Charles Nicholls Monk was born under a tree. At least that’s what he always told his kids and grandkids. The facts are, he was born in an old railroad boxcar, turned into a house, situated under a tree just on the Lovell side of the Shoshone River. It was on March 9, 1935.
Charlie was the oldest child born to Leo Jones Monk and Cassie Olevia Nicholls Monk. The family eventually grew to nine children, four boys and five girls. He grew up on a farm and learned to work hard at an early age. He started herding sheep on the sand hills with his grandpa at the age of seven. He always swore he saw a mountain lion hiding in a tree while he was tending the sheep. He knew how to take care of a team, harness and drive them and use all the implements available to their farm at that time.
He attended school in Cowley. Many of his classmates have been lifelong friends. One of his happiest memories was being part of the 1952 State Championship Basketball team. He graduated in 1953 and attended Northwest College for one semester.
In February of 1954 he began his career with Big Horn Rural Electric Company. He studied and worked and became a lineman with a healthy respect for electricity. With his friendly personality, it was a perfect fit. He was known all over Big Horn County and was welcome in places where others were pushed out.
He married Dorothy Irene Burnham in December of 1954. To this union four children were born: David, Jan, Diane, and Renae. Charlie believed in teaching his children to work hard. They raised sheep, nurse cows, and eventually beef cattle. The kids all had chores to do and were expected to complete them before food or fun. He loved his children with an unfathomable depth. Unfortunately, this union ended in divorce.
Charlie held tightly and quietly to his deep faith and his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served as Scout Master, Stake Missionary, Sunday School President, Young Men’s President, Executive Secretary and Bishop’s Counselor. His influence on people is still a guiding force in many lives.
He began his years of public service when he was elected to the School Board for Big Horn School District #28 (Cowley) in 1963. It began a long and distinguished career; 4-H leader, Sidon Irrigation Board, Cowley Riding Club President, Pioneer Day Committee Chair, South-End Water Users Board, Lovell National Bank Director, Bank of Bridger Director, Big Horn County Commissioner, Wyoming Outfitters Association, Cody Outfitters and Guides Association, Big Horn Basin Fox Trotters Association, Big Horn Mountain Marketing Coalition, Big Horn Basin Authority, Big Horn REA Board, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Board, State of Wyoming Department of Transportation Commission, and others.
In 1964 he took his first trip in the Thorofare Wilderness at the borders of Yellowstone National Park. That trip changed his life and brought him into the business arena. He started Charles N. Monk Outfitter and Guide and took many clients on hunting trips, pleasure trips, and fishing trips into the Thorofare and on the Big Horn Mountains. Later, he was a partner in Century 21 Real Estate in Powell.
In 1984 he married Donna Mae Asay and her five children: Geranne, Tyrie, Kovi, Shaylee, and Tobee. He loved them as his own and taught them the value of hard work and living a worthy life.
Charlie lived a big life of work, fun, service, and love. He died on August 4, 2023, in Lovell, Wyoming. He will be missed by those who are left behind: wife, Donna; son, Dave (Sherie) Monk; daughter, Jan (Stan) Asay; daughter, Diane (Richard) Busteed; daughter, Renae (Brad) Wolvington; daughter, Geranne (Brent) Rasmussen; daughter Tyrie (Vernon) Fenton; son Kovi (Kandi) Christiansen; daughter, Shaylee (Ben) Kearsley; son, Tobee (Jenny) Christiansen; 30 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren; brothers, Jay, Nick, and Tom Monk; sisters, Genieve Frei, Mary Beth Gulbransen, Barbara Waring, and Ethel King. Preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Cassie Monk, and sister, Darlene Painter.