Memorial service for Lamb to include kids’ soccer games
Joe Lamb, who died on Wednesday, Dec. 9, had two distinctly different sides to his personality, said his wife, Michelle.
One was side was “Mr. Lamb,” the building official for the city of Port Aransas.
“Mr. Lamb was serious and was about business,” Michelle said. “He was very fair. It didn’t matter how rich or poor you were, or what kind of business you had, big or small, he made sure everyone followed the same rules. It may have irritated some people, but people ended up liking it, because they knew where they stood. He had so much integrity.”
Michelle said her husband’s other side was, simply, “Joe,” a broadly smiling man who served as a coach of children’s soccer teams and gave free cartooning lessons for kids at H.G. Olsen Elementary School.
“Joe was silly,” his wife recalled. “He loved to play jokes. He was never serious. He was like a big kid. That’s one of the reasons he did so well with kids. He was on their level.”
Lamb, 47, collapsed on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at a Houston hotel where he was attending a conference, said Dave Parsons, acting city manager of Port Aransas. He died the same day at a Houston hospital.
No confirmed cause of death was known, but Michelle Lamb said she believes her husband died of a heart attack. He had been a heart patient in the past. An official cause of death was pending results of autopsy tests.
A service celebrating Lamb’s life will be held at noon Monday, Dec. 21, at Fred Rhodes Memorial Pavilion at Roberts Point Park. The Rev. William Campbell will officiate.
As part of efforts to keep it an upbeat event, members of the children’s soccer teams that Lamb coached are invited to wear their soccer uniforms and play a friendly game of soccer at the park after the service.
Folks who attend the service may bring food and drinks to share after the service, organizers said.
Lamb’s friends plan to plant a tree at the park in Lamb’s honor, said Nick Lorette, who was helping organize the event.
City hall always is closed from noon to 1 p.m., but it might stay closed another 30 minutes or a bit longer to allow city employees to attend the service, Parsons said.
A memorial service for Lamb also was held on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at First Christian Church in Odessa, where Lamb grew up.
Port Aransas Mayor Claude Brown said he’ll miss Lamb.
“I want to offer condolences to his family,” Brown said. “I think Joe was one hell of a guy.”
Lamb was hired by the city as building inspector in July 2002, and he was named building official after he gained more credentials, said Pat Garrett, executive assistant to the city manager.
“He was a super guy,” said Councilman Keith Donley. “He was a great dad, and he treated everybody equally and fairly. And, in his job, you couldn’t ask for more.”
Lamb wore many hats. In addition to working as the city’s building official, he was the Region 9 director of the Texas Flood Plain Management Association and served on the Governor’s State Task Force for Homeland Security/FEMA.
Lamb also was the city’s fire marshal, flood plain administrator and director of code enforcement.
Busy as he was, he also served as a coach in the Port Aransas Youth Soccer League from 2007 to present. He worked in a volunteer capacity, as do all coaches in the league. This year, he coached three teams: the Marlins, Sea Demons and Strikers.
Lamb’s players excelled. The Makos went undefeated in 2007.
“He was magical,” Lorette said. “He got so much out of the kids. They just admired and worshipped him.”
The Sea Demons players are enduring a double tragedy this year. Lamb’s assistant coach on that team was Sarah Maxham, who died at the age of 41 in a Corpus Christi hospital on Oct. 22.
Lamb previously coached children’s soccer teams in Odessa and Portland.
“He felt that you can live forever if you help teach a child, because they’ll always remember you,” Michelle Lamb said. “He has touched hundreds of children’s lives.”
Lamb had two daughters: Shayna Davis of Corpus Christi and Rachel Lamb of Las Cruces, N.M.
Parsons said city officials in Rockport, Ingleside and Aransas Pass have agreed to help provide plan reviews and building inspection services in Port Aransas while Port Aransas looks for a new building official. Port Aransas residents who have questions about those services should contact Port Aransas city hall at (361) 749-4111.
“Joe’s passing is a tremendous loss for the city,” said Mayor Pro Tem Keith McMullin. “But that pales in comparison to the loss for his family, friends and our Port A community.”