The Saratoga Sun -

Roger L. Williams


Roger L. Williams, long-time part-time resident of Encampment died July 4, age 94, after a brief illness.

At age 8, Roger learned to fly-fish on French Creek and then for decades fished on the Platte. In more recent years, he could be seen in the Sierra Madre Range collecting plants for the Rocky Mountain Herbarium.

A graduate of Greeley High School, Roger began college at Colorado College. He served in the U.S. Army (1943-46), European theater. After earning a PhD (1951) in modern European history at the University of Michigan, he taught in the Humanities Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, served as professor and head of the History Department at the University of California—Santa Barbara. Pressed to become chancellor at UCSB, Roger chose teaching and research, returning to familiar surroundings and to fly-fishing in the Valley. He served as professor and head of the history department at the University of Wyoming (1971-88). He was UW’s first Distinguished Professor. After retirement, he became an affiliate at the Rocky Mountain Herbarium.

Recognized in his day as a leading authority on French history, Roger published numerous books on that subject as well as introductory textbooks on modern European history. Fascinated since childhood in the natural sciences, he taught himself taxonomy while writing the biography of UW botanist Aven Nelson. By means of that biography, he contributed astute insights into the Wyoming mentality.

After retirement, Roger turned to the history of botany, publishing several more books and articles on the history of botany in France and Wyoming.

Roger requested immediate cremation. He is survived by a niece. He left his estate to the Wyoming Community Foundation.


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