Francis Primbs King

Obituary
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Francis Primbs King, a prominent attorney in Denver for several decades, died at his Cheesman Park home Friday, July 19. He was 82. Beginning in 1959 with Dawson Nagel Sherman & Howard and later with Lentz Evans & King, Frank King practiced business and tax law in Denver for more than 50 years. Frank was born May 9, 1931, in Pocatello, Idaho, where he and his brother, George, were raised by their mother Mary Primbs King. His mother, a native of Pretoria, South Africa, immigrated to the United States in 1907 with her family. Her parents were natives of Passau and Munich, Bavaria. The Primbs family lived in Brooklyn briefly before moving to Idaho in 1909. Growing up in Idaho, he found a spiritual connection to the mountains which would last his entire life. His boyhood in Idaho was idyllic in many ways, roaming the hills around Pocatello, camping in the Sawtooth Range and earning the rank of Eagle Scout. His mother was an avid hiker and she took her sons to the Tetons every summer where they would swim in the frigid waters of String Lake. Frank's cousins taught him to ski and he developed a lifelong love for the sport, which he later passed along to his children. During high school, he swept the floors at his uncle's printing shop to earn money to go skiing. In 1949, he graduated from Pocatello High School, where he had excelled on the football, ski and track teams, as well as many student groups. After turning down a football scholarship to BYU, he accepted a Columbia College National Scholarship. He attended Columbia from 1949 until he followed the professional option program into Columbia Law School in 1952. Four years of naval service interrupted his schooling and he served as a communications officer on several types of vessels that delivered fighter jets to different US military installations. Frank sailed about 160,000 miles, including multiple visits to Japan and Europe, and received a promotion to lieutenant (junior grade). Returning to New York City after his 1957 honorable discharge from the military, he completed his final two years of law school. He served as an editor of the Columbia Law Review and was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He settled in Denver in 1959 and joined the law firm of Dawson Nagel Sherman & Howard as an associate. He became a partner of that firm in 1968. In 1972, he became a founding partner of Lentz Evans & King law firm (now Robinson, Diss & Clowdus), where he practiced law for the remainder of his career. He was an expert in corporations, corporate tax and business law and represented many prominent Colorado businesses. He was often described as a "lawyer's lawyer." The same year he moved to Denver, he married Kendrick Townsend. They had four children: Anna Marie, Christopher, Catherine and Elizabeth. Frank and his children shared many wonderful times skiing, hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains. An experienced mountaineer, Frank climbed peaks on four continents. He climbed to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the mountains, reaching the summit of 51 of Colorado's Fourteeners as well as many other peaks. He was an environmentalist and enthusiastically supported the protection of the American wilderness. In 1995, he married Susan Healy Smart. They were married for 18 years during which time they traveled, hiked and enjoyed a deeply loving life together. She was by his side at the end of his life. He thought of her two daughters, Healy and Alexandra, as his own. Frank, a consistently kind and generous man, overcame many challenges in life with joyful determination and a smile. He will be missed by his family and a multitude of friends. Frank is survived by his four children: Anna Marie King (Theo Parisek), Christopher King; Catherine King (Larry LaPensee), and Elizabeth King Humphrey (Philip Humphrey), ten grandchildren: Alexander and Benjamin Parisek; Andrea, Cari Anna and Conrad King; Tabor and Lyden LaPensee; and Veronica, Mac and Petra Humphrey; two stepdaughters: Healy Parks (Ted Parks, MD) and Alexandra Smart, MD (Daniel Tipton) and five stepgrandchildren: Shelby, Hudson and Walker Parks; and Sawyer and Piper Tipton. Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 26 at The Cathedral Basilica of Immaculate Conception, 401 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, 607 10th St., Golden, CO 80401, 303-278-7650; Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, 600 So. Marion Pkwy, Denver, CO 80209, 303-715-1010 or Food Bank of the Rockies, Box 151560, Lakewood, CO 80215, 720-473-6323.


Published in Denver Post on July 24, 2013
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