Richard Byron Whaley

Dec. 1, 1932 – Sept. 30, 2020

Longtime Shell Creek resident and local historian Richard Byron Whaley, 87, told his last story the evening of Sept. 29. A short time later, on the morning of Sept. 30, he peacefully took his last breath to the sound of a very dear friend’s voice on the phone with his daughter, Cynthia, at his side.

Richard was born Dec. 1, 1932, to Thomas and Franie Whaley of Shell. 

After serving in the Army and Wyoming National Guard, he married Jolene Smith in 1961. Together, they had their only child, Cynthia. 

In 1980 he married Ruth Elliott Stouffer, and they were married for 20 years when she sadly passed of cancer. Her sons are David and John (Nancy) Stouffer. John has one daughter, Jennifer (Mark) Roth with their three daughters. During these years they built a few homes in the Shell area and took great pride in things like the bent wood spiral staircase in Doc Miller’s home and the cabin on Black Mountain that he and Ruth labored to build together. 

We are sure Richard had a story or two for St. Peter before passing through the pearly gates into the arms of Ruth and his grandson, Colter Knox, who passed in 2017 at age 30.

He was a great storyteller, most of which stem from a wealth of personal adventures and life experiences. He could spend hours regaling friends and family with old memories and colorful accounts of people, places and events. Those of you who knew Richard know just how true this was.

He was preceded in death by all his siblings: Thomas, Chester, James, Genevieve, Robert and adopted sister Mabel. About half of his nieces and nephews have passed, as well.

Richard is survived by his present wife, Judy, and her sons Ken and Kevin (Leslie) Wall and daughter Cynthia (Guy) Lanahan and their son Zachary Knox. Special nephew, Jack Wright, did not let something like divorce keep him from being close to his uncle Richard. They shared many drives from Shell to Cody with Richard chatting the miles away.

Friends and family are invited to a celebration and sharing of his life and stories at the Shell Community Hall on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, at 11 a.m. A meal will be served. 

A memorial fund has been set up at Big Horn Federal Bank in Cody. Beneficiaries will be the Shell Ambulance Crew and Shell Community Hall as well as a lighted flag pole at Richard’s house. He was a true patriot. You may reach his daughter Cynthia Lanahan via e-mail at
An online guestbook is available at