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TCL > August 2003 Issue > In Memoriam

August 2003       Vol. 32, No. 8       Page  112
In Memoriam

In Memoriam

The Colorado Bar Association Remembers
The Lives and Contributions of
Colorado Attorneys

William P. Cantwell died June 18, 2003. He was 81. Born in Saranac Lake, New York, Cantwell received an undergraduate degree from Williams College in Massachusetts, and then earned a law degree from Yale University Law School. He served in the Army during World War II as a tank company commander, suffering leg injuries and hearing loss in combat, and was twice decorated during his tour of duty. He met Hendrika Bestebreurtje in Lake Placid, New York, in 1945 and the two were married in 1947 in New York City. They relocated to Denver in 1952. Cantwell became licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1953. He practiced law with the Denver firm of Sherman and Howard LLC, where he emphasized estate planning. He was a firm partner for many years. In 1972, Cantwell co-authored a book on estate planning ("The Orange Book"), which continues to be a valuable legal resource to practitioners in 2003. He also was instrumental in writing model law that promoted rights of women in the context of wills and divorce settlements. Cantwell joined the Colorado and Denver Bar Associations in 1953 and was actively involved throughout his professional life, earning Honor Life status in both. He served as DBA President during 1962–1963 and was CBA President during 1970–1971. One of Cantwell’s outstanding accomplishments as CBA President was the establishment of The Colorado Lawyer publication as a CBA membership benefit; the first issue was published in November 1971. Cantwell was a member of the CBA Judiciary, Tax Law, and Trust & Estate Sections. He was awarded the DBA Award of Merit, as well as the William W. Treat Award for Excellence by the National College of Probate Judges, and was bestowed honorary membership in the Order of the Coif from the University of Colorado School of Law. He also served as president of the American College of Probate Counsel. Cantwell was an avid skier, hiker, and camper, and a lover of symphonic music. He shared his love of outdoor activities and music with his family throughout his life. Cantwell is survived by his wife, three children, and four grandchildren.

Attorney Raymond J. Connell died May 18, 2003. He was 72. In 1954, Connell graduated from Westminster College of Law and was licensed to practice law in Colorado. He first practiced with the Denver law firm of Gorsuch, Kirgis, Campbell, Walker, and Grover. He also practiced with Hall, Bates, and Schulenberg, which became Hall and Evans LLC. After retiring from that firm as a senior partner, he joined his son John at the Connell Law Firm. Connell was past president of the Colorado Defense Lawyers. From 1963 to 1976, he taught part-time at the University of Denver ("DU") College of Law. He was a member of the CBA, DBA, and Arapahoe County Bar Association for forty-nine years. Collins was a DBA Call-A-Lawyer volunteer. He is survived by five children, two step-children, and eleven grandchildren.

George M. Gibson, Jr. died July 2002. He was 95. Gibson was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1933. He joined the Colorado and El Paso County Bar Associations in 1941 and was an Honor Life member of both. He was a member of the CBA Judiciary, Real Estate Law, and Trust & Estate Sections.

Criminal defense attorney Keith R. Gross died July 7, 2003. He was 51. Gross was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1986. Before going into private practice, he served as an assistant city attorney for the city of Aurora and as a deputy state public defender. While a CBA member, Gross participated in the Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee and the Workers’ Compensation Section. He also was a former member of the DBA Public Legal Education Committee. Gross is survived by his wife, five stepchildren, and three grandchildren. Contributions in Gross’s memory may be made to: Southern Center for Human Rights, 83 Poplar St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303;

Native Coloradan Elizabeth L. Guyton Girch died April 23, 2003. She was 87. Guyton was born in Yuma, Colorado, and knew by the fourth grade that she wanted to become an attorney. She received her J.D. degree and was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1941. She moved to Rocky Ford, Colorado, in the early 1940s and was the first woman City Attorney in Colorado. She joined the CBA and Sixteenth Judicial District Bar Association in 1942 and attained an Honor Life status in both. Guyton practiced law for forty years and was considered a "competent and aggressive fighter" for her clients. She was awarded the Mary Lathrop Trailblazer Award by the DU College of Law "for her excellence and accomplishments." A lifelong champion of people with disabilities, Guyton was instrumental in the purchasing of property and the building of the Girch Center–Arkansas Valley Community Center for the Developmentally Disabled, which was named after her late-husband Warren Girch. Guyton is survived by two children.

