A Look Back in Time
Clara Lamb told me the Sheriff’s Office was the best place she ever worked. “I enjoyed every minute.” Clara began working at the Sheriff’s Office in August of 1958 and was hired by then Sheriff Amos “Jim” Reid. She later served for Sheriff Bill Closner and was the Chief Civil Deputy when she retired in 1979. Clara was elected Skamania County Clerk in November of 1979 and took office January 1st 1980. She served as County Clerk for two terms retiring from public service in 1987.
When Clara began her career with the Sheriff’s Office she said there were two night jailers who worked alternating nights and 2 deputies, George Jeter and Jack Wright. Usually there were only 3 or 4 inmates in the jail at any given time. There were many dispatchers who were coming and going throughout her time with the Sheriff’s Office.
She recalls the deputies used their own cars as patrol vehicles and were provided money for gas. It was a short time after she began working when the county began supplying deputies with take home patrol cars. Radios were non-existent in the few years prior to 1958.
When I asked what her duties were at the Sheriff’s Office she replied, “ I was hired to do everything.” “ I went out on the road with the deputies, dispatched, locked guys up and interviewed new hires for dispatch.” She told me she still has her federal license, which was required in order to work the radios at the time. She recalled, with a laugh, those times when they had difficulty talking to the deputies on patrol but could use the radio system to talk to people in Georgia.
Clara was born in 1923 in Goldendale and moved to Carson when she was 2 years old. She graduated from Stevenson High School in 1940 and this past weekend she and 4 of her classmates celebrated their 70th class reunion during S.H.S. alumni weekend. Clara worked for the County extension office and the Assessor from 1940 to 1958.
Clara was married to Frank Lamb who worked as a logger and served in the Army stationed in Iran during World War II. They had two sons, Charles and Frank Jr. who have both passed away. Clara, on behalf of all of us currently serving with the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, Thank you for your service to the citizens of Skamania County.