Today we celebrate the life of Judge Elizabeth “Betty” Kail. She passed on March 11th at age 81 in Lander, Wyoming, surrounded by family and good friends.
Betty was born on October 24, 1935 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She lived in Farmington, Utah until Junior High, when her parents, Art and Ann Oeland, moved her and her sister, Susan, to Lander, Wyoming, where she would spend the rest of her life.
After high school, Betty attended the University of Wyoming, where she received both her undergraduate and law degrees, graduating from law school in 1959. She was an active member of Kappa Delta and was a majorette for the Wyoming Cowboys.
As a young, woman lawyer, Betty practiced law with her father, Art, in Lander, during a time when it was not uncommon to trade legal services for chicken dinners. It was one of the most special times of her life.
In 1961 Betty married Joseph “Max” Kail in Honolulu Hawaii, and in 1970 she gave birth to her only child, Jared. Betty and Max were later divorced, but remained respectful of one another until the day they died.
Betty became the first female County Court Judge in Wyoming, and later would be appointed by Governor Mike Sullivan as the first woman District Court Judge in the state in 1982. Throughout her career, Judge Kail pioneered the field of law for women in her beloved state, encouraging and inspiring other women to follow. Her steady hand, reasonable nature and empathy from the bench earned her the respect of her peers. She retired from law in 1994.
Judge Kail served on the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees from 1994 to 1999, eventually acting as President, all the while working tirelessly for the institution she loved and respected.
“Sister Kail” was a devout member of the LDS Church, in which she had many wonderful friends that held special places in her heart. She always felt blessed to be a part of their lives.
Elizabeth “Betty” Kail was preceded in death by her father, Art Oeland; her mother Ann (Billings) Oeland; and her sister, Susan (Oeland) Boedeker. She is survived by her son Jared Kail (Joanna), Lander WY; grand-daughters McKenna and Seneca Kail, Lander WY; nephew Dale Boedeker (Karen), Gillette WY; and great-nieces Megan (Sheridan, WY) and Kelsey Boedeker (South Heart, SD). She was also survived by three step-sons, Dick (Carmel), Don and Dan (Michelle) Kail; step grandchildren Brittani Kail, Danielle Boggis, Jade Kail, Cindy Steinmetz, Lisa Measels, Travis Wesnitzer and Marisa Wesnitzer; and their families; and many good friends and colleagues.
Services for Judge Kail will be held on Thursday, March 16th, at 2:00pm at the Lander Community Center. Donations in her name can be made to the Wyoming Children’s Law Center online at wyoclc.org or sent to 453 North 6th Street, Laramie, WY 82072.
Online Condolence Guestbook: www.HudsonsFuneralHome.com
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