Denver attorney James Hegarty died June 10, 2003. He was 75. Hegarty was born in Nortonville, Kansas. He received his A.B. degree in 1950 from St. Benedict’s College and his LL.B. degree from the University of Colorado ("CU") School of Law in 1953, where he was the CU Law Review Comment Editor during 1952–1953. Hegarty became licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1953. He joined the CBA and DBA that year also. He served as Chair of the CBA Real Estate Law and Title Section during 1970–1972. He was a long-time member of the CBA Mineral Law, Real Estate Law, and Water Law Sections. Hegarty joined the Denver law firm of Holland & Hart in 1955 and remained until he retired in 1995, emphasizing real estate and business law. He was an Honor Life member of both the CBA and DBA. Hegarty is survived by his wife Marilee, five children, and ten grandchildren.

Family law attorneys Catherine L. Lohman and Richard V. Lohman died on July 3, 2003, when the Cessna plane in which they were passengers crashed in a densely wooded area in the southern coast of Alaska. She was 46; he was 52. Cathy Lohman was born in Eads, Colorado. She graduated from Colorado State University ("CSU") in Fort Collins with a degree in Education. She taught in schools in Bethune and Colorado Springs before attending the DU College of Law. Cathy received her J.D. degree and was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1987. She practiced family law in Colorado Springs. Cathy was a member of the Colorado Springs Chapter Inns of Court and the Colorado Interdisciplinary Committee. She joined the CBA and El Paso County Bar Association ("EPCBA") in 1988 and served as co-chair of the CBA Family Law Section. Recently, she was in charge of the membership committee of the CBA Family Law Section Council. Rick Lohman was born in Colorado Springs. He received his undergraduate degree from CSU. He attended Washburn University in Kansas, where he earned his law degree in 1976. Rick became licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1976. He began practicing law in Colorado Springs with the firm of Murphy, Morris and Susemihl, and became a partner of Morris, Susemihl, Lohman and Kent in 1981. Rick joined the CBA and EPCBA in 1977. He served as a past chair of the Family Law Section of the EPCBA. He was a past-president of the National Association of Council for Children and a former member of the CBA Executive Council. He also served on the faculty of the EPCBA Trial Advocacy School and co-chaired the EPCBA. In 1994, the Lohmans formed the law firm of Lohman and Lohman, P.C., specializing in the practice of family law. They were regarded by their colleagues as "consummate professionals" who loved their children, friends, their work, and life to the fullest extent. They are survived by four children. Contributions in Cathy’s memory may be made to: Eads Alumni Scholarship Fund: c/o Eads Alumni Association, P.O. Box 128, Eads, CO 81036-0128 [eadsalumni@]; or Sheridan Lake Bible Church Building Fund: P.O. Box 1238, Sheridan Lake, CO 81071. Contributions in Rick’s memory may be made to: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), 702 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903; or Washburn University School of Law Library, c/o John Christenson, Library Director and Professor of Law, 1700 SW College, Topeka, KS 66621.

J. Douglas Mertz of Colorado Springs died May 10, 2003. He was 86. Mertz was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1950. He originally joined the CBA and EPCBA in 1944 and had attained Honor Life status in both. He participated in the CBA Legal Education & Admissions Committee for much of his professional career.

Colorado Springs attorney William R. Matoush died May 4, 2003. He was 75. Matoush was born in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with a B.A. degree in Chemistry/Mathematics and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Northwestern University. Matoush served as a research and development staff officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1956 to 1958. He assumed a civilian position at NORAD/Air Defense Command in Colorado Springs and later joined Air Force Space Command as a senior staff scientist. Matoush attended DU College of Law at night. He earned his J.D. degree and his license to practice law in Colorado in 1970. He incorporated his legal training in his work with the Air Force and practiced law part-time with his wife at the firm of Matoush & Matoush. He established the Law, Science, and Technology category of the Regional Science Fair, and served on the Fair’s board. He was a "Senior" member of the CBA and EPCBA and participated in the CBA Environmental Law Section. In addition to his many science-related affiliations, Matoush was a member of the Order of St. Ives, DU College of Law, and the American Bar Association. Matoush is survived by his wife Carol. Contributions in Matoush’s memory may be made to: Alzheimer’s Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter, 801 North Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

Russell "Rusty" H. Nichols, a Loveland attorney, died May 2, 2003. He was 55. Nichols was born in Casper, Wyoming. He attended the University of Wyoming, earning a B.A. degree in 1971 and a J.D. degree in 1974. Nichols opened a private law practice in Loveland after having served as an assistant district attorney in Larimer County for five years. He is survived by his wife Cindy, two daughters, and two grandchildren. Contributions in Nichols’s memory may be made to: First United Methodist Church in Loveland; or National Kidney Foundation, c/o Viegut Funeral Home, 2893 N. Monroe Ave., Loveland, CO 80538.

