Edwin Keith Thomson

Edwin Keith Thomson (February 8, 1919 – December 9, 1960), usually known as Keith Thomson, was a United States Representative from Wyoming. A highly decorated World War II veteran, Thomson served three terms in Wyoming's only U.S. House seat. On November 8, 1960, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, but died a month later of a heart attack before taking office.

Edwin Keith Thomson
United States Senator
from Wyoming
In office
January 3, 1961 (Scheduled)  Died before term began
Preceded byJoseph C. O'Mahoney
Succeeded byJohn J. Hickey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1955  December 9, 1960
Preceded byWilliam Henry Harrison
Succeeded byWilliam Henry Harrison
Member of the Wyoming House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1919-02-08)February 8, 1919
Newcastle, Wyoming
DiedDecember 9, 1960(1960-12-09) (aged 41)
Cody, Wyoming
Cause of deathHeart attack
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Thyra Thomson
ChildrenThree sons
ResidenceCheyenne, Wyoming
Alma materUniversity of Wyoming
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1941 - 1946
RankLieutenant Colonel
Battles/warsWorld War II

Early life

Born in Newcastle, Wyoming, he grew up on a ranch in Crook County and attended public schools in Beulah, Wyoming, and Spearfish, South Dakota. He graduated in 1941 from the University of Wyoming Law School in Laramie. While in law school he met his wife, Thyra Godfrey Thomson, and they were married in 1939.[1]

Military service

Thomson was called to active duty on March 24, 1941 and commanded the Second Battalion, Three Hundred and Sixty-second Infantry Regiment, Ninety-first Division. He was released from active duty as a lieutenant colonel on January 24, 1946. He had been admitted to the bar in 1941 and commenced the practice of law in Cheyenne in February 1946; he was a delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention in Chicago and was a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1952 to 1954.

Political career

Thomson was elected as a member of the Republican party to the Eighty-fourth, Eighty-fifth, and Eighty-sixth Congresses and served from January 3, 1955, until his death. He did not seek renomination to the Eighty-seventh Congress, but was elected to the United States Senate on November 8, 1960, for the term commencing January 3, 1961. However, he died of a heart attack in Cody, Wyoming in December, before his term in the Senate began. Democratic Governor John J. Hickey appointed himself to the seat but was defeated in a 1962 special election to serve out the term by Republican Milward L. Simpson. Thomson was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Following Thomson's death, his wife Thyra Thomson was elected in 1962 as Wyoming Secretary of State. She was re-elected to five more terms, and served in that office for twenty-four years, until 1987.[2][3][4]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William H. Harrison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

January 3, 1955  December 9, 1960
Succeeded by
William H. Harrison

See also


  1. "Former Sec. of State Thyra Thomson dies," Billings Gazette (Wyoming), John Barron, June 12, 2013.
  2. Mark Junge, "The Wind is My Witness: A Wyoming Album", Roberts Rinehart, 1997.
  3. "Former Sec. of State Thyra Thomson dies," Billings Gazette, June 12, 2013.
  4. Obituary
  • United States Congress. "Edwin Keith Thomson (id: T000229)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • Edwin Keith Thomson at Find a Grave
  • The Edwin Keith Thomson papers at the American Heritage Center
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