Not a CBA Member? Join Now!
Find A Lawyer Directory
Legal Directory

TCL > December 2004 Issue > In Memoriam

December 2004       Vol. 33, No. 12       Page  48
In Memoriam

In Memoriam

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

Montrose resident Clarence Arch Decker died October 2, 2004. He was 72. Decker was born in Arkansas City, Kansas. He attended the University of Wyoming and had three appointments to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Decker received a graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Denver ("DU"), as well as a J.D. degree from DU College of Law. In 1962, Decker was elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives; he was elected to the Colorado Senate in 1964, 1968, and 1974. He served as the Minority Leader in the Senate for several years. Decker was a trial lawyer whose legal career spanned forty-five years in Denver and Montrose. He also operated Cottonwood Hill Alcoholic and Drug Rehabilitation Center in Arvada, as well as a Christian newspaper entitled His People. Arch co-founded Frontier Boys’ Camp, for juvenile delinquents, near Divide, Colorado. He was co-founder of an orphanage ministry in El Salvador, called Harvesting in Spanish, where he served as chairman for more than twenty-five years. Decker also was a national board member of Good News Jail and Prison Ministry. Decker joined the Colorado Bar Association ("CBA") in 1988. During his membership, he participated in the Paralegal Committee and the Judiciary Section. He is survived by his wife Lois, seven children, twelve grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Gordon F. Jorgensen, of Centennial, Colorado, died November 5, 2004. He was 80. Jorgensen graduated from East High School in 1942. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army, 10th Mountain Division. Jorgensen received his J.D. from DU College of Law in 1950. He worked for USF&G Insurance, served as a hearing officer for the state of Colorado, and had a private law practice. Jorgensen was an Honor Life member of the CBA, joining in 1964. He had a fondness for outdoor recreation, including skiing, camping, and fishing. Jorgensen is survived by his wife Fayth, three children, and four grandchildren.

District Judge Al H. Haas died October 30, 2004. He was 80. Haas was born in Antonino, Kansas. He served in World War II and earned a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in battle. He met Mary Lou Munson while attending Fort Hays College in Kansas, and they were married in 1946. Haas received undergraduate and law degrees from DU. He practiced law in Durango, where he also served as a district judge for fifteen years. He was described as "creative, thorough, competent, and careful" on the Bench, and was regarded as a mentor by many young lawyers. He joined the CBA in 1952 and was an Honor Life member. Haas is survived by four children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Denver attorney George Clayton Keely died October 29, 2004. He was 78. Keely was born in Denver. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, where he was stationed in Italy. He returned to Colorado after completing his tour of duty and attended the University of Colorado ("CU") in Boulder and graduated from CU’s School of Business. He received a law degree from Columbia University School of Law. Keely met and married Jane Elisabeth Coffee in New York City in 1950. They relocated to Denver, where he associated with the law firm of Fairfield and Woods. He practiced law with the firm from 1951 to 1990, where his tenure included thirty-two years as a firm partner. He specialized in contracts and tax issues, as well as representation of corporations in mergers and acquisitions. Keely was active in the Denver Regional Council of Governments, Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Rotary Club, and Law Club of Denver. He was a member of the American Bar Association and American Bar Foundation. He joined the CBA and Denver Bar Association ("DBA") in 1951 and participated in the Business Law and Tax Law Sections. He also supported the Metro Volunteer Lawyers organization for many years. Keely is survived by his wife Jane, five children, and ten grandchildren. Contributions in Keely’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter, 455 Sherman St., #500, Denver, CO 80203; (303) 813-1669.

Richard M. Schmidt, Jr. died October 17, 2004. He was 80. Schmidt was born in Winfield, Kansas. He attended DU as an undergraduate and earned his law degree at DU College of Law. Schmidt’s interest in the media and, ultimately, First Amendment issues, began when he worked as a disc jockey at KMYR-FM radio, where he also reported news and sports. Ann Downing, whom Schmidt was to marry in 1948, also worked at the Denver radio station. Schmidt’s active membership in the CBA and DBA began in 1949. He served as DBA President during 1963–1964. He participated in the CBA and DBA Public Relations Committee, the Board of Governors, Board of Trustees, and Executive Committee. Schmidt ultimately settled in Washington, D.C., where he practiced law for the American Society of Newspaper Editors for thirty-five years. Schmidt is survived by his wife Ann, three children, and six grandchildren.

The Colorado Bar Foundation ("Foundation") was established in 1953, and is one means of commemorating members of the profession. The Foundation functions exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, and promotes the advancement of jurisprudence and the administration of justice in Colorado through grants. Gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. For complete information and to become a Foundation supporter, call Dana Collier Smith in Denver at (303) 824-5318 or (800) 332-6736.

© 2004 The Colorado Lawyer and Colorado Bar Association. All Rights Reserved. Material from The Colorado Lawyer provided via this World Wide Web server is protected by the copyright laws of the United States and may not be reproduced in any way or medium without permission. This material also is subject to the disclaimers at