Joseph "Joe" "Cotton" and Helen While
Page by Bob Leathers
1912 July 26: Joseph Floyd While was born in Reliance, Sweetwater, Wyoming to James and Eliza (Allen) While.
1917 January 24: Helen Josephine Richmond was born on a farm near Elk City, Oklahoma.
1921: Joe While's father, James While, was killed in the Union Pacific Coal Company's No. 4 mine in Hanna when Joe was about 9 years old.
1932: Joe While was known as "Cotton" While in Hanna. He graduated from Hanna High School. He played on the State Class B Championship team.
State Class B Championship Team
March 1931: The Hanna men's basketball team won the State Class B championship under the coaching of Mr. Milam.
Hanna has just completed one of its most successful basketball seasons in its history. It has played twenty-five games winning sixteen of these. At the state tournament the team won the state championship of class B by defeating Rawlins, their old rivals, in the final game. The basketball team this year was a group of new and inexperienced players. They started practice on November 15, 1930, with a squad of fifteen, but it soon fell to thirteen. The team will lose only two of its players this year, so we can look forward to another season of many victories. (UPCCEM, May 1931)
Back row: Frank Hearne, Dan Clegg, John Wakkuri, Coach Grover Milan, Front row: Gusti Kumpala, Alex Briggs, Leonard Lucas, Joe While, Virgil Thomas. (UPCCEM, May 1931)
1932: The Hanna mens basketball team played in the Natrona County High School Basketball Tournament on March 23-24-25-26, 1932 and finished in 5th place.
I only recognize two people in the back row. Raymond Siltamaki is in the sweater and tie on the left side, and Tony Scarpelli is in the middle. (Terri Schreihart)
Joseph "Joe" While is next to Tony Scarpelli - fourth from the left. (Bob Leathers)
Graduation exercises were held at the Theatre on May 27, when a class of thirty-two received diplomas. A very interesting address was given by Professor Mallory of the University of Wyoming. Musical selections were rendered by the High School orchestra and Glee Club, a short address was given by Carlyle Pomeroy, President of the Senior Class, and a farewell address to the Senior Class by John Lee, Jr., President of the Junior Class.
(UPCCEM, July 1932)
Cotton will be remembered in basketball circles at Hanna High as being one of the best guards that has ever played for Hanna. Cotton also started his sport career in Junior High and so on up. He was for four years seen in action on Hanna basketball teams. He made letters his first two years and played a regular guard position his last two years. Joe played his guard position with exceptional ability and was the main cog in getting the Hanna offense moving in all games. Cotton was also a very dead eye shot and many a time when a game appeared lost Cotton has received the ball and made the winning basket or started the Hanna volley that has spelled victory. He did not devote all his athletic talent to basketball alone, but was a regular on the football team. For 3 years he held down the quarterback position and directed the team’s attack. He was also an exceptionally good passer and punter and the young athletes striving for his position next year will have to work hard o fill his shoes. (The Pioneer, May 1932 )
1937 May 6: Joe "Cotton" While and Helen Richmond were married in Kimball, Nebraska.
1940: Joe While was living in Bairoil, Wyoming with his wife Helen and son Robert. He was a Pipeline worker in the oil patch by occupation. (1940 US Census)
1950: Joe While was living in Casper, Wyoming with his wife Helen and son Robert and employed as a Pipe Fitter.
1968 December 17: Joe "Cotton" While died at age 56 in Casper, Natrona County, Wyoming and was buried in Rawlins, Carbon, Wyoming.
2009 May 5: Helen (Richmond) While died in Casper, Natrona, Wyoming at age 92 and was buried next to her husband Joseph "Cotton" While in Rawlins, Wyoming.
Rawlins, Wyoming Cemetery