Magazine Feature / People

Former law professor was expert in natural resources

Clyde Martz, a “giant in the field” of natural resources who taught law at the University of Denver for almost two decades, died May 18. He was 88.

Martz worked at the University of Denver from 1962 to 1980. He left the University to enter private practice in Denver.

His name was recognizable on both the state and national level. He chaired the committee that led to the founding of the University of Colorado Natural Resources Law Center in 1982. The center was the first of its kind to encompass all aspects of natural resource law.

“The center’s reputation as an honest broker on important issues of natural resources law and policy reflect Clyde’s vision for the center,” says Mark Squillace, current director of the Natural Resources Law Center. “He was a giant in our field and those of us who had the good fortune to know Clyde marvel at his record of achievement.”

And Martz’s record of achievement was a long one: He was the author of the very first casebook on natural resource law and served as assistant attorney general in the natural resources division of the U.S. Attorney’s office under President Lyndon Johnson. He also served as the chief lawyer for the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter.

In 1987, Colorado Gov. Roy Romer appointed Martz his natural resources director, calling him one of the nation’s top lawyers.

Martz earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and history from the University of Nebraska in 1941 and his law degree from Harvard University in 1947.

Ann Spieker, Martz’s wife since 1947, died in 2004. Martz is survived by a son, Robert, and daughter, Nancy, and two grandchildren.

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