Arthur March, Jr. (1933-2005), 0716 COBJ, Vol. 45 No. 7 Pg. 45

Author:Brad March, J.
 
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45 Colo.Law. 45

Arthur March, Jr. (1933-2005)

Vol. 45, No. 7 [Page 45]

The Colorado Lawyer

July, 2016

Brad March, J.

Five of the Greatest Outstanding Lawyers in Colorado History

Arthur March, Jr. (Art) was born on July 5, 1933 in Fort Collins, Colorado to Arthur March, Sr. (Art, Sr.)1 and Doris March. He devoted his life to his community, his profession, and his family.

Art, Sr. and Doris were both raised in Fort Collins with strong family roots in Northern Colorado. Art's paternal grandfather was a banker and entrepreneur, and his maternal grandfather was a United Brethren Evangelical minister. Art, Sr. graduated first in his class from the University of Colorado (CU) School of Law in 1936 and returned to Fort Collins, where he practiced for the remainder of his career, subject to service during WWII. During his career, he was appointed as Fort Collins city attorney.

In 1951, when Art graduated from Fort Collins High School, Fort

Collins had a population of roughly 44,000. Art, like his father, attended CU, graduating first in his law school class and receiving the then available LLB (bachelor of laws) degree, completing combined college and law school course work in six years. Also like his father. Art was the editor of the University of Colorado Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.

Members of the 1957 graduating class formed a bond that would continue well beyond the graduates' lifetimes. Judge John David Sullivan and his wife Lisa, the late Dale Tooley[2] and his wife Maryann (Merrill), the late Kermit Darkey[3] and his wife Barbara, and later Richard Bratton and his wife Donna continued to meet regularly as a "bridge club" for more than 55 years, rarely if ever playing bridge (no doubt to Art's chagrin), preserving what has for three of the class members eclipsed more than lifelong law school friendships.[4]

Early Practice Years

Immediately after law school. Art married Claire Winner, a 19-year-old Colorado State University undergraduate whose father, Fred M. Winner,[5] practiced law in Denver and had gone to law school with Art, Sr. When Art served a short stint in the military, Claire abandoned her college career to move with Art to his first assignment at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and then to Fort Benning in Georgia and on to the University of Virginia JAG program. Art was ultimately assigned to Fitzsimons Military Hospital in Denver, allowing the couple to return to family and friends, who provided support for their first of three children. In lieu of other opportunities with more glamor and prestige, on discharge from t he Army, Art took the short haul from Fitzsimons back to Fort Collins, where he settled into a legal career that would span the next 40 years. By 1960, when Art and Claire returned to Fort Collins, the town’s population had climbed to nearly 53,000. Immediately upon their return, Art became a member of a firm with Art, Sr. and partner O. Rex Wells. The three practiced together for a short time, with the Marches spinning off and forming the firm of March and March shortly thereafter. The father and son team continued to represent the City of Fort Collins and served a strong local private client base.

Art and Claire became involved in a broad range of community and business pursuits. Art led, with other young community leaders, in forming the University National Bank in Fort Collins (now Chase Bank), and he served as an officer and on its board of directors. He also served on the vestry and was the clerk of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Fort Collins.6 In addition, he was a member of the Fort Collins Elks Lodge and took a hands-on role in the construction of community swimming pool upgrades and the Edora community playground and park.

In 1968, Art set aside many aspects of his law practice to provide representation in the Episcopal Church’s ecclesiastical tribunals on behalf of Bishop Joseph Summerville Minnis, the sixth diocesan Episcopal bishop for the State of Colorado. These ecclesiastical proceedings were largely carried out behind closed doors but gained national attention. Although the result of the proceedings was not favorable to Bishop Minnis, the proceedings were handled in a manner that, notwithstanding opponents’ contrary desires, allowed for preservation of the dignity of both the client and of the diocese.

By 1965, John David “Sonny” Sullivan had joined the law firm; Ramsey Myatt joined in 1970, by which time Fort Collins had grown to a community of 90,000. March, March, Sullivan and Myatt continued to represent the City of Fort Collins and a broad range of clients in diverse areas. In 1972, Art, Sr. stepped down as city attorney and Art, who had served as Fort Collins assistant city attorney since April 1, 1961, became city attorney on October 19, 1972. He held that position until August 31, 1978.

Fort Collins saw many improvements during Art’s tenure: The Platte River Power Authority replaced the City Electrical Plant; the City and the rural fire district formed the Poudre Fire Authority, serving not only Fort Collins but surrounding areas; the number of water and sewer plants increased; and the City developed some of the best water supply sources and supporting water rights in the state.

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