Arthur Fordham Lambert
The South Bay is home to many great leaders, and Art Lambert was certainly one of the finest and most influential.
Arthur Fordham “Artie” Lambert, 86, passed away peacefully at his home in McCall, Idaho on Friday, August 26, 2022 after battling Parkinson’s disease. His devoted wife of 42 years, Mary Jo was by his side.
Art was born in San Francisco, California September 27, 1935, the only son of Arthur W. and Janice Grace Lambert. From an early age, he experienced a deep passion for athletics and physical education, which he pursued throughout his life and career.
He graduated from Sequoia High School in 1953 and attended San Jose State University. By the time he graduated from SJSU, he was team captain and three-time All-American in both water polo and swimming for the Spartans. Art earned a master's degree from SJSU and went on to coach and teach at Awalt High School from 1961-1967 where his teams won four Santa Clara Valley Athletic League and four Northern California water polo titles. After college he played water polo for the Olympic Club and the team won two national titles in 1957 and 1959.
In 1957, he joined the U.S. Army and finished his career with the service in 1961.
In 1968, he was hired at De Anza Community College and from 1968-1973 he coached the Dons to six Golden Gate Conference and Northern California titles and won a state championship in 1971. He also coached the Foothill and De Anza Aquatic Foundation water polo teams, to six national AAU titles.
His first Gold Medal as a coach came in 1967 at the Pan American games. As a result, he was selected as head coach of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team in Mexico City where the team finished fifth. He then went on to coach as an assistant in the 1972 U.S. team that won the Bronze Medal in Munich.
Lambert then moved on to coach water polo at Stanford from 1974-1978 and immediately led them to an NCAA championship. He had a career record of 55-19 while at Stanford.
In 1977, Lambert took over the reins of Stanford’s new varsity men’s volleyball team, he later coached the women’s varsity team, as they went from club to varsity.
In 1977 he moved with his family to Sandpoint, Idaho where he sold real estate and built homes.
Notre Dame called, as they wanted a coach to build their woman's volleyball program and from 1984 to 1990, he did just that – building the Irish program into a top-ranked team.
After returning to Sandpoint, he started an all-star women's team in the area and for more than a decade he developed players who received collegiate athletic scholarships. He put on many volleyball camps with his wife Mary Jo, herself a former college coach.
Lambert shared his coaching philosophies, in his book “The Techniques of Water Polo”. He has been inducted into the following Hall of Fames:
U.S. Water Polo
SJSU as a player and a coach
Sequoia High School as a player and a coach
De Anza College as a coach
Olympic Club of San Francisco as a player
San Jose Sports Hall of Fame as a coach
The outdoors was his playground, diving and surfing in the ocean, backpacking in the Sierra's, biking in the mountains and playing golf with his friends. Spending time with his family and especially his grandchildren, whom he was extremely proud, were his happiest moments. His bright blue eyes, humor, wit and “one-of-a-kind personality” will be remembered by all who knew him. Art’s family, friends and players will all miss him, but memories last forever.
He is survived by his wife Mary Jo Lambert, son and daughter from his first wife, Dana Williamson, Greg (Kelly) and Gena (Michael) Muehle; stepdaughter Geneva Tracy (Scott) Campo; stepson Grant (Nicole) Tracy; grandchildren Ben, Matthew and Sam Lambert; Gisella Campo; Jared and Jake Tracy.
Funeral Service will be at 2:00 p.m., September 17, 2022 in Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church. Burial will immediately follow in the McCall Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will follow at 5:30 p.m. in the Holiday Inn, 210 N. 3rd St., McCall, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans or Parkinson’s Research.
Online condolences may be left at www.mccallfunerals.com
Arrangements in care of McCall Funeral Home.
Disabled American Veterans - c/o VA Regional Office
444 W. Fort St., Room 143, Boise ID 83702
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
P.O.Box 5014, Hagerstown MD 21741-5014