Bob Lambert — role model par excellence

Published 1:03 pm Saturday, October 31, 2015

To the Editor:

Bob Lambert’s passing on Oct. 27 in Williamsburg was sad news for many people, especially the many friends of his in Virginia, South Carolina and many other parts of the U.S. A VMI Class of 1952 graduate, he served his country in the U.S. Army, then settled with wife, Betty, in Franklin as he began a stellar career at then Camp Manufacturing Company, which became Union Camp Corporation and later International Paper.

Upon his arrival in Franklin he immediately became involved in many community activities, most notably Boy Scout Troop 17 in which he served as Scoutmaster for nine years. He led 16 boys to earn the top rank of Eagle Scout. He was also awarded the coveted Silver Beaver designation, one of the highest honors in Scouting. Betty was always there supporting him.

After a series of promotions of increasing responsibility in the Franklin mill, he was selected to lead the planning, startup and operation of the company’s ultra-modern mill in Eastover, South Carolina, near Columbia. The mill’s extraordinary successes there are directly attributable to Bob’s skills in engineering, technology and human resources management. He was approachable, smiled constantly and always ready to listen to a better idea.

I was especially honored to call Bob my friend because, you see, I was one of those 16 Eagle Scouts he nurtured as well as one of his staff employees on the Eastover team.

International Paper’s shutdown of the Franklin mill had, and continues to have, a devastating impact on the economic situation and quality of life in our area. There were thousands of local and regional citizens employed there in high-paying jobs with terrific benefits, plus many others working for surrounding firms that supported the mill. One of the truly sad results of the mill shutdown, which is not generally mentioned, is the fact that no longer do many quality people of Bob Lambert’s caliber move to our area seeking a career and, while here, contribute in such a positive way.


Bob Holt