Patricia Jo Nagel
September 24, 1942 – January 30, 2021 (age 78)
Patricia Jo (Pat) Nagel died on January 30, 2021, of complications following a fall. She was 78.
Pat was born in Montana on September 24, 1942, not long before her father Robert left for service in WWII. The family settled in Casper in the late 1940s. She graduated from Natrona County High School and then attended the University of Wyoming. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert (Bob) Nagel, in 1963. During his service in the military, they lived in New Mexico, where she graduated from New Mexico State University in 1965, with honors in political science.
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Following her graduation, Bob’s job took the couple to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There, she harnessed her creative talents and became an interior designer, a vocation as well as a lifelong love. After daughter Stacia was born, Pat’s passion for educating children was ignited, and, together with Bob, she founded Cedar Valley Montessori School. With little Stacia in tow, the family moved back to Casper in 1973, when Bob joined his father at Nagel Motors, and daughter Susanna was born.
Pat brought her vision of Montessori education to Casper, and in 1974 helped found Meadowlark Montessori School, the first Montessori school in Casper. She was immersed in community activities in Casper, including the Casper Service League and PEO, the Symphony Home Tour, and the Garden Walk. Ever interested in youth and education, Pat chaired the board of Mercer House, a youth service agency, served on the United Way Allocation and Admissions Committee, and was appointed as President of the Standards Board of Natrona County Academy. She was also a charter member of the Business Advisory Council, a private business group that developed initiatives to reform local public education.
In 1980, she enrolled at the University of Wyoming College of Law, commuting between Casper and Laramie. She was a senior editor of the Land and Water Law Review and graduated with a J.D. in 1983. Following graduation, she clerked for Judge Robert Forrister, and was briefly in private practice. Pat then became Co-Director of the Wyoming Futures Project, along with Linda Nix, and they later formed Nagel and Nix, a consulting firm specializing in small business and non-profit organizations.
Pat put her political science degree to good use when she was elected in 1992 to the Wyoming State House of Representatives. She was reelected four times and retired in 2002. During her time in the legislature, she was Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Revenue Committee. In 1997, the Governor appointed her to Wyoming’s first Juvenile Justice Commission. Pat also represented Wyoming on the first Federal Home Loan Bank’s Advisory Council on Affordable Housing and was Chair of the Wyoming Community Development Authority.
Travel and adventure were central to Pat’s life. In 1999, she received a prestigious Japan Society Fellowship and spent several months in Japan studying juvenile justice issues. Pat served as crew on a boat delivery from New York, through the Panama Canal, to Decatur Island in the San Juan Islands, Washington, where she spent many summers with Bob, her daughters, and grandchildren. In New Zealand, she hiked the Milford track and tackled the Tongariro Crossing, and enjoyed traveling in Europe and Asia. Pat and Bob spent parts of recent years at their home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. An avid reader who loved sharing book recommendations, she will be missed by her book clubs in Mexico and Casper, and by her many friends.
Pat was a passionate cook with a gift for hospitality, and family, friends, and neighbors enjoyed everything from formal parties to casual get-togethers at her historic home. She loved gardening and was often seen planting bulbs around town with the Bulb Society and tending the plants in her own lovely garden. Her Little Free Library outside her house was the first in Casper.
Pat’s accomplishments were many, but none was more important than her relationships with her husband, girls, and grandchildren. Her daughters and grandchildren were privileged to grow up surrounded by the love she had with Bob. That beautiful marriage provided a strong foundation for passing on her values of caring for others, kindness, and curiosity about the world.
Preceded in death by her husband Bob in 2019, Pat is survived by two daughters in Casper, Stacia Vigneri (Dr. Sam Vigneri), and Susanna Nagel; grandchildren Hunter, Harper, and Hannah Hatch, and Lucia, Benjamin, and Robert Vigneri; brother Mike McKeown (Ardeth Lobet) of Auckland, New Zealand; sister Judge Margaret McKeown (Peter Cowhey) of La Jolla, California; and sister-in-law Susie Goode (Denny) of Atlanta.
Donations in her honor may be made to the Wyoming PBS Foundation or the Nagel Family Scholarship at Casper College.
A virtual memorial service will take place on Sunday, February 14 at 3:00pm MST. The link can be found under her information at bustardcares.com.