Thomas John Borgialli was the first of six children born to Charley and Ruth (Van Sickle) Borgialli. He came into this world November 18, 1931 in the Orville Stevens house in Newcastle, Wyoming.
The “Cowboy” way was installed early in Tom’s life, as he worked alongside his dad on the family homestead southwest of Newcastle until he was out of school. Tom would tell stories how by the age of six he was outside harnessing a team of horses getting them ready to either head to town or to the fields for work. Tom attended grade school at the Borgialli School House on the family ranch through eighth grade when he started going to Newcastle High School and graduated with the class of 1951. During high school Tom was involved in football, track, FFA and rode rough stock all four years.
After high school Tom received a scholarship to play football for Chadron State College in Nebraska. Being the cowboy, he was, he continued to ride rough stock over the summer and actually got hurt, he never got to play football.
It was shortly after that happened Tom was drafted into the U.S Army in 1952 and served during the Korean Conflict as a supply driver. In 1954 he was honorably discharged and returned home to Wyoming. Trying to decide what he wanted to do, Tom worked in the oilfield and on the family ranch. He met his partner and the love of his life Mary Lou Arno of Buffalo, Wyoming. The two married March 1 1956 and made their home in Newcastle where Mary Lou was a teacher and Tom continued life in the oilfield. Tom and Mary Lou lived in Newcastle until
June 1957 when they moved to Buffalo and bought a ranch on Clear Creek East of town.
As Tom and Mary Lou settled in to new roles as ranch owners, they also started a family, having seven children; Jane, Dan, Craig, Jim, Shirley, John and Dave.
As the ranch began to form, Tom raised Herford’s but as the kids got older and they made Clear Creek home they tried having a little bit of everything, whether it be, chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, horses or milk cows. Tom eventually went along with the market, and settled on raising Black Angus. Trying to make ends meet and keep his own ranch going, Tom worked for neighbors during the winter months helping with feeding or any day work that needed done. During the spring and summer months, Tom started custom farming and haying for neighbors up and down the creek, and all over Johnson County as well as doing his own place. Tom grew his operation little by little leasing places in Johnson County and eventually had 400 mother cows.
Tom finally decided that his herd had expand enough to buy another place. In 1993 he and his son went in together and bought a place between Buffalo and Gillette. With the help of his son and grandsons; Tom ran both places along with some leased land, and continued custom haying until his death in 2014.
Tom was a true rancher and cowboy, there was never a job that was too big for him to tackle. During the branding months, you could always find him holding a branding iron, putting the “Diamond Slash T” on his cattle. If you asked Tom, no one could do the brand quite like him, he would critique his kids and grandkids saying “that’s not quite right”. Tom was able to doctor sick animals and saddle a horse with the best of them.
Tom was a man who was more than willing to help anyone with anything, he didn’t like the spot light, and would prefer to be in the background. He was the type of man, if you needed the shirt off his back that’s what he would do. There were many times, where Tom would put his own ranches needs on hold to help his neighbors. It didn’t matter if a tractor was down, hay needed to be baled, or cows needed to be hauled, Tom was always a phone call away. If you ask anyone on Clear Creek, many of them would say that Tom was “the best neighbor” you could ask for.
Giving back to the community was something that came naturally for Tom. He served on the Johnson County Weed & Pest Board, Lake DeSmet Conversation District, and was also an election judge. He held all of these positions for over twenty years. Tom was a buyer at the Johnson County Junior Livestock sale and donated equipment, labor, and other resources for several projects at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.
At the age 82, my grandpa suddenly left us, doing what he loved, where he loved to be, working his cows on his ranch.