Judge Sam Soulé died September 13, 2023 in Rock Springs, Wyoming after a long life serving and supporting his community.
Sam was born July 5, 1936 in Hampton, Virginia; the adoptive son of Hartley A. and Anne Watson Soulé. The Soulé family resided due to Hartley’s employment as the Assistant Director of Research for N.A.S.A. Sam graduated from Wofford College, Spartanburg, S.C., with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in June of 1959. He then served his country in the United States Army from January 1960 to August 1963.
Sam married Dorothy Carter and they later divorced; he then married Debora Thaxton in 1983.
Judge Soulé’s love of the West and cowboying brought him to work on Hyde Merritt Ranch in Cheyenne in June of 1965. After a series of various jobs across the state, he enrolled in the University of Wyoming College of Law, receiving his Juris Doctorate Degree in January 1971, and started practicing private law in 1972.
In April 1975 he was appointed by Wyoming Attorney General V. Frank Mendicino to serve as the Chief Administrative Attorney on the Attorney General’s staff. Sam served in that capacity and represented numerous state agencies under Attorneys Generals Mendicino, John Rooney, John Troughton and Steve Freudenthal. On April 14th, 1981, Governor Ed Herschler appointed him as the first County Court Judge for the Rock Springs Division of the Sweetwater County Court system, assuming the office on July 2, 1981. On July 1, 2000, Judge Soulé became a circuit court judge under the Wyoming legislature’s court reorganization program, serving in this position until his retirement in 2006. He then worked as a deputy attorney in the Sweetwater County Attorney’s office for six years, fully retiring in 2013.
Judge Soulé served his state and community in the following capacities: president of the Rock Springs Tennis Club, chairman of the State of Wyoming Welfare Department Advisory Council, board of trustees member Sweetwater County Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program, Adjunct Faculty at Western Wyoming College, co-chair of Cowboys Against Cancer, member and chairman of the Rock Springs BLM Advisory Council, chairman of the Sweetwater County School District #1 Finance Reorganization Committee, member of the Sweetwater County Jail Task Force, volunteering at Red Desert Roundup & Rodeo events, and a ring man for the Sweetwater County Fair 4- H livestock auction. Judge Soulé was a Past Exalted Ruler and trustee of Rock Springs Elks Lodge #624, a 32 degree Mason, and a member of the Rock Springs Rotary Club. He was also a cast member in the Western Wyoming Community College productions of Chicago and The Who’s Tommy.
Sam’s hobbies and interests included tennis, team roping, officiating at rodeos, and guitar. He was a member of a local music group Los Amigos, which he jokingly referred to as Cinco Infermo Viejos Hombres (Five Sick Old Men). As he explained it, “we were all over 63 years of age and one night we all showed up using canes.”
Survivors include his wife, Debora Thaxton Soulé, of Rock Springs; two children, Abra Soulé of Seattle, Washington; Kaylynn Soulé of St. George, Utah; four children with Dorothy Carter Soulé: Robert Soulé, Anne Crocco, Christopher Soulé, and Susan Soulé; eleven grandchildren: Charity, Chris, Faith, Grace, Ilysa, Jonathan, Joy, Nathan, Samantha, Scott, and Seth and several great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife, Dorothy Carter Soulé, and one sister, Marianne Soulé Campbell.
Following Cremation; private family services will be conducted at a later date.
The family respectfully requests donations in Sam’s memory be made to Shriners Children’s Hospital, 1275 E Fairfax Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84103 or Sweetwater County Hospice, 333 Broadway Suite 220, Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901.
Condolences may be left at www.vasefuneralhomes.com.