Former Governor Dick Lamm honored with memorial service

Governor Dick Lamm (left) standing with John Denver (right)

Courtesy of the memorial service proceedings for Governor Dick Lamm.

COLORADO — Former Colorado state Governor Dick Lamm’s memorial service was held on Tuesday, Aug. 31, with such speakers as Governor Jared Polis, Lamm’s wife Dottie, his students, former Mayor of Denver Wellington Webb and others.

Governor Polis was the first to speak about Lamm’s legacy.

He said, “His career is truly one for the ages. When I think about the life he lived, how he spent his time, both as governor and thereafter, the word that comes to mind is service.”

The governor also said that August 31 was declared Governor Dick Lamm Day.

“As we celebrate the life and times of Dick Lamm today, for many of us it’s a celebration of the Colorado that we love and the contributions Richard Lamm made as a citizen, as a governor and as somebody who inspired a whole new generation of leaders who will make their footprints known in our state for decades to come,” Governor Polis said.

Wellington Webb, former Mayor of Denver, spoke in memory of the former governor, sharing stories about how Lamm was environmentalist-focused and was an anti-discrimination lawyer who was serious about his career and the issues Colorado was facing.

“Let the mourners come,” Webb said. “For many of us, the friends of Dick Lamm, he was our north, he was our south, he was our east and our west…Let the Lord know, Dick Lamm is coming.”

Former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Gail Schoetler said that she felt empowered and inspired by Lamm’s service to Colorado and the intentional personal relationships he held with his cabinet members.

“I’d never run anything…and I had no idea what to do. Dick believed in me, he coached me, and even when I took risks or made some really bad decisions, he backed me privately and publicly,” Schoetler said.

Vicki Cowart, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said that Lamm’s determination to speak his mind and stand up for his personal beliefs has been a source of inspiration for her.

“His values were clear, he followed his beliefs with actions, and even when it wasn’t popular, he stuck to his principles, spoke out and led change,” Cowart said.

She recalled how Lamm knew that his stances on abortion put his political career in danger.

“He knew it would end his political career, but he said he couldn’t not fight for his beliefs,” Cowart said.

Two of Lamm’s students spoke in his honor, one of whom is Uriel Berrum, the co-founder of

Berrum said that Lamm not only challenged him in the classroom but also in life itself.

“He [Lamm] asked me, ‘Will you have made an impact in society if you have your boss’s job in ten years?’ That question put things into perspective for me and elevated my own truth…thanks to the spark ignited by my relationship with him,” Berrum said.

He concluded his remarks with what he said was one of Lamm’s quotes that inspired him deeply.

“The only way to predict the future is to design it,” Berrum said.

Author Bruce Ducker and Lamm’s daughter Heather Lamm spoke as well, leaving the conclusion of the memorial to the governor’s wife, Dottie.

Dottie spoke of her adventures with her husband and how the two of them not only supported one another in their political careers but gave each other the space to do so.

“He gave me space to run for the US Senate, and I gave him space to run in a Reformed Party presidential primary,” Dottie said. “Our marriage was rooted in Colorado soil. After all, we fell in love with the state before we fell in love with each other.”

She spoke of how deeply their care for the state of Colorado impacted not only their political lives but also their relationship with one another.

“The projects we cared about–the work we still wanted to do–was in Colorado, for Colorado and with Coloradans,” she said.

Wrapping up the service, Dottie blessed her deceased husband with a parting wish.

“So I say, goodbye love of my life. We had a really good run. Now, pass your torch, release your spirit, raise your wings and fly over the Rockies,” she said.

Former Governor Dick Lamm was born on August 3, 1935, in Madison, Wis., and passed away, age 85, on July 29, 2021, in Denver, Colo.

To watch the full memorial service proceedings, click here.

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