A Mike Enzi campaign sign positioned next to the main entrance to the Gillette College Pronghorn Center on Friday, Aug. 6A Life Well Lived

Hundreds mourn death of Former U.S. Senator Mike Enzi

The mournful sound of a lone bugle broke the deafening silence that followed 21 rifle reports inside the Gillette College Pronghorn Center Friday afternoon.

Some bowed their heads solemnly as the bugle played the hallowed notes of Taps while others stared straight ahead, their stance rigid and proud as they raised their right hands to their brow in salute to former U.S. Senator and Gillette mayor Michael “Mike” B. Enzi who lay concealed beneath a draped American Flag before them.

Hundreds of pairs of eyes watched silently; not one person present uttered a sound as members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard ceremoniously folded the American Flag and presented it with a few softly spoken words to his wife, Diana, who sat in the front row, mere meters away from her husband of 52 years.

It was a life well-lived, Brad Enzi said moments before of his father’s dedication to his unwavering faith in God, his undying love for his family, and his steadfast devotion to his many friendships formed over a lifetime of public service.

Many were present to pay their respects during the Aug. 6 memorial service celebrating the life of Mike Enzi. Some had come to know him from his two and a half decades serving as a U.S. Senator in Washington D.C. Others, as a Wyoming legislator or as the former mayor of the City of Gillette.

Some knew him as a problem solver, who created a list of what needed to be done and set out and just did them, Brad said, adding that his father accomplished many things as a public servant for Gillette, for Wyoming, and for the United States.

But while many of the accomplishments, some signed by four U.S. Presidents, lined the walls of his office, those feats of hard work and discipline were not what Mike Enzi would use to quantify a life well-lived, Brad said.

“No matter what title he was working under whether senator, mayor, grandpa, dad, or husband he always prioritized his work in this order: faith, family, friends, and fishing,” he stated.

Faith

Our dad, and subsequently our household, lived his life according to a family motto, adopted from a children’s sermon and is inscribed on a stone outside the Enzi home in Gillette: Trust in God and push ahead, said daughter Emily Enzi.

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“We have a deep tradition of faith,” she continued, adding that her dad always started his day with a devotional.

“If my dad’s life were a prayer, I think it would sound like this ‘Gracious God, I begin this day with a gratitude attitude for the gift of life, intellect, emotion, strength, fortitude, and courage. I am privileged to live in this free land that has been blessed by you’,” Emily said, reading from a devotional book titled Quiet Moments with God. “Thank you for the problems that will make me more dependent on you for guidance and strength.

When I have turned to you in the past, you have given me the skills that I needed. Thank you, Lord, for taking me where I am with all my human weaknesses and using me for your glory. You pour out your wisdom and guidance when in humility I call out to you for help. I am profoundly grateful lord.”

His faith in God was at the core of everything he did, whether it was praying daily for his peers in public service and completing a daily devotional, or praying at a weekly breakfast in Washington D.C., Brad added.

“His faith was unshaken and confident in what he hoped for and was a conviction of things that cannot be seen,” he said.

Family

“But the thing I know, I know, know, know in my heart that the thing he treasured most was family,” Brad said, adding that Mike Enzi’s passion for his family was unbridled and his belief in their potential was unrestricted.

He recalled once that his father flew into Denver and drove to Cheyenne just to hold his newly born grandbaby for a second time before driving back to Denver and flying back to Washington D.C. a few hours later for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

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“He wasn’t missing family,” Brad said. The love for his family is easily visible in pictures and events, such as when he handed off his daughters at their respective weddings or during whole family celebrations.

To the Enzi’s, family also meant tradition, according to Emily, who said that every year the Enzi family partook in special family traditions like drinking green milkshakes on St. Patrick’s Day, weekly popcorn and movie nights, and a Christmas morning puzzle.

“But there is nothing in this life that my dad was more proud of than his wife of 52 years,” Brad said, addressing his mother directly. “Mom, I’ve never seen in my life a man more proud, more enamored, and more googly-eyed. His best friend and confidant from the day you were introduced. You only need to look at photos where he looks at you and not at the camera to remember his love for you. You were his greatest treasure here on this earth.”A Life Well Lived

Friends

Mike Enzi’s love for his friends in the City of Gillette, the Wyoming legislature, the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and in Washington D.C. was unparalleled, according to Brad.

He treasured memories from family and friends, so much so that his only request on Christmas, Father’s Day, and on his birthday was that everyone write down a memory, any memory, and give it to him, Emily said.

Dozens of relationships were formed over a successful political career and within the walls of the First Baptist Church in Gillette.

Other relationships were formed on the campaign trail, such as during ice cream socials that the Enzi’s hosted first during Mike Enzi’s run for Mayor of Gillette from their shoe store and later on the road during his campaign for U.S. Senate.

“Looking around this room, I see many of you that helped us scoop some ice cream at those ice cream socials,” Emily said with a smile.

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Others still were touched by his thoughtfulness that began while he was mayor when a lack of city funding preventing him from giving out Christmas bonuses to hard-working, short-staffed city employees during the height of the oil boom created a tradition of gifting cookies and other sweets as a heartfelt thank you. That tradition lasted nearly three decades and carried on to Washington D.C.

“I would like to say they baked over a bazillion cookies,” Emily laughed. “But at least two dozen a year and, over 24 years, that really adds up.”

On others, Mike Enzi left a notable impression with his vast knowledge on a plethora of topics and problems, with his innate ability to devise solutions, and his willingness to listen to problems, daughter Amy Enzi said.

“He was a learner, and his sources were books, people, and on the job training,” Amy said, adding that he was always willing to make a trip to the library if he wanted to learn about something and every book read garnered a detailed book report for future reference.

She said that Mike Enzi was always talking to people about what he read, seeking input from experts, and was constantly reminding her and her siblings that their job was to read, communicate, and talk with those around them.A Life Well Lived

Fishing

Mike Enzi’s love of fishing was well documented, Brad said, evidenced by the dozen or so pictures playing in a slideshow in the Pronghorn Center that showed him smiling and holding fish.

“There is not a bigger smile than when he had a bigger fish,” Brad recalled. “The water was his church; it was his place of resting and it was where he found peace.”

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For every trip, he approached it with the same methodical approach from what flies he was going to take and what rod he needed to who he was going with and what he wanted to share while he was there.

Watching him on the water, Brad said, you knew that you would never love the sport more than him, that you would never outwork him in the water, and you would never get more joy from the experience of time shared every second with every treasure replayed.

Godspeed

“If we were so lucky to have big Mike sitting here with us, here in his chair and not just in spirit, he would tell us all to hold each other tighter,” Brad said. “He would tell us all to share more of our memories. He would tell us all to get more done, to cherish our time because time is the most valuable resource.

Remember what’s really important, do your best, and treat others the way they want to be treated. By any name—Dad, Mike, Mr. Mayor, Representative, Senator...Daddy—thank you for including us in your life well-lived. Rest well, Godspeed, tight lines, oh good and faithful servant.”

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A flag displayed over 4-J Road in honor of Former Senator Mike Enzi

Campbell County Sheriff's Office deputies were also on scene to assist with security.

Gillette Police assisted with security at the event, blocking off several entrances to the GC Pronghorn Center