Delmar Lee Lamb, 86, of Missoula. On March 5, 2020, he closed his eyes in his home of 47 years and opened them in his heavenly home. He was born November 27, 1933, in Helena, MT, to Bill and Gladys Lamb. At age nine, he met his future wife, Patricia Mathews, while on his route as a paperboy. Delmar attended Helena High by day, and worked for Northern Pacific Railroad at night, which enabled him to be the only boy in high school who owned his own car. At age 20, he enlisted in the Army and began serving his country. With the exception of military service time, he worked for the Burlington Northern railroad for 46 years.
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On February 10, 1954, while on leave, he and 16 year old Patricia, eloped to Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, knowing that her father wanted the police to intercept them before they crossed the state line. With an altered birth certificate, wearing a back brace from a previous injury, Patricia pledged herself to Del for life. When they returned to Helena, and the men shook hands, her father told Del, “I have put up with her for 16 years, let’s see how you do it.” The couple spent the first two years of their marriage apart, Delmar serving in Korea and Japan, Patricia living in Helena. But God intervened to make sure this hasty, youthful couple beat the odds. They recently celebrated their 66th anniversary.
In 1958, when the railroad cut positions in Helena, they and their young sons Reed and Richie transferred to Missoula. There, they had two more children, Russell and Dianna. But the most important addition to the family came in 1963 when they trusted Christ as their Savior. And that forever altered the course of Delmar’s life. He served his church as treasurer and deacon, and was vice president of Lake Blaine Bible Camp for over 30 years. His servant’s heart was happy to mow the church lawn, help friends in need, and put grandkids to sleep on his magical sleeping shoulder.
His family and friends have many good memories of hunting, fishing and camping with Del. He kept a garden until recent years when Alzheimer’s made it too difficult. Even through his battle with Alzheimer’s’, Del kept his sense of humor. When asked how he was, he always said, “Ornery as ever.” His family did not feel that way, despite the many times he hid their car keys, pretended he’d step on their foot, and other pranks.
Also undiminished was his love for God. He inspired others by praying faithfully at weekly prayer meeting even when Alzheimer’s made his speech understandable only to God.
Survivors include his wife, Patricia; sons Reed (Connie), Richie (Janan), Russell, and daughter Dianna (Rick) Kuhnhenn. Grandsons: Will, Tracy, Matt, Zack, Erik, Zane and Colter; granddaughter, Britten; and five great granddaughters. With a special addition to the family: Ed & Marjorie Chan and their sons Titus & Jeremy.
His memorial service will be Friday, March 13, at 11 a.m. at Faith Baptist Church, 2853 Briggs, reception to follow; and committal with military honors at 2 p.m. at Veteran’s Cemetery, 1911 Tower Street. Memorials may be given to Lake Blaine Bible Camp or Faith Baptist Church nursery.