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State Treasurer Meyer, former deputy Fremont County Atty., dead at age 71
Oct 7, 2012 - From staff reports
Wyoming State Treasurer Joseph B. Meyer, a former deputy Fremont County Attorney who held two of Wyoming s top five elected offices, died Saturday in Cheyenne. He was 71.
Meyer, who had battled lung cancer for several years, was in his second term as Wyoming State Treasurer having been re-elected to that position in 2010. The Republican also had served as Wyoming Secretary of State and Wyoming Attorney General.
"This is a tremendous loss for all of Wyoming," said Gov. Matt Mead. Joe cared deeply about this state and its people and always put Wyoming first. His legacy of service is unmatched. He will be remembered for his wisdom and his wit. I feel most fortunate to have had his counsel and friendship."
Meyer was remembered fondly by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who also is a former U.S. Representative from Wyoming.
"Joe was my great friend," Cheney said. "The two of us were dear friends for over 50 years, and we had so many shared memories that it is hard to think of the world without him. He was a friend to be proud of, one of the finest public officials ever to serve the people of Wyoming.
"I know of no one who knew more about the workings of government than Joe. He put his knowledge to work for the benefit of our state, and he shared it generously. If you had a question, he had the answer, and no matter how busy he was, he would sit down with you and explain it and make the process enjoyable, too. The nation and our state were better because of Joe Meyer. "
Meyer recently was honored by the governor for his 40 years of service to the state. His long resume also included time as government affairs and communications assistant to the president of the University of Wyoming and assistant director of the Legislative Service Office. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he was to have been honored as a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Wyoming in 2012 during Homecoming ceremonies this week. Those honors will be bestowed posthumously.
Meyer's academic background was in the sciences. He earned a bachelors degree in mathematics/chemistry from the University of Wyoming in 1963 and his juris doctorate from the UW Law School in 1967.
He married Sheridan native Mary Orr in his second year of law school, and the couple moved to Lander after graduation. He served as Fremont County deputy county attorney and later was a practicing attorney in Lander at the Smith and Meyer Law Firm.
In 1971 he was recruited to be the assistant director of the newly created Legislative Service Office in Cheyenne. Working with LSO director Ralph Thomas, they developed a process for initiating and developing legislation that has continued for 41 years.
In 1987, Gov. Mike Sullivan, A Democrat, appointed Meyer to be Wyoming Attorney General, and his eight-year tenure remains the longest in state history for the post. He argued several cases before the Wyoming Supreme Court, including the school finance case in 1994. Besides his impact at the state level, he was lead attorney for the 50 state attorneys general on Indian gambling and taxation issues and frequently, on western water law consultations and negotiations with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
"Joe Meyer was a true son of Wyoming," said Sullivan. "As my attorney general he provided me with support, friendship and representation as he did for the people of the state with extraordinary confidence and judgment."
He was elected Secretary of State in 1998 and served eight years as Secretary of State. He was State Treasurer in 2006, where he oversaw the state s $15 billion investment portfolio. As one of the five state elected officials, he also was a member of the Wyoming State Retirement Board of Directors, the Wyoming Community Development Association Board, the State Land Board, the State Loan and Investment Board and the State Building Commission.
Born in Casper, he was a graduate of Natrona County High School.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary Orr Meyer, sons Vince and Warren (Cory), grandsons Ethan and Devin, all of Cheyenne.
Services are under the direction of Schrader Funeral Home in Cheyenne. Funeral arrangements are pending.