Leonardo Da Vinci wrote, “As a well spent day brings happy sleep so life well used brings happy death.”
We gather to remember Alec who brought so much happiness to all of us with his caring manner and inquisitive nature. A loving husband and nurturing father. A scholar and teacher. A best friend. We all have our private fond memories.
When he came to this earth a decade or so following my arrival, I thought of him as a distraction from my comfortable position as male heir in a paternalistic Greek-American family. My older sister Betty however saw him as her first child to raise. I used him as target practice with my BB gun, a can atop his head. Betty used him to hone her motherly instincts.
After we two, Betty and I, left the nest, Alec offered comfort and joy to our Mom and Dad for many years. He was Mom’s support and Dad’s trophy son who always was caring and a pleasure to be around. His accomplishments in high school and college were many, whether on the basketball court or in the classroom Our parents were so proud of their later in life child.
Alec loved the South and many summer activities at Folly Beach outside of his home town of Charleston, SC. He could be a beach bum or a southern gentleman in a seer-sucker suit. If the suit got dirty he would throw it into the washer. No airs about Alec, just down to earth.
He excelled in areas that demonstrated his curiosity about people and places. He traveled South America, Africa as well as all over Europe teaching and exploring. He always made friends by showing his interest in others. He might go into a Mom and Pop Restaurant and enter the kitchen to see the preparations and discuss details with the cook. He wanted to find out what made others tick.
He served in the US Navy prior to graduate school, and was stationed in Iceland for a time where he edited an underground newspaper about inequalities in the military. He avoided a court martial after my father intervened with his congressman Rep. L. Mendel Rivers D SC who was Chair of the House Armed Services Committee. Or at least that was the tale we all heard. Alec said little.
Alec worked as a TV journalist and later as a reporter and copy editor at several newspapers in various cities where he taught and schooled. At Vanderbilt University he obtained his Masters and Doctorate in Political Science. He added later a law degree from the University of Maryland. He always maintained his license to practice law after passing the Ohio bar exam.
He loved teaching students and doing research and wrote books and chapters and many articles on various researched political topics especially the U.S. elections, political party system change, and the American presidency.
He taught at the University of North Florida and the University of Mississippi, before a move north to Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University 20 years ago. He quickly acclimated and thrived in this new Yankee environment. Alec biked in spring and summer and cross country snow skied in winter. At Case he met his great love Renee. They married and would live here in Erie. I was honored to be their best man. Three wonderful sons in time would complete the family, Peter, Alexander and Nico. We called them Lamis Family North to our Lamis Family South.
Alec became the little wine maker producing CASA LAMIS, white and red labelled wines. Quite good actually. Alec and Renee would pack the kids and all their stuff in their van and travel to Charleston, Atlanta, Florida and elsewhere. He was fond of saying this family always travels together. He adored his wife and sons and their times together.
Alec was loved by all that met and got to know him for his gentleness, intellect and caring demeanor. He will be greatly missed by all.
An unknown author wrote the following, it will serve well as my epitaph for my beloved brother Alec: “If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again”
Pano Lamis, February 16, 2012