July. 27- Cheney – a previous US senator. Mike Enzy, a Wyo State Republican, sent longtime colleague Max Donofrio an email final month that got lost in a folder somewhere. By the time D’Onofrio discovered him, he realized he would never respond.
“I restarted my computer, and it showed up moments following I learned he was lifeless,” D’Onofrio, previous communications director at Enzi, said Tuesday. “He was just checking on me, he was telling me that he was worried about me, and he wanted to know about me and my wife. The fact that a previous senator… was taking the time to check what I was doing, is very helpful.”
Anzi died on Monday night from injuries sustained on Friday in a grave bicycle accident. Gillette’s attorney and family comrade John Daly told Gillette News Record that the retired senator, 77, was riding around 8:30 p.m. near his Gillette home when the accident occurred.
At 8:18 p.m. Friday, the Gillette Police Department received a distress call from an Apple Watch stating that someone had had a firm fall on Morningside Drive and was not responding. Before the officers arrived, someone called to report a man lying on the road beside a bicycle, the police lieutenant said. Brent Wasson.
The Gillette Police Department has not released the names of people involved in medical incidents, but Wasson said officers found an unresponsive 77-year-old man at the scene, who was taken to hospital. Wasson added that there was no indication that anyone else was near or involved in the incident.
Daly said the person who found Enzy called 911. He broke his neck and some ribs, and was taken to hospital and stabilized prior being taken to UCHealth Medical Center in the Rocky Mountains in Loveland, Colorado, via air ambulance, according to Facebook. Another by his three sons.
Late Monday night, the previous senator’s official Twitter service posted this message: “Former Wyoming Senator Mike Enzy passed away peacefully today among his family.”
An unusual path to politics
Enzy was born in Bremerton, Washington, and raised in Thermopolis, Wyoming. He earned a degree in accounting from George Washington University, then earned a master’s degree in retail marketing from the University of Denver in Colorado.
Enzy served in the Wyoming National Guard from 1967 to 1973, and in 1969, he moved to Gillette with his wife Diana to expand his father’s shoe selling business, NZ Shoes.
His loved ones don’t remember any interest in running for office. Enzy was just a firm-working businessman who loved his family more than anything.
But that all changed when he spoke, as president of the Wyoming chapter of the U.S. Junior Chamber, at the organization’s state convention in Cody. Keynote speaker for the event, previous US Senator. Allan Simpson, Republican and U, was taken aback by Enzy’s manner of words, and made sure to pull him aside afterward to donate him some advice.
“Ann and I were at this table with Diane and Mike,” Simpson recalled on Tuesday. “When he came back to the table, I said, ‘Have you ever thought about being in politics?’” He said no, but I said, “Whatever party you’re in, you’re talking about your county and your city and Wyoming and the nation, you’re not talking about yourself. We need people like you.”
Simpson remembered that Enzy seemed surprised, but perhaps no one was more surprised than Enzy’s wife. Simpson recalled that Diana Enzy “got out of the way” when her husband said he was considering politics.
Soon, Enzy successfully ran for Gillette major in 1974. During that time, he worked with City Councilman Herb Carter, previous Major and father of current Gillette Mayor Louise Carter King.
Carter King was just a lofty school student when Enzi took over, but they were neighbors – her family often looked following his three children – and the families maintained a close friendship.
So, when Carter King decided to run for a leading position, she knew exactly who to call.
“I have all the letters he wrote to me from the capital and even from Cheyenne,” she said of her teacher. “I think every speech I heard him donate, he forever said that the most rewarding and hardest work of all is work… you are on the fore lines and you just have to deal with the punches.”
She still has several voicemails saved from the previous major, who often takes time out of his congressional duties to call him when he knows things are getting worse in Gillette.
One of her favorite stories about Enzy’s time as a pioneer was when a resident called his house phone one winter morning to express his anger following digging his driveway, only to turn back to the town plow. The major thanked him, hung up, and then appeared on the man’s doorstep with a shovel.
“That’s the considerate of guy he was,” said Carter King. “He didn’t talk about what he wanted to hear, he was going to do something about it, and that was considerate of his motto here, just get things done.”
After taking a leading position, Enzy was elected to the Wyoming House of Representatives as a Republican in 1987 and then as a Wyoming Senator in 1991. Enzy then served as the U.S. Senator for Wyoming for 24 years, from 1996 until he retired at the end of his term Fourth in January 2021.
“Very pleasing for politics”
Just as Enzy served as Carter King’s mentor, Simpson served as the late senator’s mentor, especially when Enzy took Simpson’s Senate seat.
“He was this guy that I loved,” Simpson said. “He was too pleasing for politics. That’s what he was. Very pleasing, very righteous, and very straightforward. Politics is a contact sport… Enzy has received a lot of physical blows and heavy follies from people who don’t know anything. revenge or pettiness.”
