The community is grieving this week after longtime Basin teacher, coach, mayor and councilmen Phil Juillard, 78, died Sunday, March 5, in Casper.
Juillard, who taught and coached in Basin, Burlington, Greybull, Manderson, Ten Sleep, Fort Washakie and Pine Bluffs, was in Casper watching the 1A and 2A state basketball tournament.
“If there was a good way to go, basketball was Phil’s way,” said Basin town councilman Brent Godfrey.
Juillard was born in 1938 in Ohio. After growing up and majoring in music and physical education and marrying his wife of 57 years, Dorothy, Juillard moved his family to Wyoming in 1964. Together, they had six children.
He and his family arrived in Basin in the 1970s, and Juillard quickly became an advocate for the town, for school and for his students and athletes.
“He tried to make this a better place for all of us,” said Basin Mayor Dennis Peters.
The many joys in Juillard’s life included his family, teaching, coaching, the town of Basin and singing gospel music.
Building Basin up
Juillard spent more than 36 years of his life advocating and supporting the town of Basin. He was elected to the Basin Town Council in 1978 and served for 10 years before being elected mayor in 1988.
Juillard served as the mayor until 2010. In 2012 he was re-elected to the town council and served until 2016.
Mike Dellos, who worked under Juillard with the town, said Juillard did a lot for the town and was always trying to get them more funding to improve their infrastructure.
“He was instrumental in the new water system being built the way it is now and for getting our streets paved,” said Dellos. “He was very community minded and was easy to work under. If you needed something done you went to Phil. I really enjoyed him as a mayor.”
Godfrey added that Juillard was a mentor to everyone.
Juillard spent a lot of his time as mayor in Cheyenne and had many contacts that Mayor Peters said the town will miss.
“He worked tirelessly to help this town,” said Peters. “He knew a lot of people and who to talk to. He enjoyed what he did and he is going to be missed.”
At the time of his death, Juillard was still serving and helping the town, even though he was no longer on the council. He was appointed by Mayor Peters earlier this year to serve on the Joint Powers Board and the MEAN Board.
“He did a lot for the town of Basin and he will be dearly missed,” said Godfrey.
Teaching and coaching our youth
Juillard spent more than 40 years teaching and coaching the local area youths. Juillard influenced multiple generations in his teaching and coaching.
Before Godfrey worked with Juillard on the council, he met him in his music
class in Hyattville.
“He was my music teacher and baseball coach,” said Godfrey. “He was a very good teacher and he wanted you to perform at your very best in the classroom.”
Dellos and other town employees like Charlene Anderson and Chris Kampbell had Juillard as a teacher or as coach at some point during their schooling.
“We must have run the play ’22 Power 25 Counter’ 500 times in football,” said Kampbell, who said he had Juillard as a coach all four years of high school. “His heart was always in the right spot. There are not too many people you can think of that were more involved than Phil.”
Riverside Principal Tony Anson said that Juillard continued to teach driver’s education at the school well after he retired from teaching and coaching. He remained teaching until last year.
“He gave a lot to the town and people,” said Anson. “He coached over 40 years, and to have taught driver’s ed for as long as he did was amazing. We still talk about his hitting the pig story he used to tell to all the driver’s ed students.” Juillard also influenced many schools surrounding Basin when it came to sports.
Burlington coach and principal Matt Davidson remembers Juillard being an official at some of his games in high school and remembers him coaching for the school, as well.
Former Shoshoni coach and longtime sports advocate Randy Tucker of Riverton has many fond memories of Juillard’s coaching days. He said at most tournaments one could catch Juil-lard in the hospitality room and was named by many, “King of the Hospitality Room.”
“In the summer of 1992 I took a varsity and a junior varsity team to the Greybull team camp,” said Tucker. ‘My assistant coach couldn’t make it and there was only one conflict with both teams playing at the same time. Phil Juillard saw the schedule and offered to coach my younger kids.
“The junior varsity only won a single game at the camp, and wouldn’t you know it, it was the one that Phil coached.”
Tucker added that Juillard said “with that familiar grin,” ‘Your kids told me, ‘Thanks, it was nice having a real coach on the bench.’’ Tucker also remembers Juillard having mayoral duties and often would not be able to ride to the games on the school bus.
“The mayor, as we often called Phil when he coached against us at Shoshoni, actually had mayoral responsibilities one fall day and drove separately to Shoshoni with his assistants bringing the team down on the Riverside bus,” said Tucker. “Phil always drove a Cadillac, the ones that resemble naval warships in size. He and Shoshoni head coach Harold Bailey were good friends but not on the gridiron.
“Harold enjoyed beating Phil more than any other coach and he hated losing to him with just as much vigor. In the days before cell phones, Phil sent the bus home, went out to start his car and it wouldn’t turn over. He found Harold and asked him for a ride back to Basin. Harold was still angry from losing the football game earlier but he drove Phil back to Basin and then returned home to Riverton. I’m sure the conversation going north through Thermopolis and Worland was a fun one.”
One of Juillard’s joys in life came from music. He started in a family quartet with his mother, father and brother, Kent. When Juillard’s three eldest children were old enough to sing, he also started a quartet with them, as well.
Juillard’s love was in gospel music and being able to sing for the Lord. He and his wife often went to gospel music conventions that were held all over the country.
Juillard also formed a local quartet, Gospel Notes, with Neda Herman as alto, the late Homer Thompson as bass, Kathy Ewen as soprano and Juillard as tenor. Deena Ray Thompson accompanied the group on piano.
“We sang together for I don’t know how many years,” said Herman. “We sang mostly southern gospel music. Phil was all about music. There are a lot of fond memories.”
She added that the group would travel all over the area and country to sing for churches, fairs, lunches and dinners.
“Practicing with each other was just as fun as performing,” said Herman.
Some of the group’s favorite songs to sing were “Oh, What a Savior,” “Feeling at home with Jesus,” “I know who holds tomorrow” and “Wall of prayer” just to name a few.
Herman would often substitute teach music or P.E. at the school for Juillard.
“He was like a brother to me and could communicate with anybody. That is just who Phil was,” Herman said.
She added that the memorial service for Juillard would be less talking and more music, which is what Juillard would have wanted.
A memorial service for Juillard will be held at 10 am. Saturday, March 11, at the Riverside High School gym in Basin.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in Phil’s name will be received at Security State Bank with proceeds of the fund to go to the Gideons, of which Juillard was an active member for many years.