Obituary for James "Jim" L. Applegate
James L “Jim” Applegate was born in Torrington, Wyoming to L.G. “Red” and Lucille Applegate. He was a founder of the law firm Hirst & Applegate, a Marine Corps veteran, a two-term state senator, and a tireless community volunteer for Cheyenne.
Jim graduated from Torrington High School in 1949, and he was a graduate of Notre Dame in 1953. While attending Notre Dame, Applegate enlisted in the USMC Reserves, later accepting a commission as a second lieutenant, serving on active duty from 1953 to 1955. He then attended the University of Wyoming College of Law, graduating in 1958 with his LL.B.
Jim was assistant City Attorney for Cheyenne from 1959-1962, which began a lifetime of public service that included work in the Rotary Club, the Board of Public Utilities, the Wyoming Community Development Authority, the Cheyenne Symphony Foundation, the State Board of Law Examiners, the Urban Renewal Advisory Committee, the Wyoming Retirement System Board, first President of First Parish Council in Diocese of Cheyenne in St. Mary's Cathedral, first Chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, and Member of the Board of Directors of Saint Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington.
After graduating, Applegate then began his practice of law, and helped to found Hirst & Applegate, one of the premiere law firms in the state, and continued to practice law for over 50 years, specializing in trial law, but also focusing on civil litigation, arbitration, mediation, insurance litigation and probate law. His professional affiliations included: the Wyoming State Bar; Laramie County Bar Association; Notre Dame Law Association; a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; American Trial Lawyers Association; and the Defense Research Institute and Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel.
Jim was elected twice to the Wyoming State Legislature as State Senator for District 8, from 1989-1997, serving as Minority Floor Leader for a year, and helping among other things to secure funds and donations for the preservation and restoration of the Union Pacific train depot downtown.
Applegate was named Person of the Year by the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce in 1988, and he received the Community Spirit Award in 2011 from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.
Jim also volunteered for the United Way, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Saint Mary’s Cathedral, and Frontier Days, where he was a judge and timer for the chuck wagon races. He was on the Contestants Committee for over three decades, and he was inducted into the CFD Heels in 1970.
Jim was a skilled golfer, an avid reader, and a kind-hearted and gracious man. Jim was predeceased by his parents; sister, Kathy Johnson; and granddaughter, Heather Bowen. He is survived by his wife, Lynn; daughter, Amy McKay; son, Dan Applegate; grandsons, James and Nicholas Bowen; sister, Nancy Kopischke, and brother in-law, John; and several nieces and nephews.
A Vigil for the Deceased will be held on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. A Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 12th at 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. A private family interment will be held at Olivet Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to Saint Joseph’s Children’s Home in Torrington would be welcome.