Sam FairlambEsther Fairlamb(This article continues the story from the March 6, 2013, Back Page about Delta's Fairlamb family and its deep roots in Delta and the United States, and speaks of Samuel L. Fairlamb and his family.)
Mary Dow, the third of Samuel L. Fairlamb's daughters, returned to Delta four years ago after living in Denver for 50-plus years.
Sam married Esther Price who came to Delta from Cripple Creek to teach fourth grade. Women teachers during that period were required to be single and ended their teaching career if they married. However, Sam and Esther eloped and did not tell anyone they were married for about a year. The late Shirley Hodgin, who was a student of Esther's, told Mary that she remembered Sam coming to get Esther when the school day was over and all the little girls would giggle as they watched their teacher leaving with her man friend.
Sam had a good sense of humor. As he neared the punch line of a joke, his eyes would twinkle. Meredith remembered an aunt saying that Sam was a total gentleman, that he always tipped his hat to the ladies.
"Our dad was a good dad," Mary said. "He ice skated with us and would swim with us at the pools in Ouray and Glenwood Springs. He told people, 'I have four women at home and a female dog, so everything's female at my house.' "
Sam, his brother Charles N. Fairlamb and nephew Sky Fairlamb all graduated from University of Denver and University of Denver Law School. Sam's daughters Jan and Meredith were students at University of Denver. Mary spent her college freshman year at Colorado State University and had a great time. Her parents influenced her transfer to Western State College.
After graduating law school and passing the bar exam, Sam returned to Delta in 1936 to practice law with his father, Millard Fairlamb. In 1941 Sam was appointed assistant attorney general for the State of Colorado and served in that capacity through 1944. In an undated clipping from The Denver Post, one of Sam's achievements as assistant attorney general is noted: "The United States Supreme Court in Washington has ruled in favor of Colorado in a long-disputed water controversy between Colorado and Kansas, with Wyoming mildly interested. Not only is this a victory for Colorado, but it is a personal victory for Sam Fairlamb ... whose work has consisted largely of this particular water entanglement. In presenting these briefs and the state of Colorado arguments, Sam performed a herculean task."
Sam moved his family back to Delta, back to 750 Leon Street, down the block from his father Millard at 700 Leon. He resumed his law practice with Millard as Fairlamb and Fairlamb. When Millard died, Charles Fairlamb closed the Telluride branch office and joined Sam full time in Delta. Later Sky, Millard's grandson, joined the firm. Mary worked summers in the firm as a file clerk.
Esther and Sam played in a bridge group in Delta which they called Bid-a-Wee. Esther and Sam, Hardings, Haleys, Charlie and Ethel Fairlamb and Louis and Myrtle Seicrest played at each others' homes.
Sam was a 32nd Degree Mason, Esther was active in Eastern Star and Jan, Meredith and Mary were Rainbow girls. Sam took five or six Delta Rainbow girls to the Grand Assembly in Denver every year. And he always took the girls to Elitch's and Lakeside amusement parks.
The Sam Fairlamb family took a month's vacation every year. They vacationed in every state west of the Mississippi River. Sam would take them through all the state capitals, teaching them about government. Grandmother Stella Fairlamb, who went with them, took them through every museum in the area.
Jan Fairlamb was born Jan. 4, 1929, in the Fairlamb house at 700 Leon Street. Meredith was born Feb. 12, 1938, in Dr. Porter's house at 660 Leon Street. Mary was born Jan. 4, 1940, at the Western Slope Memorial Hospital in downtown Delta.
Jan and her husband John Duckworth adopted his niece and nephew, Mary Lynn and Bill Duckworth after their parents were killed in an automobile accident. Jan, on her way to Egypt for a holiday, was killed in 1999 in an Egypt Air aircraft just off Rhode Island when an Egyptian substitute pilot took the plane down.
Meredith is married to Hugh Larsen, who was born and reared in Bayfield, although they met in San Diego where they now live. They have three children: Christopher and his wife Jessica live in Fairbanks and have a son, Sam; Jenny and husband John Fairgrieve live in Washington state and have a son, Ian; and Ted lives in San Diego and has a son, Ethan.
Mary spent her career in Denver in the private aviation field, with Combs Air, AMR Combs, and the Denver Jet Center at Centennial Airport. Mary has a daughter, Kim Nolan, of Aurora and a son, Scott Dow, of Fort Collins. The light of Mary's life is her granddaughter Peyton Nolan who will soon be 12. "She is one of the sweetest, nicest little girls and she makes straight A's," Mary exclaimed with joy.
"Our dad Sam was an extremely kind man and helped a lot of people. I think his example influenced Meredith in volunteering in feeding the homeless and volunteering in her church. He influenced me in volunteering at the hospital, the food bank through Altrusa, and in serving on the board of Delta County Historical Society. It is our way to give back," Mary said.