BIG PINEY — Katie said “the stork didn’t bring her, Santa Claus did!”
It was December 25, 1928. Lucy Walker arrived to serve as mid-wife. Katie’s sisters, Beulah and May were dispatched to fetch Dr. Looney who was playing cards at the Farrell Bar, and in due time, Inez Finnegan gave birth to Kathleen Ann. She was born in their house (next to where Charlene Tracy lives now) at Big Piney.
Edward D. and Inez Thomas Daniels Finnegan had son Edward Jr. and three nearly grown children, Clifford, Beulah, and May, from her previous marriage to “Dutch” Daniels, who was killed in World War One. Edward and Katie grew up in Big Piney except for times when their parents worked on ranches.
One summer was spent living in a sheep wagon when they herded sheep for Fears.
The Finnegans were working at a Tie Camp and were going to be snowed in one winter. Edward and Katie were sent to Ed’s family in Mt. View for that school year.
The Finnegan’s started a dairy in Big Piney. Katie and Edward Jr. (Finn) delivered milk both morning and night.
There was a CCC camp near town at that time so the family was kept busy providing milk for everyone.
When they moved to the Corder Place west of Big Piney, they still had the dairy but delivered milk once a day. Then they bought the Harry Springman ranch about the time the kids were starting high school. They were still milking cows but gave that up when Edward joined the service and Katie couldn’t always make it through the snow to town to deliver milk and attend school.
Between her junior and senior year, Katie was an extra in the movie, “Bad Bascom” that was being filmed near Jackson. She became good friends with Carol Ann Beery, daughter of the actor Wallace Beery. Katie was invited to spend her senior year with Carol Ann and her father in California. Katie said it was more than a school education for her, it was a real education to live in the city and especially in Beverly Hills.
After graduation, she came back to Jackson with the Beerys who had a cabin on Jackson Lake.
She went back to California and intended to go to UCLA but was discouraged at the long lines to get registered and found a job in a bank instead. She drove in the city but didn’t have a license. Instead, she carried a letter from Wallace Beery saying it was okay for her to drive.
The next summer, Katie was hired at the Jackson State Bank in Jackson, Wyoming and worked there for the next four years. She met and married Wayne Bardin and she continued to work in the bank while they lived at Battle Mountain Lodge in the Hoback Basin.
Their daughter Pennie was born in Jackson not long before the family moved to Evanston where Wayne helped build, then managed a new Texaco station. Wayne was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the National Guard at the time their son Bardy was born.
The Bardins moved back to Big Piney and Wayne helped build the compressor station southwest of town. They were living on the ranch with Katie’s parents at the Finnegan place when their son, Chris was born.
They moved to Provo, Utah when Chris was six weeks old. Katie starting working in the State Bank of Big Piney a few years later and continued to work there for twenty-seven years until retirement.
Katie and Wayne were divorced. Later she married Joe King and after their divorce, she returned to Big Piney.
Katie had varied interests and many friends to share her interests. She was an active member of the Episcopal Church, served on the Museum Board, and was a member of Eastern Star. She was a guardian of Job’s Daughters, served on the School Board, and is a past member of the Senior Citizen’s Board. She was past president of the American Legion Auxiliary in Jackson and received her 75 years membership pin from there. Later, she became a member of the Big Piney American Legion Auxiliary. She has been a regular at the Senior Center on meal days and often takes part in the activities sponsored by the Senior Center.
Katie always felt that the best part of all her community service was the 34 years that she worked with Campfire girls. She began when Pennie was a Campfire girl.
She continued to spend a week in the mountains at summer camp when her granddaughters Taylor, Amy, and Katie were Campfire girls. She had fond memories of working with Madge Funk, Bonnie Weber, and Ruth Hendricks and all the people who helped with camp.
Katie used to do a lot of crafts but reading was her favorite pastime until macular degeneration limited her sight.
About that time, the gift of companionship between Chuck Porter and Katie King flourished. Their attention, care and support of each other was legend. They encouraged one another through medical hardships, as well as family joys and sadness. His passing left a great void.
Katie was then joined in companionship by dear friend and chauffeur, Helena Linn.
Katie is survived by a daughter, Pennie (Gary) Espeland of Laramie, Wyoming; son Chris (Jill Iverson) Bardin of Sandy, Utah. She also leaves grandchildren Taylor (Brandon) Leingang of Mandan, North Dakota; Jason (Aeron) Orr o Sandy, Utah; Anders (Robin) Espeland of Laramie; Katie (Dag) Espeland Eidem of Troudheim, Norway and Amy (Jeff) Smith of Evanston, Wyoming. She has seven great-grandchildren and loving nieces Rusty, Carolynn, and Marilynn and nephew Bobby.
Katie was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Inez; siblings Clifford, Beulah, May, and brother Edward Jr.; son Bardy Bardin; grandsons Garrett, Matt, and Jess Bardin; nieces Carmen Preuit and Jeanne Shaffer; nephew Russell Daniels, and great friend Chuck Porter. Katie liked being at home where her roots grew deep and her family tree grew tall.
A memorial luncheon will be held Friday, January 19th at 12 noon at the Marbleton Senior Center.
If friends wish, memorial donations can be made to Southwest Sublette County Senior Center in Marbleton at PO Box 33, Big Piney, WY 83113.