William "Willie" LeClair, Sr.
Mar 29, 1937 - May 18, 2023
William “Willie” Roy LeClair, Sr., 86, passed away on Thursday, May 18, 2023 in Rawlins, Wyoming. A Rosary will be recited at 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at Davis Funeral Home, 2203 W. Main Street, Riverton, WY. A wake will be held Wednesday evening, May 31, 2023 at the LeClair residence, 76 Mazet Road, Riverton, Wyoming with services also at the LeClair residence, 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 1, 2023, with military graveside rites to follow at Mountain View Cemetery. A reception will follow the services at the Fremont Center of the Fremont County Fairgrounds, 1010 Fairgrounds Road, Riverton, Wyoming.
William Roy LeClair, Sr., was born on March 29, 1937, in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, son of Edmo and Esther (Stephens) LeClair. Willie LeClair was a proud enrolled member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, his Indian name, “Tall Pine” was given to him by Clarence Moss. He attended schools at Fort Washakie Country School and Lander Valley High School. Willie was baptized and confirmed at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Fort Washakie, WY. At a young age, Willie learned from his dad everything there was to know about hunting, fishing and cowboying. He worked as a guide with his dad out of St. Lawrence Basin near Fort Washakie and worked as a guide and outfitter in the Dubois area from 1967-1968.
On December 31, 1968, he married Connie Brown. Together the couple celebrated 54 years of marriage and a very active life of serving the Creator and helping others.
Mr. LeClair and four friends enlisted in the United States Armed forces. Willie served in the United States Navy at the end of the Korean War. He was stationed in Kwajalein where he served as an Airport Control Operator. He qualified to be a Frogmen in the US Navy had he re-enlisted. The Frogmen are equivalent of today’s Navy Seals; heroic Sailors were commonly referred to as “Frogmen.” In his later years, he was active in the military graveside services of his fellow veterans.
Most of Willie’s life was spent ranching and running cows at LeClair Livestock. For over thirty years, he worked for Gilpatrick Construction and other companies throughout Colorado and Wyoming. He was also the religious coordinator for WDOC and was a sought-after Rodeo announcer, earning the Announcer of the Year award in 2000. Willie was the director for the first Indian NFR in Salt Lake City, Utah during 1976. He also served in the Wyoming Rodeo Association, National College Rodeos, PRCA and the American Team Roping Cowboy Assoc., and also the Rocky Mountain Indian Rodeo Assoc., and served on the Cowboy Rodeo Commission all over Utah.
Mr. LeClair was passionate about directing Native American presentations and teaching Indian conversational sign language at Central Wyoming College. He worked with the Wyoming Humanities Council for Preserving Traditional Conversational Sign Language, appointed as a board member by the governor of Wyoming. For over 25 years, Willie ran sweat lodge ceremonies for five facilities of the department of corrections throughout Wyoming. He was able to travel the world for his Native American service. His most memorable was when he was asked by the Vatican to participate in the closing ceremonies for the Journey of the Spirit Pilgrimage in Rome along with four monks from Tibet.
In 2014 he was asked to attend the Three Worlds Meet where he went to Scotland and Ireland. On this trip he was blessed enough to be able to play golf at St. Andrew’s with his two boys.
During his pastime, Willie found pleasure in golf, promoting Indian preservation, and rodeoing. His biggest joy in life was taking care of his beautiful wife. Since the 1980’s, he took part in the One-Shot Antelope Hunt as the Medicine Man for Shoshone Traditional Ceremonies.
He, along with others, would hunt providing wild game meat for the elder members of the Wind River Reservation in his youth.
Survivors include his loving wife, Connie LeClair of Riverton, Wy; sons, William Roy LeClair, II and his wife, Judy, Mark LeClair, Sr. and his wife, Gloria and Marty Vaughn LeClair and his wife, Cindy; daughter, Tracy LeClair and son, Matt Shane LeClair; 15 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and one on the way.
He was preceded in death by his parents; grandparents; two brothers, Edward and Edmo “Buddy” LeClair; two sisters, June and Mary; daughter, Leslie and adopted daughter, Gina Ablard.
Memorial contributions may be made to Help for Health Hospice Home, One-Shot Antelope Hunt, or Donor’s Choice in care of Davis Funeral Home, 2203 West Main St., Riverton, WY 82501.
On-line condolences may be made at TheDavisFuneralHome.com
Services are under the direction of Davis Funeral Home, Crematory, and Monuments.