Biograpy of Wm. P. Roscoe Jr
Transcribed in July 2002 by Tom L. McFarland

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Published in the Billings Gazette, 4 October 1998

Respected Billings businessman dies
By Robert Struckman
of the Gazette Staff

William P. Roscoe Jr., the founder of Roscoe Steel and Culvert Co., died Friday in Billings after a long illness. He was 82.

ROSCOE dead at 82
Roscoe founded the Billings-based company in 1954. The company grew from five employees to 140 at three plants - two in Billings and one in Missoula. The company's emphasis on custom steel work helped it weather the 1980s, a period when Roscoe saw more than half of his competitors go out of business.

Some of the company's most noteworthy projects included hangar trestles for an Air Force hangar at the far end of the Aleutian islands. Roscoe Steel made 24 of the 215-foot trestles for the Air Force hangar. Each weighed 27 tons. The company also made a mammoth coal barn and several steel highway bridges.

In 1984, Roscoe was chosen the "Small Businessman of the Year" for Montana and traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with representatives of other states and president Reagan. In 1985, he was recipient of the Philip N. Fortin "Philanthropist of the year", presented by Deaconess Medical Center. Roscoe retired from his business in 1986.

Roscoe was heavily involved in his industry and served as president of the National Corrugated Steel Pipe Association.

He was also an active member of the community. He served for several years on the Board of Directors of Deaconess Medical Center. He was also president of the Yellowstone Vally District of Boy Scouts. He also belonged to Billings Rotary Club and received the Paul Harris Award. He was a trustee of Carroll College in Helena and founded a Catholic education trust fund.

Roscoe was born on July 21, 1916, in Billings. His father was a highway bridge contractor in Montana. He went to Billings schools and graduated with a business degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.

Roscoe also trained to be a pilot and flight instructor. He became a civilian flight instructor for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II at Cimarron Field in Yukon, Okla. There he met Emily Jane Covert. The two married May 23, 1942.

The two moved to Lima, Peru, and continued to live there after the war. Roscoe flew for a new airline, Pan-American Grace Airways, over most of South America. In 1947, Roscoe returned to Billings to build bridges with his father.

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