Bob Wham: Jan. 18, 1926-Dec. 21, 2011
Growing up in Englewood, Colo., in the early ’50s, Bob and Dottie Wham lived across the street from my home. They were friends of my father and mother and active in everything you could imagine. Their daughter, Nancy, and I are pretty close in age. So with that background, and the fact that they have lived part-time in Frisco since the early ’60s, donated a building to the Frisco Historic Park, and have provided guidance and counseling to many, many folks, I submit the following:
Robert “Bob” Shanklin Wham was born in Centralia, Ill., on Jan. 18, 1926. His parents were Nina and Judge Fred L. Wham. Bob studied law and graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law. He married Dorothy Stonecipher on Jan. 26. 1947.
From 1955-60 Bob served as the assistant U.S. Attorney in Denver. In 1960 he was appointed deputy city attorney for Denver and was promoted to the position of Denver city attorney by Mayor Richard Batterton in 1962. Batterton was the 38th mayor of Denver (1959-63), and the last Republican to hold that four-year, $14,000 per annum office. Bob transitioned into the private practice of law with Joe Shoemaker in 1964 and excelled in the representation of water and sanitation districts and didn’t stop his lawyering until 2009.
Bob and Dottie became second homeowners in old Frisco on Galena Street in the early 1960s and eventually donated a 100-year-old building that was located on the property to the Frisco Historic Park. It is now called the “Mercantile Building.”
On Nov.11, 2008, the Denver Post published the following regarding Bob and his wife, Dottie:
“Robert and Dottie Wham, husband and wife, are Republicans who represented southeast Denver and Arapahoe County in the legislature. They are fiscally conservative, but they also favor abortion rights, which puts them at odds with the newer crowd. “The people considered as possible leaders are all on the very right in terms of the social agenda,” said Dottie Wham. “That’s part of what’s driven the party down. “Where the Republican Party went, it left me behind,” said Bob Wham, who served in the Senate from 1977 through 1980. It’s not just the social agenda for him; it’s also “the additional emphasis on ‘no tax is a good tax’; that government is the enemy to be destroyed. “I wish we could go back to what the Republicans used to be,” said Dottie Wham, a senator from 1985 through 2000. “We used to value the intellectual.”
Bob was the preeminent intellectual. His knowledge of Colorado water law was unsurpassed and he would mull over legal issues until whatever issues remained passed from any normal consciousness. We were partners in a law building in Denver with his good friend, Joe Shoemaker, another Republican candidate for Mayor of Denver. The relationship proved that D’s and R’s could co-exist in friendly political competition.
Bob and Dottie attended our July 4th parties at our Main Street law office in Frisco to watch the Independence Day Parade from the balcony. We spent a lot of time at the Boatyard and Blue Spruce together. Their vintage Frisco home was just a few walking blocks north of Main Street.
Bob and Dottie have a fantastic family, of course. Nancy Mitchell and her family reside on a horse farm in Franktown, Colo. Dr. Jeanne Ryan and her family live in Austin and Robert II “Rob” Wham hails from Bothell, Wash. They all spend time in Frisco with their spouses and call Frisco their second home. Usually during the course of the year, the Wham home in Frisco is filled with grandkids and nephews and nieces.
And, Dottie Wham, can still recite the voting record of everyone in the State Legislature-on both sides of the aisle.
Bob’s Memorial will be at the Mayflower Congregationalist Church in Englewood, on Jan. 16, at 11 .M. Anyone so inclined, can donate to the American Cancer Society.
We will miss him a lot – R.I.P., Bob!
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