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State Senator Robert A. Peck

Bob Peck was a multi-award-winning American politician, journalist, editor, publisher, and Wyoming State Senator (1991-2007).

The longtime newspaperman published a chain of newspapers in communities across Wyoming and into Montana.

He was the founder of Central Wyoming College in his hometown of Riverton, Wyoming, serving 15 years on its board of trustees, and 14 as chairman. The Robert A. Peck Arts Center on the campus of Central Wyoming College is named in his honor.

Senator Bob Peck
Robert A. Peck
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Robert Arthur Peck

Date and place of birth: October 7, 1924, Riverton, Fremont County, Wyoming, U.S.A.

Date, time, place and cause of death: March 6, 2007, at 12:51 p.m., Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Cheyenne, Wyoming, U.S.A. (Pneumonia/West Nile virus)

Spouse: Cordelia Ruth Smith (m. October 5, 1949 - February 17, 1996) (her death)

Sons: Christopher Peck (b. August 2, 1950, Lander, Wyoming)
George Peck
Steve Peck

Father: Leroy Ellsworth Peck (b. June 5, 1895 - d. February 25, 1954)
Mother: Elvira Eugenia Sostrom (b. September 7, 1901 - d. July 25, 1975)


Robert Arthur Peck was born to Leroy and Elvira Peck October 7th, 1924, in Riverton, Wyoming. His career in journalism began while writing and serving as editor of the Riverton high school newspaper, known as The Big Wind Echo. He later attended the National Journalism Institute and won a scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Bob Peck served in the U.S. Army (1943-45) during World War II, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. Following the war, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming in 1947, and graduated two years later.

He met his future wife, Cordelia Ruth Smith, while attending college. He recalled, "I met my wife, Cordelia, in Professor Dickman's philosophy class." They married October 5th, 1949, and went on to have three sons. Their son Steve Peck worked in the newspaper business alongside his father and later became co-publisher of the Riverton Ranger.
Chris Peck likewise went into journalism and became a noted journalist and editor.

In 1949, Bob and his brother, Roy (Leroy Eugene "Roy" Peck, b. May 16th, 1922 - d. February 26th, 1983), purchased a small weekly newspaper in their hometown which they renamed the Riverton Times. When the Times later merged with the Riverton Review, they moved to a twice-weekly printing schedule of the newly-dubbed Riverton Ranger. In 1959, the Peck brothers acquired full ownership of the paper. The following year they transformed the Riverton Ranger into a daily newspaper.

The family newspaper business later expanded into a chain of newspapers in nearly a dozen communities throughout Wyoming and into Montana. Robert Peck's lifelong passion and commitment to journalism led him to share his knowledge via journalism classes at the University of Wyoming and Central Wyoming College. He served on the boards of many organizations including, Arts in Action, the Wind River Arts Foundation, and the Margaret Peck Summer Theater. He also served as president of the Wyoming Press Association, and was later inducted into the Wyoming Press Association Foundation Hall of Fame.

The respected newsman and civic leader was the driving force in founding Central Wyoming College in 1966. Peck served on the CWC Board of Trustees for many years and was the Board's first president (1966-81). He was instrumental in securing funding for the multimillion-dollar CWC community arts center which was later named in his honor. The college and particularly the Robert A. Peck Arts Center became the cultural center for the region.

Initially appointed to the Wyoming Senate in 1991 to succeed the late Frank Dusl, he was elected in 1992 and reelected to successive four-year terms in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Serving Senate District #26, the Republican State Senator chaired the Senate Revenue Committee, was a member of the Senate Education Committee, as well as the Select Committee on Tribal Relations, the Select Water Committee and the Energy Council.

His nearly half-century marriage was brought to an abrupt end when Cordelia died in a one-car accident February 17th, 1996, while on her way to a legislative session in Cheyenne.

Mr. Peck was a strong supporter of projects ranging from historic preservation, medical and arts facilities, and especially community-based education. It was he who created the state's Historic Mine Trail. With mining playing such a pivotal role in the growth of the state, he developed the trail system to highlight its history and importance to the area. "It dawned on me that a huge part of Wyoming's mining past was vanishing into the past," Sen. Peck said. Marking the history of several gold, iron and uranium mines in central Wyoming, the first trail in the state's new Historic Mine Trail was designated in 2006.

August 19th, 2006, Senator Peck was hospitalized at Riverton Memorial Hospital, having been diagnosed with West Nile virus. That year, the majority of West Nile virus cases in Wyoming had been there in Fremont County. As it frequently does, the mosquito-borne virus gave raise to encephalitis, which further weakened him and exacerbated his heart problems. By early 2007, he was receiving treatment for pneumonia and a blood clot in his lung at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He died March 6th, 2007, at 12:51 p.m., at the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center.

Quotes honoring him:
"Senator Peck has added great wisdom and experience to the Wyoming Senate in his four terms of service. He had a unique perspective as a legislator who also published his hometown newspaper and was particularly gifted at representing the people of his Senate district. He knew them well, and they were lucky to have him in their corner for 17 years."
Governor Dave Freudenthal

"He was such a fine gentleman, a true statesman and a real visionary." "He and his entire family have given a great deal to the Wyoming people, the state and the Legislature."
State Senator John Barrasso

"We're really going to miss him." "He was an excellent senator."
State Senator Charles Scott

"He strived for excellence in his newspapers and weaned generations of journalists on his own brand of fairness and accuracy." "He will be missed."
- Wyoming Press Association President
J.T. Malmberg

"I can't imagine a family that has given more to Wyoming ..." "He lived a great life. He did so much. He's the only guy I know who had a street named after him while he was still alive and an auditorium at Central Wyoming College. Yet he was so modest and so private."
State Senator Cale Case

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