My sister Colleen was brave enough to give my dad's eulogy for a very large audience. She did an amazing job, and I will always be grateful she was able to truly represent our family's feelings about my dad to everyone.
Thank you all so much for coming today to celebrate my dad. This is truly overwhelming. I want to also thank you for your continuous love and support over the past 14 years. It has been inspiring to watch a community come together for our family,
I stand here today, the luckiest girl in the world..because Ron Lamb was my dad. I knew growing up that he was one of a kind..but I don’t think I fully appreciated his devotion to us, until after his stroke. So in a way his stroke gave each us of a gift...to realize what a truly amazing man he was.
As I sat down to write this...It was a bit of a struggle. How does one put into words the truly incredible man that was Ron Lamb. A man that not only inspired his family, but an entire community. There are simply too many stories... Too many wonderful memories of my dad. What I say today, quite simply, will not be enough.
My dad’s ENTIRE life revolved around my Mom, Katie, Rachael, and me. When I think back to my childhood, I am flooded with memories..many of them playing sports. I can’t even begin to fathom the amount of time my parents spent watching the three of us at our gymnastic, swim and cross-country meets, our softball, volleyball, and soccer games. We all remember the countless times he would leave work during his lunch break..drive 30 minutes to the fields..just to watch us play for 10 minutes before having to return to work. Often times getting down in the dirt..in his suit and tie..to help us throw a couple warm up pitches to ease our pre-game jitters.
In middle school we played on the St. Joseph basketball team and my dad was assistant coach. This is a great example of how kind and patient my dad was..because our team was well..horrible. I mean absolutely awful. And yet he always coached with a smile on his face. Or how he would drive my mom’s yellow ‘76 mustang (the mustang she just couldn’t bear to give up) around town.. without AC. In the middle of the summer. In Georgia.
I can’t look back on our childhood without thinking about our house in Lee’s Crossing. Many of you here share in some of these memories. You may recall, our backyard looking like a mini sports-complex. My Dad mowed a baseball diamond in our backyard, so all the kids on park creek court could play softball and kickball. He even made himself a putting green at the back end of our yard to practice his chips shots and putts. People often made jokes about my dad being outnumbered by girls, even our dog was a girl. But my dad would just smile. I think he considered himself lucky, having passed down his love of sports to all three girls.
I remember one particular day..my dad spent the entire day working in the backyard. This was very typical for him, but on this day, I remember being confused because he was working in the side yard which was an overgrown wooded area. Later that evening my dad came and got the three of us, saying he had something he wanted to show us. To our amazement, my dad had turned the overgrown wooded area into trails so that the three of us and our neighbors could ride our bikes through the paths. We spent countless hours riding and building forts.
Anyone who knew my dad, knew his love for the Braves. I’m fairly certain our family watched every single Braves games growing up. Luckily, it was the Nineties and the Braves always won. I remember all of us watching the infamous Sid Bream slide, our house shaking as we all danced...My dad swinging us around with pure excitement. I can’t tell you the number of times he would wake us up.. late at night..even on a school night...to put our rally caps on and watch the ninth inning. The Braves always seemed to win those nights.
The love between my parents is truly one for the books. They certainly had many struggles and pain during the past 14 years, but their faith grew stronger together, carrying them through the hard times.
Mom, your loyalty and devotion to dad is unparalleled to anything I have ever seen. Thank you, for being such an amazing example of a wife, for always fighting for dad, in every way. Through all the phone calls and paperwork regarding therapy, insurance, it went on and on. But you never quit. You never quit fighting for dad, just as he never quit fighting for us.
August 2001 changed our lives forever. My dad was presented with an enormous challenge. An uphill battle.. A battle he could have easily given up on so many times and it would have been Ok...Understandable. But he didn’t. He fought every day, to have another day, with his family. It was a truly incredible experience to care for my dad the past 14 years. Even when he was helpless and vulnerable, he was still teaching us so many life lessons.
It would have been completely understandable for anyone in my dad’s situation to have daily frustrations..anger..questions as to why me? He never complained a single time..not one single time..in 14 years.
But for my dad, it was never about him. He took a vested interest in other people’s lives..how they were doing..What they were up to. Remembering small details about someone and making sure to follow up, months later..years later. It always amazed people....”Ron, I can’t believe you remember that”... I’ve heard that so many times.
Dad, It was an honor and privilege to be your daughter. I want to thank you. For being an incredible husband, father.. my buddy, my best friend. For being selfless, kind, and humble. For being a fighter. For putting up the greatest fight I have ever seen. Your fight is over now, and your body is whole again.
I am comforted by the fact that by now you have already gone on your six mile jog around the neighborhood. You’ve reclaimed your Line 1 spot on the tennis team and have won your match. You are sitting with loved ones, playing your guitar...drinking a beer.
In closing, I’ll be simple..because my dad was a man of few words.
Cheers to you Dad...Go Braves
Our family friend Jim Chess, wrote this sweet tribute to my dad. We put it in the funeral program, but I wanted everyone else to read it too.
A Tribute to a Friend
When we were young, we are led to believe a man is someone like John Wayne — the strong, silent type. But as we become adults and understand how the world really works, we begin to recognize that a real man is someone who honors his commitments, is a loving husband and father, and the type of friend who would do anything for you.
Ron Lamb was a real man.
Before the stroke, Ron was an amazing father, husband and friend. He was totally devoted to his girls, and they to him. He loved attending their school and athletic events — hundreds (thousands?) of soccer, softball, and basketball games — providing only words of encouragement and applause. He was even the type of fan we admired and emulated. And Lamb family lore holds that Ron could brand the girl’s hair better than their Mother — but I won’t rat out which girl said that. His girls also marveled at his thoroughness: Whenever he wrote out directions for them (pre-GPS days), he always wrote them for these — and back.
His devotion to and love for Mary Pat — and she to him — was breathtaking to watch. It is hard to remember a time when they weren’t together — they really were perfect complements as parents and as a couple. And he honored his commitments; the testaments from his co-workers about his reliability and willingness to help were exactly what we had come to expect of Ron.
I was lucky to be able to count him as a friend, a friends who was always there when you needed him. I was also lucky to have a daughter play 8th grade basketball for Ron — again, an incredibly positive role model who did nothing but teach and encourage.
After the stroke, we saw faces in Ron that shouldn’t have surprised me, but I’m embarrassed to admit, did. He remained an amazing father, husband and friend. But we also learned that he was literally the toughest man alive. He savored every day he was given and never ever complained. It took a while for that to sink in: he never ever complained, remaining the incredibly positive force he had always been.
We also learned how tough the entire Lamb family is, as they rallied in support of Ron.
Another facet that emerged was Ron’s willingness to make things up. I first noticed it when he answered a question no one else in the group could answer — it was routine for Ron to remember details of the recent past that no one else could — but on one occasion I knew the answer was wrong. When challenged on it he just laughed to himself, and I am laughing to myself as I remember Ron becoming a practical joker.
Before and after the stroke, our lives were enriched by our relationships with Ron. And I will miss all of that. But I think what I will miss most are Saturdays in the fall and watching Georgia games togethers. Ron was usually in a particularly ugly UGA Hawaiian shirt (maybe he considered it lucky) and when asked “Are they doing to win?” would reply “Hope so.” We knew it would be an easy game to watch when he said “Yes.”
Right about now Ron is taking a break from his daily jog or tennis game — two of his passions he is now able to rekindle — and thinking, “If you really want to provide me a tribute — live as I did. Treasure your family and friends. Pull your loved ones closer. Thank God every day you are given and live it to its fullest. Remember how lucky you are to have what — and who — you have. And, go Dawgs.