John S. Wold

John Schiller Wold (August 31, 1916 – February 19, 2017) was an American business executive and Republican politician from Wyoming who served a single term in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1971.[1] He was the first professional geologist to have served in Congress.[2]

John S. Wold
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's At-large district
In office
January 3, 1969  January 3, 1971
Preceded byWilliam H. Harrison
Succeeded byTeno Roncalio
Personal details
John Schiller Wold

(1916-08-31)August 31, 1916
East Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedFebruary 19, 2017(2017-02-19) (aged 100)
Casper, Wyoming, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Jane Wold
(m. 1946; died 2015)
Alma materUnion College, Cornell University


He was born on August 31, 1916 in East Orange, New Jersey. His father Peter Irving Wold was the chairman of the department of physics at Union College in Schenectady, New York.[2]

Wold graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York in 1938 and Cornell University in 1939 with degrees in geology.[3] During World War II, he served as a consulting physicist and gunnery officer for the U.S. Navy.[3] In 1949, he moved to Wyoming to work for an oil company and founded his own company, Wold Oil Properties, a year later.[4]

He entered politics in 1956, winning a seat to the Wyoming House of Representatives. He served one term from 1957 to 1959 and was the state's Republican chairman from 1960 to 1964. In 1964, he ran for the U.S. Senate against freshman incumbent Democrat Gale McGee, who won by a 54% to 46% margin. In 1968, he narrowly defeated on-again, off-again Congressman William Henry Harrison in the Republican primary before winning a decisive general election victory. Two years later, he gave up his House seat to run against incumbent Sen. Gale McGee again. He lost the race by 56% to 44% and returned to the private sector, but remained active as a Republican political donor.

Wold founded Wold Oil Properties, Inc. in 1950 in Casper, Wyoming. The company is, as of 2016, operated by his sons. In 2002, Wold made a $20 million donation to his alma mater, Union College—the biggest in its history. The American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming named Wold as the "Wyoming Citizen of the Century" in the minerals, gas, and oil category in 1999.

He died on February 19, 2017 in Casper at the age of 100.[2]


  1. Shaffer, William R. Party and Ideology in the United States Congress. University Press of America, 1980. 258.
  2. "John Wold, major Union College donor and 1938 grad, dies at 100". Daily Gazette. 2017-02-21.
  3. The Historical Encyclopedia of Wyoming, Volume 1. Wyoming Historical Institute, 1970. 253.
  4. "Casper oilman, philanthropist John Wold dies". Casper Star Tribune.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Henry Harrison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wyoming's at-large congressional district

1969 1971
Succeeded by
Teno Roncalio
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Ken Hechler
Oldest Living United States Representative
(Sitting or Former)

December 10, 2016 February 19, 2017
Succeeded by
James D. Martin
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