Saugerties town justice Dan Lamb died Tuesday, Feb. 13 while abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands on a family vacation, town supervisor Fred Costello Jr. said. He was 65, and had been elected to serve a seventh term in November 2017.
“Dan was just part of the fabric of what Saugerties is,” said Costello. “He used his position as a judge and attorney to help many families, many times in their darkest times of need, and it’s been very uplifting to hear how he touched so many members of our community. It’s unfortunate that we’re losing him so soon.”
Apparently inspired by a posting on social media, people have been tying red ribbons, which are being handed out at Dancing Tulip Florist until Lamb’s services have ended, onto the wrought-iron fence in front of his office at 41 Market St. in his memory.
Married and with two children, the Republican justice was a lifelong Saugerties resident and had served as town justice since 1994. Lamb ran a private practice out of a beautiful Victorian building at the intersection of Main and Market streets. Before becoming a town justice, Lamb was the Saugerties town attorney. He was a director of the Ulster Health Foundation at Kingston Hospital and provided numerous pro bono legal services for a number of organizations in town, including the Saugerties Historical Society.
“He was very clever, a lot of fun and he’s going to be very missed,” said town justice Claudia Andreassen. “Last night at court, the attorneys came up one at a time and said very touching things about him. One attorney said that ‘we had to raise our mark in being kind now that Dan wasn’t around to do it.’ We’re all waiting to see what’s happening next.”
“It’s a tragic loss to the town of Saugerties,” said police chief Joseph Sinagra. “He was a highly respected town justice. Our sympathy and prayers from the entire department go out to Joan Lamb and her family.”
“He was a pillar of this community, very highly regarded,” said previous town supervisor Greg Helsmoortel. “Besides being an excellent attorney, he did a lot of volunteer work for the community. It was an honor to work with him for many years — he always ran a very professional court and treated everyone the same.”
“Dan Lamb was a true lover of history,” said village historian Marjorie Block. “He worked very hard. He actually did all the legalities for the historical society when we put up the barn, moving it from Mount Marion to behind the historical society. We were able to secure some federal grants but a lot of that paperwork needed title searches and a lot of formalities that we needed an attorney for. Judge Lamb stepped up and did all of that for nothing, just a love of history. He married my husband and I — we’re very fond of him. He worked hard to preserve local history. It really is a tremendous loss to the community.”
“He was a major judge for years and years and years,” said village special projects coordinator Alex Wade. “He was a marvelous person and a wonderful friend — I was sad that we hadn’t gotten together recently; we used to have lunch together. After [we both] got sick, we had not managed to do it. He was larger and life. He’s helped so many people in this community — everybody was friends with him.”
In an interview with Saugerties Times when he ran for town justice in 2013, Lamb called his position “the court closest to the people.”
“I think I am in tune with the people who live in Saugerties. I understand them,” said Lamb in that interview. “I’m experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of the law, both civil and criminal. I have experience both as a prosecutor and as town attorney, and I also did defense work in various justice courts. I’m fair, impartial, and being the town judge is a great job because I actually think I have an impact on people’s lives and families. For the better, many times. It’s a very rewarding job. You feel you’re doing a real service to the people.”
Supervisor Costello praised Lamb as a Saugerties institution and an attorney who had helped many Saugerties families over the years. When more information about funeral proceedings becomes available, Costello said, they will be available on the Seamon-Wilsey Funeral Home website. Nothing was yet posted early Wednesday afternoon.