Cover photo for Shirley Irene Ulrich's Obituary
Shirley Irene Ulrich Profile Photo
1926 Shirley 2023

Shirley Irene Ulrich

June 3, 1926 — June 9, 2023

Kemmerer, WY

 

 

Shirley Irene Hankin Ulrich

Shirley passed away on June 9, 2023 in Kemmerer, Wyoming.  She was 97 years 6 days old and her family was by her side.  God Bless her, she is with Jesus now.

When introduced, Shirley liked to say ”I was born a coal miner’s daughter.”

She was born to George and Irene (Morrison) Hankin, in their small clapboard house, in Oakley, Wyoming (a former coal mining town a couple miles south of Kemmerer). She had an older brother, George, who passed away several years ago.  There was a budding cottonwood tree at the edge of the property that still stands green and well today, some 97 years later.

 

She was raised during tough times in a harsh environment high in the basins of mountainous Wyoming. A beautiful, lean, and blue-eyed redhead, photos and local memories attest to the fact she loped through brush and river bottoms with her pet deer Skippy, but was also an accomplished hunter who provided big game for her families. She was admired for her ability to sit patiently while hunting and dressed big game with skill, speed and cleanliness. She bagged many elk & was extremely proud when she drew a moose permit & bagged that critter too.  Sage grouse, cottontails, deer, antelope were in her sights as well.  She passed her knowledge & wisdom of hunting to her children & grandchildren.  She was a “true environmentalist” as she honored the dear earth & the God given creatures.

 

She lived her entire life in southern Lincoln County.  She attended schools in Oakley, Kemmerer & a brief time at the University of Wyoming.  

She married Carl Ulrich (a home town Kemmerer resident) on February 15, 1947.

In 1950, Shirley expanded her career and became a mother when Wallace arrived. In 1952 Gail was born and the family took off in the activities the high mountain West offers.  Horses, hunting, fishing, camping, prospecting, skiing and boating stand out in family memory.  

 

Shirley & Carl started a lifelong business of mining & preparing the world famous fossil fish of the Green River Formation. She pioneered the fossil business in Wyoming & beyond. She was a tireless worker and ran the quarry operations, taught generations about fossils and hosted any field group that ventured into the western Wyoming fossil fields.  

Needless to say, she was a very integral part of making Green River fossils world renowned.   She intently promoted the Fossil Butte National Monument; meeting with the Wyoming US Senators & Congressmen thus using her political clout to preserve the area.  She never gloated or wanted recognition for this.  She kept her involvement “under the wire” and displayed humbleness.  

She was a savvy business owner and a true entrepreneur. She never failed in her promotion of the fossils as well as the State of Wyoming.

Shirley was deeply involved in politics for decades and fought intensely for Wyoming values. . She was elected a longstanding precinct woman and County Chairman for Lincoln County GOP. She served in leadership roles on several civic boards.

 She hosted events for many U.S and State campaigners and policy makers  and the elected counted on her hot coffee or tea at the kitchen in Fossil when touring the southeastern corner of our State.

Shirley’s deep involvement in local groups like the Eastern Star, The Episcopal Church and Chamber were a beloved priority. Her potent elk, deer or antelope chili always tickled the city folks visiting, but those creatures were beloved in our family, providing a bountiful healthy and tasty mainstay diet.  

 

She was a good mother, grandmother & great grandmother that loved her family & protected them deeply.  She is survived by her son Wallace (Lisa) of Jackson, and grandsons Paul Ulrich (Darby) of Pinedale; Aiden Ulrich of Los Angeles, CA.  Daughter Gail (Bruce) Jacobson of Riverton, and granddaughters; Leigh Jacobson of Tulsa, OK, Jill (Ransom) Logan of Thermopolis, and Jeri Kay (Reese) Owsley of Rapid City, SD. 

Great-grandchildren; Julian Ulrich; Paisley, Levi & Rowdy Logan; Trae, Tenley & Teague Owsley, and Tayler and Colin Davis.

Michael Snively was a very important young man in Shirley’s life as he helped with the business and was Carl’s protégé.  She cared for him a great deal.  

Shirley is now at peace and able to renew all her old friendships and reunite with the love of her life, her husband Carl. 

She was a magnificent true Born & Raised Wyoming Woman.  

For anyone wishing to honor Shirley Ulrich’s memory, the family suggests contributing to The South Lincoln Nursing Center in Kemmerer. The entire Ulrich family is deeply grateful to the wonderful staff and excellent care Shirley received at the Nursing Home. A private service will be held later.

 

Family members can be contacted:

Wally Fossil@wyoming.com

Gail Wyowoman@wyoming.com

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Irene Ulrich, please visit our flower store.

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