(September 17, 2002)
Alice (Rhodes) Renner died on Sept. 17, 2002 in the Long Term Care Center in Cody with her family at her side.
Alice Elizabeth Rhodes was born on Feb. 10, 1927 to C. Jack and Emma Elizabeth "Bessie" (Monk) Rhodes at the Z-T Cow Camp on Pitchfork Ranch near Meeteetse.
Her father was Pitchfork Cow Foreman and her mother cooked for Charles and Frances (Phelps) Belden. Alice was the youngest of four children. She attended the Z-T School for three years. Her family then moved to Meeteetse where she graduated from Meeteetse High School in 1943. She later attended Billings Business College in Billings, Mont.
Alice married Charles Lee Nicholson in 1943 and had one son, Charles Jack Nicholson. They later divorced.
Alice married Thomas Anthony "Tuff" Renner in Billings on March 13, 1951. Together, they had two sons, Morgan Anthony and George Tracy Renner. They have ranched on Wood River near Meeteetse for over 50 years.
Agriculture, particularly the beef industry, was important to Alice and she spent many hours on the telephone and writing letters to legislators concerning important issues.
Alice was a charter member of the Meeteetse Cow Belles in 1966 and served as the organization's first president. Over the years, she held all offices in the organization and was a very active member for 36 years.
She served as the 39th president of the Wyoming Cow Belles in 1978-79, and held every office in the Wyoming Cow Belles except one.
She also chaired the American National Cow Belles Resolution Committee the year before becoming WCB President. During this time, she worked to create a proposal to combat the adverse nutritional publicity received by beef.
She worked with three national organizations to propose, plan and facilitate an international Meat, Nutrition and Health Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1979. She was also instrumental in the creation of the Beef Gift Certificate Program, which has since become a national beef promotion program. Concluding her term as state president, she said, "One of the most enjoyable duties of serving is traveling around the state to meet with the county groups. Their enthusiasm and hospitality is just super. I attended 23 meetings and dinner-dances, traveled 7,500 miles within the state and enjoyed it immensely. I am proud that I was able to serve such a good organization."
Alice was instrumental in organizing the Meeteetse Multiple Use Association, which evolved from the Meeteetse Livestock Association. It grew to over 300 members throughout the Big Horn Basin and represents people and businesses interested in or dependent on the multiple use of public lands. She served as the Association's president, and held other offices as well.
Tuff and Alice outfitted for big game hunting for 30 years and in 1972 built Renner's Wood River Lodge. They operated the lodge as a supper club and also accommodated hunters there until selling it in 1989. Before the Lodge was completed, she cooked and hauled many a meal up the Wood River to hungry hunters. Alice was proud of taking two bighorn sheep during their outfitting years.
Alice served two terms (six years) as Clerk on the Meeteetse School Board, and was elected to the office of director on the Wyoming School Boards Association where she represented Park, Big Horn, Washakie, Hot Springs and Fremont Counties.
She was active in Park County Republicans and served as precinct committeewoman for several terms, one term as treasurer and three terms as state committeewoman. For many years, she organized the "Meet the Candidates Forums" in Park County.
Alice enjoyed growing flowers, working puzzles and her cats. She was a prolific knitter and crocheter, completing over 360 pieces, including at least 135 knitted sweaters for family and friends. Alice was proud of the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren.
Alice was preceded in death by her parents, sister Edna (Rhodes) Sessions and brother Jack Monk Rhodes. She is survived by her husband Tuff, her sons and their wives Jack and Meg Nicholson, Morgan and Echo Renner, and Tracy and Julie Renner, and three grandchildren, Nicole Nicholson, Wilson Thomas Renner and Karlie Elizabeth Renner, all of Meeteetse, and brother Frank Rhodes of Hamilton Dome, and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be Friday, Sept. 20, at 10 a.m. at the LDS Church in Meeteetse. Her casket will be open for viewing one hour prior to the church service. A graveside service will follow at the Meeteetse Cemetery.
There will be a luncheon at the St. Andrews Parish Hall at noon provided by the Meeteetse Cow Belles and a reception will follow at 2 p.m. at Wood River Lodge.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Alice Renner Ag Scholarship Fund, 1st National Bank of Powell, P.O. Box 907, Powell, WY 82435.