Eli M. Oboler Library

Thomas McAteer - Biographical Sketch

Obituary from the Idaho State Journal - June 8, 1969

Thomas F. McAteer, State Senator, Dies Suddenly

State Senator Thomas F. McAteer, 61, 112 Rosewood died Friday evening at Soda Springs following and apparent heart attack. He and his wife had just arrived at a fishing site on the Blackfoot Reservoir when the attack occurred.

Senator McAteer was elected from legislative District 34 to the Idaho Senate in 1966 and re-elected in 1968. He served on the Senate Education and Educational Institutions, Fish and Game, Local Government and Transportation and Defense committees. He also was a member of the interim committee on Local Government following the 39th Legislature. He was Eastern Idaho promoter of the proposed Initiative Act to restrict dredge mining to preserve the state's water resources.

Senator McAteer, an active Democrat for 40 years, assisted in the organizing of the Young Democrats of Idaho in 1932 and worked three years as a claim examiner on the office of the state auditor.

Senator McAteer's fellow legislators from Pocatello noted his fight for conservation and commented on his sense of humor.

"I am sure the Senate will miss his presence due to his interest in the 'little man' and his fight for preservation of the White Cloud area," said Representative M. Hopkins, D-Pocatello. "All of us are shocked to learn of his demise."

"Senator Tom McAteer was a dedicated legislator who sought to preserve Idaho's natural resources and beauty," stated Senator Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello. "His wit and good humor will be missed in the State Senate."

"It was a real pleasure knowing and working with Senator McAteer in the Senate," said Senator Ray Rigby, D-Rexburg, Senate assistant minority leader. "He had a real for his family and a great desire to serve the state, particularly in the field of conservation and fish and game activities. He had a real sense of humor, and we'll miss his friendship and know that his family will treasure the memories of his service to the state."

"Tom was imbued with the infectious charm of the Irish," said Rep. Patricia McDermott D-Pocatello. "He loved a good scrap in the Legislature but didn't harbor personal grudges over it. He was one of the most hard-working legislators and always spoke for the interests of the people and their environment."

Bannock County Democratic Chairman Chick Bilyeu said McAteer's "dedication to party politics was superb, and his participation will be greatly missed."

Senator McAteer was born March 2, 1908 at Denver, Colorado, a son of Charles and Katherine Floyd McAteer. He moved to Pocatello with his family in 1912 and was reared here. He attended St. Joseph's School and was graduated from St. Joseph's High School where he was a star football player. He attended the Southern Branch of the University of Idaho here and later attended business college in Boise.

He worked for the state under Governor C. Ben Ross and State Auditor Joe Williams, then began work of the Union Pacific Railroad as a traveling secretary to various officials. He transferred to the timekeeping department in Pocatello in 1940 and worked here until becoming chief clerk to the terminal superintendent about three years ago.

He married Willa B. Roberts at Montpelier on March 17, 1934.

He married Dorothy C Wagner in October, 1935. She died here in November, 1942.

He married Willa Barnes March 16, 1944.

He was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Pocatello Rod and Gun Club, past president of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, past president of the Toastmasters Club and an honorary member of the local Thespians.

Survivors include his widow, three daughters, and two sons, Mrs. John (Jacqueline) Little, Minneapolis, Minn.; Mrs. R.E. (Beti) Anderson, Chicago, Ill.; Mary Martha McAteer, Robert McAteer and Roger Roberts, all of Pocatello, and John McAteer, Casper, Wyo.

Last Modified: 02/08/2008 sc