Simpson’s view has been echoed by several current and previous lawmakers, including the US senator. Cynthia Loomis, Republican of Wu, who worked with Enzy for nine years as a representative of the United States prior replacing him as Senator.
“Today, Wyoming mourns the loss of Giant Mike Enzy,” Loomis said in an emailed statement. “He was a soft-spoken leader, but the legislative victories he made attest loudly to the impact of his service. At a time of increased political bluntness, Mike Enzee was competent to navigate gracefully into the upper room, with results that generations will feel to come.”
She added that Wyoming “has no greater hero than Enzy,” and that no one works harder to serve its constituents — as evidenced by the more than 100 bills signed by four US presidents.
“He was more than just a senator,” she said. “He was my comrade and mentor, and I’m saddened by his passing.”
Government. Mark Gordon ordered the flags of both the United States and Wyoming to be immediately lowered to half the staff. They will remain on half-staff until sunset on the day of the burial. Once that date has been established, the Governor’s office will send another notice informing him of when the flags will be returned to packed staff.
In a press release, the governor said he and his wife, First Lady Jenny Gordon, join thousands of other Wyoming residents in prayer and pleasing wishes for Diana and the rest of the Enzy family.
“Mike was a loyal comrade and public servant who cared deeply about the state and people of Wyoming. His leadership in the Senate was tireless and fruitful. He was a staunch support of the state’s interests and was forever committed to finding consensus wherever conceivable. He understood what was significant to America.”
Former Cheyenne Mayor Marianne Orr met Enzy when she was a recent lobbyist who graduated from college. And I remembered that the then state legislator was forever respectful, who was forever professional, eloquent, and committed to working across the aisle to solve problems.
Later, the pair captured their experiences as the main characters, confident about how they can’t go to the grocery store without hearing about dogs barking or giant pits, but also about how significant it is to listen to those concerns.
She said one of the biggest legacies he would leave was the “80/20 rule,” which she’s been working firm to agree on 80% of issues across the aisle, rather than arguing about 20% of issues they never will be. I agree to.
“Mike Enzy and the 80/20 rule made him 100% a leader,” she said.
family man through and through
Enzy has two daughters and one son: Amy, Emily and Brad. He also has four grandchildren: Trey and Lily. Megan and Alison.
When he announced his retirement in May 2019, he cited his dedication to them as one of the reasons for stepping down from the position.
“I can’t do the considerate of work that Diana and I have been doing for another six years,” Enze said at a 2019 press conference in Gillette. “I was competent to see my children grow up prior I entered [to] Senate. Now I want some time with my grandson.”
Enzi’s extra time with his grandchildren was cut short by this incident, and this tragedy was not lost on Max D’Onofrio. The previous Enzi communications director said the couple talked a lot about how this retirement was about traveling to places other than Washington and Wyoming, and serving their family, rather than serving the state.
But even though he didn’t get that extra time, Donofrio said Enzy’s considerate heart, cunning sense of humor, and knowing personal philosophies would live on in all the people he touched in their lives. For example, D’Onofrio plans to persevere the Enzi tradition of writing a book report following every book he reads—though it might just be a paragraph compared to Enzi’s packed page—to fully embrace each author’s message.
“If he has time for that, I must have time for that,” Donofrio said. “He was very mindful about remembering the things in your life and not just moving on from them. I think a lot of people get consumed and move on, but he was very vigilant about cherishing the things in your life.”
That’s why he was so pleasing at his job, continued D’Onofrio, because he was forever present and appreciated the little things in life—among those things were fly fishing and the peanut butter chocolate cake his wife makes every year on his birthday.
D’Onofrio worked with Enzi for eight years, working his way up from an out-of-college intern straight to media assistant, then press secretary and eventually communications director. He said he really enjoyed every day in this office – which he acknowledges was a rare professional experience – and attributes it to Enzi’s focus on family.
“I’m married because of someone I met in his office,” he said. “Most of my friends are people I met in his office. It was a family, and that’s how we talk about it, the Enzy family. It taught me to be more aware and attentive and to really listen to what other people are saying prior you interact.”
All his employees daily tried to succeed the mission statement that Enzi himself had committed to, a mission he had learned from his mother: Do what is right, do your best and treat others as they would like to be treated.
D’Onofrio said his approach to leadership is one of his greatest lasting legacy.
“Not a show horse, but more of a work horse,” he said, “is what I like to describe himself.” He was the alike man behind the curtain as he was in fore of it. The Washington Post voted him the nicest senator, and I think that’s how most people know him.”
Nikki Cotman is the features editor of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. She can be reached at email@example.com or 307-633-3135. Follow her on Twitter at @niki_mariee.