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Teno Roncalio   March 23, 1916 - March 30, 2003

Teno passed away quietly in his sleep, one week after turning 87.

The Pinedale Roundup Apr 10, 2003 Vol. 97 #28
(courtesy of Pinedale Roundup)

Teno Roncalio Remembered by Local Democrats and Friends
Article By Grace Anderson

Many Sublette County residents knew former Wyoming Congressmen Teno Roncalio well and spoke of him as having been a friend, expressing regret at his death and admiration for his life.

Sonny Korfanta remembers when Teno worked shining shoes at the Park Hotel when he was still in school. Showing admirable enterprise, Teno earned his barber’s license while working as a shoeshine boy but never practiced the trade, Sonny explained.

Through hard work and good fortune, Teno became a lawyer and legislator. Sonny thought it a well-deserved honor for Teno when the new post office in Rock Springs was named for him last year.

Sally Mackey appreciated all the help Teno gave the group of Sublette County citizens trying to stop the Wagon Wheel Project. She has a copy of a headline reading, “Roncalio Says Wagon Wheel is like Going After a Fly with a Howitzer.”

Dan Budd, formerly a Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives, found Teno very helpful in getting an amendment passed that allowed the sheep ranchers to trail their sheep through the Fossil Buttes National Monument which was the one and only time such an amendment was allowed. Dan said he also worked with Teno and Kathy Karpan when Dan was President of the Conservation Fund and found that Teno always held the interests of the people of Wyoming at heart.

Bill Dickson, former Rock Springs businessman, spoke of how Teno helped the trona mine for Rock Springs and how he would help find jobs for people. As a young man, Teno worked for The "Rocket
Miner” with George Schmidt, Bill’s brother-in-law, and Bill Redshaw. Bill said that whenever mischief was done in Rock Springs, the three were usually behind it. He emphasized that it was fun stuff, nothing malicious. Summing it all up Bill said, “He helped a lot of people.”

At a general meeting of Sublette County Democrats, fellow Democrats agreed that Teno had been a great Democrat for the State of Wyoming and deserved to be honored. He served in the House of Representatives for several years, was Democratic Party Chairman for five years, and appointed by John Kennedy to chair a cabinet-level board on water rights between the U.S. and Canada.

To many, Teno was a fine looking man and had a lot of presence. To see him striding with his skis on his shoulder to the lift at the old ski hill, he was a magnificent figure.

Many Wvoming citizens were unaware of his distinguished service record in World War II until his death, March 30th. In 1941, Teno enlisted in the army as private. Within a year, he was commissioned as an infantry officer. He faced combat in seven campaigns in Europe and Africa and was awarded among other decorations the Silver Star for gallantry in action on D-Day at Omaha Beach where unfavorable landing conditions caused great loss of life and drowning and eneny fire.

Teno was the eighth of nine children born to Italian immigrant parents. An older brother was an accomplished violinist. After growing up in Rock Springs during the hard years of the Great Depression, it must have been a glorious trip from kneeling on the floor of the Park Hotel barbershop to sitting in the halls of the US, Congress, a trip which the people Wyoming can be proud of.

Article By Grace Anderson


The following magazine article was written by Mabel E. Brown, a noted Wyoming writer/publisher, just prior to Teno's unsucessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1966.

1966 "Bits and Pieces" Article on Teno


From Bootblack to Congressman: the Career of Teno Roncalio
Wyoming History Society essay on Dad's career.


U. S. Army Officer Candidates Hall of Fame

"Teno Roncalio was commissioned an Infantry Officer upon graduation from Officer Candidate School on November 1942. Joint First Infantry Division, North Africa, March 1943. Served 33 remaining months of World WarII in 18th Infantry, First Division. Participated in beachead invasion, Gela, Sicily, July 10, 1043; Omaha Beach, France, June 6, 1944. Participated in combat in seven campaigns in North Africa, Italy, France, Central Europe and Germany. Decorations include Silver Star for gallantry in action, June 7, 1944..."


U.S. Congressional Biography

"Roncalio, Teno,(1916-2003) A Representative from Wyoming; born in Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyo., March 23, 1916; attended the public schools; employee of the United States Senate Library, 1940-1941; enlisted in the United States Army (Infantry) and served overseas in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe, in the First Division, December 1941-March 1946; graduated from the University of Wyoming at Laramie in 1947; admitted to the Wyoming bar in 1947 and commenced the practice of law in Cheyenne, Wyo.; deputy prosecuting attorney of Laramie County, 1950-1956; chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Central committee, 1957-1961; delegate to Democratic National Conventions, 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968; national committeeman 1969 and 1970; engaged in banking; member of the International Joint Commission, United States-Canada, 1961-1964; elected as a Democrat to the Eighty-ninth Congress (January 3, 1965-January 3, 1967); was unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1966; elected in 1970 to the Ninety-second Congress; reelected to the three succeeding Congresses and served from January 3, 1971, until his resignation December 30, 1978...resumed the practice of law; served as Special Master in Wyoming’s Big Horn adjudication of Indian Water Rights, 1979-1982."