Denver Bar Association
March 2003
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James C. Owen, Jr.: A memorial about a great one

by David Erickson

James C. Owen, Jr. (Jim Owen) was a friend. He never invited me to his home or out to lunch, and we never attended social or sporting events together—but he was a friend nevertheless. We worked together on committees of the Denver Public Library, where meetings were always held at noon. For several years, we routinely walked to the library together, and he would wait patiently in the lobby of my building for me to come down. He was invariably dressed in a beautifully cut suit—in gray or brown—with the jacket buttoned. He always wore a white shirt, and tie, and his silver hair was always short and well trimmed. His shoes were always shined.

On the way over he would chat amiably and openly about his family, friends, cars, law firm and cases—or whatever else happened to be of interest that day. He was always friendly and cordial and treated me, and others, as old friends—even though we may not have been. The descendant of a pioneer Colorado family, he was senior partner of an old-line Denver law firm, Holme Roberts & Owen, a fine lawyer greatly respected by his peers. His friends were many. His stories were numerous and interesting.

His sudden death in December 1999, at age 72, was a shock I was not prepared for. He epitomized what a great lawyer should be and do—good legal skills, active and dedicated to his clients and the profession, open and sincere, devoted to family and friends, and an unfailing contributor to the community. I was reminded of him again last year, when a list of prominent Denver lawyers appeared in the Denver Business Journal and several mentioned him as their role model. He was for me, too, and he has been missed.

If you would like to write a memorial about a Denver attorney, please send 350 words to Feel free to also e-mail a high-resolution photo.

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