Howard Erwin LambAugust 2, 1931 ~ October 29, 2017 (age 86)
Howard Erwin Lamb, 86 of Alexandria Virginia, passed suddenly from a ruptured aortic aneurysm on Sunday, October 29, 2017. The only child of Erwin Hazel Lamb and Ruth Buck, Howard grew up in Santa Rosa, California, attended Santa Rosa High School and remained a proud booster of the Santa Rosa High School Foundation throughout his life. He completed two years at Santa Rosa Junior College and then received his B.A. in Music Education from San Francisco State College. After volunteering for military service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Howard served as a music teacher in the public schools of Concord, California. Being a big man with a recent military experience, his music room became the place where all the “acting out” kids were sent to settle down. He became interested in what made kids (and adults) tick and eventually obtained a multi-discipline doctorate in Physiology, Psychology and Sociology from the University of Delaware, where he taught in the education program for several years.
Early in his adulthood, after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, Howard developed a lifelong interest in Hinduism and became a nonresident member of the Ananda Village, a spiritual cooperative community in Nevada City, California.
In the 60’s he became involved in the school desegregation work being done by NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Sciences. Eventually he was invited to become a member of that Institute and served throughout the late 60’s to the mid-70’s on its central professional staff, consulting on human relations and community relations training projects. He was celebrating his 50th year of membership in this prestigious organization this year.
Howard had two daughters, Linda Ann Lamb and Lisa Ann Koehler, with the woman whom he affectionately called his “family wife,” Lillian. After that marriage ended many years later, he met Sue Ries Lamb, also a member of NTL Institute, who has been his beloved “soul mate and partner-in-life” for almost 40 years. They have worked together on national and international organization development and cultural change projects all over the U.S. and in Afghanistan, Canada, Costa Rica, India and Pakistan.
He has been a loving stepfather to Rob and Julie Ries, and their spouses Eilleen Hocking and Steve O’Reilly, as well as a proud and loving grandfather to Marshall Koehler, Scout and Cal Ries, and Gray and Evyn O’Reilly. He also leaves a daughter, Sarah, a grandson, Christopher Chenault and Mark Williams, for whom he has been an important father figure.
Active in the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church (MVUC), Howard sang bass in the church choir, co-facilitated Board and congregation meetings, and became active in an MVUC partnership with the ICNA VA Islamic Center. Recently, he had taken the lead role in planning and emceeing a potluck dinner to foster connections between 100 members of the MVUC and ICNA VA congregations.
He leaves many loving friends and colleagues all over the world. One colleague summed up his legacy in the following words: “Ultimately, one of the gifts Howard gave us all was the gift of being openly ourselves, which he modeled daily.” He will be greatly missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, or Mount Vernon Unitarian Church.
Mount Vernon Unitarian Church
1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria VA 22307
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor, New York NY 10004
Southern Poverty Law Center