For decades, John Silver quietly walked in and out of his law firm in downtown Catron Building, also known as the Silver Building, where he worked with clients on real estate, trust and financial affairs. other real estate affairs.
The longtime lawyer, who died Thursday morning, was not the type to attract attention, said his wife, Gloria Silver.
“He would like to be remembered as a caring Santa Fean, carrying on the family tradition of supporting everyone in New Mexico,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Her husband, she said, likely died of a heart attack at their Santa Fe home. He was 69 years old.
John Silver’s legal partner, Joe McClaugherty, said Silver enjoys his job because it allows him to pursue two personal goals – “helping people and solving problems.”
McClaugherty, who has worked with Silver since around 1990, said in a phone interview that their relationship was “as good as the best of marriages.” We had been together for 30 years and we never had the slightest disagreement. We just matched up well.
Community service was deeply rooted in the Silver family. Silver’s parents were longtime Abe and Marian Silver, Santa Feans who ran Guarantee in Plaza, a leading retail store with a long history in the city until it closed in 1988.
The couple have supported many local nonprofits and arts organizations and were named Santa Fe Living Treasures in 2008.
Santa Fe High School graduate John Silver has set himself a goal of becoming a professional tennis player, his wife said. But a bad knee ended that dream, despite teaching and playing tennis for years.
Instead, he turned to law studies. He graduated from the University of New Mexico Law School in 1977 and began practicing soon after, settling in his hometown.
He met his wife, a Seattle ballet dancer, when she came to Santa Fe to appear in the 1983 Santa Fe Opera production of Orpheus in the Underworld, in which she danced the cancan.
“The can-can will have them every time,” said Gloria Silver with a laugh.
The couple married in 1984 and had two children, Tom and Johanna, twins born in January 1992.
Johanna, a writer living in Brooklyn, said by phone Tuesday that her father was “a huge support, the kindest father, always a problem solver, always coming to us for support.”
Tom, who works in the restaurant and cannabis industry in Denver, said over the phone that his father loved his job but often joked with his son, “Never go to law school.
McClaugherty said his partner did not view the people he served as a source of income. One of the reasons Silver was successful in his practice, he said, was his ability to form a personal relationship with these clients.
“I would say without a doubt that the vast majority [of clients] became personal friends after legal work ended, ”said McClaugherty.
Silver has supported the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation. He has also contributed to environmental, youth and animal-focused organizations such as the Jane Goodall Institute and the Allene and Jerome Lapides Foundation.
Despite his love of animals, he wasn’t much of a pet, his son said.
“He was a bit more fond of animals in the wild,” said Tom Silver.
When asked how John Silver would like to be remembered, McClaugherty replied, “With a smile.”
Gloria Silver said the family will likely organize a memorial for her husband in the spring.