Roncalio, Teno, 1916-2003

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1916-03-23
Death 2003-03-30

Biographical notes:

Teno Roncalio was born March 23, 1916, in Rock Springs, Wyoming. He attended the University of Wyoming from 1937-1939 then left the state to work for Wyoming U.S. Senator Joseph O'Mahoney in Washington, D.C. During that time he began law school at Catholic University of America but interrupted his studies to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1941.

After World War II, Roncalio returned to Wyoming and graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1947. He practiced law in Cheyenne and served as deputy county and prosecuting attorney for Laramie County from 1950-1956. In 1957, he was elected chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Central Committee, serving until 1961 when President John F. Kennedy appointed him chairman of the International Joint Commission of the U.S. and Canada.

Roncalio was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1964. Two years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate but lost. In 1970, he was elected to the U.S. House again and served until 1978, then retired and returned to Wyoming to practice law. Roncalio died in Cheyenne on March 30, 2003.

From the description of Teno Roncalio papers, 1937-1978 (bulk 1960-1978) (University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center). WorldCat record id: 56388342

Former Democratic congressman Teno Roncalio was born March 23, 1916, in Rock Springs, Wyoming, the eighth of nine children of Italian immigrant parents Frank and Ernesta Roncalio. He attended the University of Wyoming from 1937 to 1939 then left the state to work for U.S. Senator Joseph O’Mahoney in Washington D.C. During that time he began law school at Catholic University of America but interrupted his studies to enlist as a private in the U.S. Army in 1941. By the following year, he was a commissioned infantry officer. He participated in a number of campaigns, earning the Silver Star for gallantry in action during the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach at Normandy, France.

After World War II, Roncalio returned to Wyoming and graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in 1947. He practiced law in Cheyenne and served as deputy county and prosecuting attorney for Laramie County from 1950 to 1956. In 1957, he was elected chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Central Committee, serving until 1961 when President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the cabinet-level position of chairman of the International Joint Commission of the United States and Canada. He served in that position until 1964.

Roncalio was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the 89th Congress in 1964. Two years later, he ran for the U.S. Senate but lost to Republican Cliff Hansen. In 1970, Roncalio was elected to the U.S. House again and served in the 92nd, 93rd, 94th, and 95th Congresses, from 1971 until 1978, when he retired and returned to Wyoming to practice law. He served a total of five terms as a U.S. Representative for the State of Wyoming. Later, he participated in Wyoming’s Big Horn adjudication of Indian Water Rights from 1979 to 1982.

While in office, Roncalio was instrumental in blocking Project Wagon Wheel, in which the Atomic Energy Commission planned to detonate nuclear devices underground in southwestern Wyoming to free natural gas from rock formations. He also played a key role in passage of strip-mining reform passed by Congress in 1977.

Roncalio was married to the former Cecelia Waters Domenico and had two sons, Frank and John, and four stepchildren.

From the guide to the Teno Roncalio Papers, 1937-1978, 1960-1978, (University of Wyoming. American Heritage Center.)

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Subjects:

  • Underground nuclear explosions--Wyoming
  • Land use--Planning--United States
  • Project Wagon Wheel
  • Underground nuclear explosions--Colorado
  • Advertising, political
  • Politicians--Wyoming
  • Nuclear energy--Government policy--United States
  • Strip mining--Law and legislation--United States
  • Underground nuclear explosions--United States
  • Coal slurry pipelines--Law and legislation--United States
  • Natural gas--Wyoming
  • Strip mining--Law and legislation
  • Politicians
  • Underground nuclear explosions
  • Nuclear energy--Government policy
  • Politicians--United States
  • Land use--Planning
  • Television advertising
  • Legislators--United States
  • Coal slurry pipelines--Law and legislation
  • Legislators
  • Natural gas

Occupations:

  • Politicians
  • Legislators

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)
  • Wyoming (as recorded)
  • Colorado (as recorded)