Della Maier Vivion
Prominent Rawlins businesswoman and community leader, Della Maier Vivion died August 11, 2016 in Casper, Wyoming. Born in Sheridan, she was the daughter of Edna Fauver and Joseph A. Maier. Active in a wide variety of civic and community affairs, Della served as the first woman Mayor of Rawlins from 1987-1989. She was devoted to her family and the community, and worked tirelessly on behalf of innumerable causes including the revitalization of downtown Rawlins, historic preservation, and fostering support for the arts throughout the state of Wyoming.
An innovative entrepreneur, she established The Cedar Chest in 1976, with a major move and expansion in 1980 and a second expansion, including the addition of a fine art gallery in 1984. In 1985, she opened a second gallery and gift shop combination in Saratoga. Della was the founding member and charter president of the Downtown Merchants Association, was named “Woman of the Year” by the American Association of University Women and was the recipient of the prestigious Chamber of Commerce President’s Award. Her related professional affiliations include the Advisory Council of the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Chamber of Commerce.
Consistently focused on Wyoming’s heritage and its future, Della served with distinction on the Board of Directors of the Wyoming Community Development Authority, the Wyoming Arts Council, the University of Wyoming Art Museum, and as president of the Carbon County Resource Council. She also served as the State Board member for both the American Association of University Women and Wyoming Republican Women, was president of the Wyoming Woolgrowers Auxiliary, and for several years directed and coordinated statewide publicity and public relations for these three organizations. Della served on the Executive Committee of the Republican Party and was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1980. Committed to public service and philanthropy, Della was a member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church where she served as Christian education chairman and was a member of the Altar Guild. She served on the Board of Directors for Head Start, was chairman of the COVE board, president of Church Women United and the League of Women Voters, as well as a Red Cross volunteer. Her love of the community and its residents manifested itself in countless acts of kindness and generous, quiet philanthropy which she made part of every day; an inspiration and example to all.
Della graduated from Sheridan High School and attended Park College in Parkville, Missouri before transferring to the University of Wyoming where she warned a B.A. degree in journalism, minoring in French economics. She later completed graduate work in fine arts and creative writing in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. Her work was published in trade journals, newspapers, and poetry anthologies.
For all of the things Della gave to the community and to the State; she gave the most of herself, the best of herself to her family. She is survived by daughters, Valri Vivion of Denver, Colorado, Kristin (William) Thompson of Casper, Wyoming, and Mary Vivion-Withrow (Bradley) of Mesa, Arizona; nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, longtime Carbon County rancher, Vern Vivion, and her brother Joseph F. Maier.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm Saturday, August 27, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Rawlins.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Wyoming Art Museum, 1000 E. University Avenue, Dept. 3807, Laramie, WY 82071, the Cathedral Home for Children, 4989 N. 3rd Street, Laramie, WY 82072, or charities of your choice.
Bustard’s Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.