Attorney and Judge Patti F. O’Rourke died June 21, 2003. She was 79. A native of New York, O’Rourke attended the College of New Rochelle, where she received an undergraduate degree. She attended Fordham University School of Law, receiving a J.D. degree in 1944. Immediately after being admitted to the New York State Bar, O’Rourke began working for the law firm of Whitman, Ransom, Coulson, and Goetz, located in the Wall Street district of Manhattan. She moved to Montrose, Colorado, in 1948, and married Jack O’Rourke. They had six children. O’Rourke was licensed to practice law in Colorado in 1949. She practiced tax law in Montrose until 1961, when the O’Rourkes moved to Pueblo. At the time, Patti O’Rourke was the only female lawyer in Pueblo. The emphasis of her law practice became primarily domestic relations law. In 1963, she joined the CBA and Pueblo County Bar Association ("PCBA"). She served as Chair of the CBA Mental Health Committee and was Secretary and President of the PCBA. In 1981, O’Rourke was appointed by then-Governor Richard Lamm to the Tenth Judicial District Court bench, where she served for nine years. She was the first woman to serve in that capacity in Pueblo County. O’Rourke served on the boards of many professional committees and organizations and was recognized with several honors and awards, including: the PCBA Exemplary Service Award; and Woman of Achievement, Pueblo Business and Professional Women’s Club. She attained Honor Life status with the CBA and PCBA.
A tribute to O’Rourke can be found in the February 2000 issue of The Colorado Lawyer at page 27. O’Rourke is survived by six children and four grandchildren. Contributions in O’Rourke’s memory may be made to the Pueblo Community Center of the Pueblo Community Soup Kitchen.

Irving I. Oxman, a native Denverite, died June 2, 2003. He was 90. Oxman attended the University of Colorado–Boulder, receiving both undergraduate and law degrees there. He became licensed to practice law in the state in 1941. Oxman married Marguerite Dinner in 1941. They had three children. Oxman joined the CBA and DBA in 1942 and was an Honor Life member of both. He was a member of the CBA Real Estate Law and Trust & Estate Sections. Oxman was extremely active within the Jewish community. He volunteered his legal expertise to many organizations and contributed greatly to the community. He was president of Beth Israel Hospital; he donated time to the Jewish War Veterans and to Yeshiva Toras Chaim, a Jewish school in west Denver; and he helped new immigrants from Eastern Europe by translating immigrant procedures into Yiddish. He also was master of the Masonic Lodge and head of the laywers group for the Allied Jewish Federation. Oxman practiced law with his son Stephen at the Denver firm of Oxman & Oxman PC. He is survived by his wife Marguerite, three children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Colorado Springs attorney Donita Rolle-Jackson died April 24, 2003. She was 52. Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Rolle-Jackson and her husband, Percy Jackson, moved to Colorado Springs in 1989. The couple maintained a "long-distance marriage" for a while when Rolle-Jackson relocated to Florida to attend Nova Southeastern Law School. She received her law degree in 1994 and returned to Colorado, where she was admitted to practice law in 1995. She opened a general law practice in Colorado Springs, representing clients in civil, child welfare, and criminal cases. Rolle-Jackson, the first Black woman to have a solo law practice in Colorado Springs, was very active in the African-American community there. She created a networking system for professionals and young people at risk and in trouble with the law. Rolle-Jackson joined the CBA and EPCBA in 1996. She was a member of several committees and sections, including the Elder Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Juvenile Law, Solo Small Firm Practice, and Trust & Estate Sections. Rolle-Jackson is survived by her husband. Contributions in Rolle-Jackson’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society.

The Colorado Bar Foundation ("Foundation") is one means of commemorating members of the profession. The Foundation was established in 1953 and functions exclusively for educational and charitable purposes. The Foundation promotes the advancement of jurisprudence and the administration of justice in Colorado through grants to help educate the general public and provide assistance to the state’s legal institutions. All gifts to the Foundation are deductible contributions for federal income tax purposes. For details about becoming a Foundation supporter, call Dana Collier Smith in Denver at (303) 824-5318 or (800) 332-6736.

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