Harry Ptasynski of Casper, Wyoming passed away December 19, 2013 at Central Wyoming Hospice after a long battle with lung cancer. Harry “Taz” was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 26, 1926 to Stanley and Frances (Stawicki) Ptasynski. He spent his youth in Milwaukee, and graduated from St. Francis High School in 1943.
Upon graduating from high school, Taz joined the U.S. Navy where he participated in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He was discharged from the United States Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Junior Grade.
Upon leaving the Navy Taz attended Stanford University, where he was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity. Many of his fraternity brothers have remained his lifelong friends. He graduated in 1950 from Stanford with a Bachelor of Science in Geology.
Upon graduation, he went to work for Pure Oil in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Amarillo, Texas where he was first District Geologist. It was in Tulsa that he met Nola Grace Whitestine, who became his bride in Tulsa on September 15, 1951. After nearly 62 years of marriage, Nola preceded him in death on August 29, 2013.
Taz’s career with Pure Oil eventually brought him to Casper in 1955, again as District Geologist. Pure Oil discovered oil and gas in the Amarillo and Casper districts under his direction and he was respected as an oil finder.
On November 5, 1958, rather than move his young family back to Texas, as the company desired, he resigned from Pure Oil to become an independent geologist and producer and remained an active geologist/oil and gas producer from that day in 1958 until the day he died. Taz loved geology and the oil business, and often remarked that he felt he never worked a day in his life after leaving school. It was that much fun! He was a respected member of many geological and producers’ associations, an active officer of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and several other related organizations.
In addition to his profession, in years past he served as a member of the Boards of the Casper Symphony, the Nicolaysen Art Museum and the Casper College Foundation. He also served as a member of the Petroleum Investment Committee of the prestigious Stanford University School of Earth Sciences.
He was an ardent and active trout, Pacific and Atlantic salmon fisherman and pursued trophies in the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia, Alaska, Quebec, Iceland and Russia with friends or alone, making lasting friends along the way.
He and his wife, Nola Grace, traveled widely and often to Europe where they especially looked forward to ending their trip in their favorite city-Paris.
Taz was recently, and incredibly, preceded in death by his wife Nola Grace Ptasynski (died August 29, 2013), and his son Ross Frederick “Fritz” Ptasynski (died September 15, 2013). He is survived by his daughter, Lisa, of Washington State and his brother Tommy of Pickerel, Wisconsin.
He was a member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. At his request no services will be conducted. He will be cremated and interred with his recently deceased family members at Highland Cemetery in Casper.
Any memorials made in his memory to Central Wyoming Rescue Mission, Casper Humane Society, or other charity of the donor’s choice would be appreciated.