LUSK – Joe Tully, 73, of Lusk passed away on Dec. 1 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha due to complications from multiple myeloma.
Joseph Kane Tully was born Dec. 4, 1946, to Joseph “J.J.” James and Mary Elizabeth (Kane) Tully in Rawlins.
J.J., from Boston, and Mary, a native of Chicago, moved to Wyoming in 1945 after J.J.’s service during World War II. Joe attended grades K-8 at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Rawlins and graduated in 1965 from Rawlins High School. During his youth, Joe was active in sports including baseball and football.
After high school, Joe earned a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wyoming and later a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from UW in 1990. At UW, Joe was active in Sigma Chi fraternity.
Joe met his wife, Wava Brown, while attending UW. They were married on March 22, 1969 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rawlins. Soon after, they began their family with the birth of their first daughter Bridget, followed by their second daughter, Tami, and their third daughter, Kellie Jo.
Joe began his teaching and coaching career in Nebraska at Beaver Valley Schools in Lebanon followed by four years in Ravenna. During their time in Ravenna, Joe was instrumental in establishing the girls high school sports program shortly after the passage of Title IX in 1972.
In 1978, the family moved to Lusk, where Joe continued his teaching and coaching career until retirement in 2008. Over this 30-year period, Joe taught middle school science, coached high school girls’ volleyball and basketball, middle school track, and assisted with high school football and boys basketball. Special moments include winning four state football championships and serving as the Assistant Coach at the Shrine Bowl with his friend Jerry Fullmer. In 2002, Joe became principal of Niobrara County High School where he was recognized as Wyoming’s Principal of the Year in 2006. After 38 years in education Joe retired in 2008. His teaching values were evident in every conversation or interaction with students, athletes, colleagues, friends and family, especially with his seven grandchildren.
Joe had many loves, including love of his wife, being a father, grandfather, uncle and brother, the fellowship of dear friends, teaching and coaching, his community, the Wyoming Cowboys, the Denver Broncos, his dog Cassie, his Irish heritage and mowing his lawn.
Joe served his community in many ways including positions on the boards of Niobrara County Hospital, Helpmate Crisis Center, Niobrara Country Club, City Council, as well as several committees for Wyoming’s Department of Education. He was recognized as Lusk’s Citizen of the Year on two different occasions.
Joe is survived by his wife of 51 years, Wava; his three daughters Bridget (Andy) Anspauch of Grand Island, Neb.; Tami (Stephen) Zamborelli of Monument, Colo.; and Kellie Jo (Kevin) Allison of Gillette; seven grandchildren; Brenan, Kerrigan (Chris), Aidan, Lainee, Tully, Andrew and Lucy; his brother Thomas (Diane) Tully of The Villages, Fla., and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Mary Tully, and his sister, Patsy Hinman.
Pier Funeral Home of Lusk is in charge of arrangements.
A private burial will be held in December at the Lusk Cemetery with a public celebration of Joe’s life to be held in the Spring of 2021. Any memorial donations received will be used to establish a scholarship in his name for any NCHS graduate pursuing a degree in STEM education from a Wyoming college. Donations may be directed to: NCHS Alumni Golf Tournament, RE: Joe Tully; PO Box 691, Lusk, WY 82225.