occupying the office from 1997 through 2002. He also served two separate stints on the Riverton City Council.
He was a school administrator by profession, working as a school district business manager in the 1970s and in a similar capacity at Central Wyoming College in the 1980s.
He entered local politics after retirement and was appointed to a vacant Riverton City Council seat prior to the 1994 municipal elections. Rather than seeking a full term in his city council seat, he ran for mayor against former State Rep. Dennis Tippets.
Tippets won that race, collecting 1,908 votes to Eichler's 1,813. Eichler was out of office for a year following that defeat, but he returned to the city council in the 1996 election, running unopposed.
Tippets was appointed by then-Gov. Jim Geringer to the Wyoming State Board of Equalization in 1997 and resigned as mayor in order to accept that position, which required him to move to Cheyenne. In a special vote, the Riverton Council then appointed Eichler to serve out the remainder of Tippets's term.
1998 was another general election year, and Eichler ran for a full term as mayor. He was unopposed in the Aug. 18 primary, but Riverton businesswoman Vivian Watkins collected hundreds of write-in votes during the primary and qualified to run against Eichler in the general election.
That campaign was a hard-hitting race in which Eichler questioned whether Watkins met the legal residency requirements for the City of Riverton. Her longtime residency was outside the city limits, but she had purchased a house in the city limits shortly before the election.
Eichler prevailed on Nov. 4, 1998, defeating Watkins 1,724 to 1,569.
He did not seek re-election in 2002 and was succeeded in office by John Vincent.
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