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Official Obituary of

Mary Elizabeth Dambman

March 2, 1935 ~ January 28, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Mary Dambman Obituary

With Colorado roots that go back four generations, Mary Elizabeth Dambman (née Prior) grew up in the resplendence of Pikes Peak and the surrounding allure of Central Colorado. Like the beautiful mountain, Mary was a strong presence in the lives of those around her.  

Mary began to influence this world on March 2, 1935. Born in Colorado Springs to Elizabeth Mary (née Skummer) and Frank Hart Prior, Mary was the oldest of their four children. Growing up in downtown Colorado Springs, Mary’s childhood was filled with many enjoyable activities with family, cherished conversations with her father, and competing with her much-loved sisters over closet space.

Mary was gifted with a beautiful voice and loved to sing, at one time recording a record with a high school friend. A top student, she attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and while there participated in multiple theater productions, numerous school clubs, and countless activities. Presciently, she was an activist, often rising to leadership positions and effecting change at the school. A lover of jazz and musical soundtracks, Mary liked to dance and play the piano. Her creative talent did not end there, as she was a superb seamstress.

Moving to various locations as a young Air Force wife, Mary studied as an undergraduate at Colorado College (where she was a charter member of the Alpha Phi Sorority, Gamma-Theta Chapter), the College of Marin (CA), and ultimately earned her Bachelor's degree in English from Wayne State University (MI). She went on to earn a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Colorado College while teaching English at the Air Academy High School and, unsurprisingly, served as the department chair and as president of Air Academy Education Association. Throughout her life, Mary maintained friendships with some former students.

When her husband’s job took the family to Connecticut in the 1970s, Mary caught the eye of the local Republican party and thus began a long and fulfilling career in politics. Beginning as a volunteer, Mary quickly threw her hat in the ring for public office and was elected to Simsbury Republican Town Committee and served in many posts including president of the local Republican Women’s Club.

Upon returning to Colorado Springs, Mary immediately became active in the Republican party, serving as county party secretary. From 1982 until 1988, Mary served three terms as House District 20 State Representative. Following two terms as vice-chair of the Colorado Republicans, she was unanimously elected to the Republican National Committee in 1992 and served for two terms. She also served on the RNC Executive Committee, one of three chair appointees. Mary served twice on the Board of Directors of the National Federation of Republican Women.

Upon retirement, Mary enjoyed traveling, playing bridge, knitting, cooking, going to the movies, and talking with friends. An energetic go-getter even in retirement, Mary continued to serve on local and state boards of charitable and service organizations, including the Lincoln Club of Colorado and Board of Directors of the Butterfly Pavilion. She could be seen, stylish as ever, in her signature dress hats, attending political fundraisers and continuing to serve Colorado Republicans in a variety of ways. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed walking the campaign trail and talking to constituents, Mary continued to make political and social phone calls until just a few days before she died.  

Mary, age 88, passed peacefully to eternal life on January 28, 2024.  She leaves behind Richard Franklin Dambman, their daughters Mary Susan (John F. Tokarz) and Deborah Ann (Timothy Lee Pendergrass), four grandchildren (Gregory, Amy, John, and Kathleen), and 7 great grandchildren. Mary is predeceased by her sister Margaret Therese (William J. Hensen). She is survived by her sister, Martha Eleanor (J. Joseph Marr) and brother, Francis Joseph Prior (Joan), 8 nieces and nephews, and 13 grand nieces and nephews.  

Mary sought excellence in a life well-lived. Her family and friends remember her as a natural leader who mentored and served others and someone who was friendly, fun, smart, and optimistic. Those of us lucky enough to live within view of the mighty Pike’s Peak, will be forever reminded of the remarkable Mary Dambman.

A funeral mass, with officiant, Rev. Kenneth Koehler, will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2024, 10:30am, at St. Mark Catholic Church, 3141 W. 96th Ave.  Westminster, CO 80031, where Mary was a parishioner. A reception will follow in the St. Mark Parish Center.  

A private burial will be the following day at the ancestral family plot at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Butterfly Pavilion or a charity of the donor’s choice. 

The family would like to thank the caring staff at Keystone Place at Legacy Ridge and Common Spirit- St. Anthony North Hospital. 

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Funeral Mass
April 11, 2024

10:30 AM
St. Mark Catholic Church
3141 W. 96th Ave.
Westminster, CO 80031


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