Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Devoted his life to equal rights and AIDS awareness; was active in Maine politics for over 40 years.

Robin D. Lambert, one of the leading figures in the state of Maine over the past three decades in the battle to win equal rights for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people, and an early proponent of AIDS awareness, died of an apparent heart attack on or about October 22nd. He was 56 years of age and suffered from AIDS.

Lambert was born in Houlton, Maine on July 28, 1950, the son of Don P. Lambert and Lucille (Delosier) Lambert. He graduated from Hall-Dale High School, and earned a degree in political science from the University of Maine at Orono in 1974, and was President of the Maine College Republicans.

He was an active Republican since about 1964, first working on Margaret Chase Smith's campaign. He served as a Legislative Aide at the State House for the Senate Republicans in the mid-1970's, and was good friends with Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

He worked on numerous political campaigns over the years, including presidential, gubernatorial, US Senate and US Congress contests, and Maine legislative races. He ran for the Maine State Senate twice, once in 1990 and most recently in 2002. He was a resident of Portland for the last 22 years. In his 2002 State Senate race, Lambert listed his priorities as:
-Increased state aid to K-12 education.
-Reduced health insurance cost, making health care affordable and accessible to more people.
-Support for equal rights for all Mainers.
-Support for small businesses by limiting tax and regulatory burdens.
-More affordable housing for all the people of Portland.

Lambert was one of the founders of the Maine Lesbian Gay Political Association (MLGPA) in 1983. The organization was founded to fight for civil rights and equal protection under the law for gay people, following the murder of a gay man, Charlie Howard. For many years he was the leading Republican publicly supporting LGBT civil rights, and was able to persuade many in his party to join him in pressing for equal rights for all. For many years he served on the MLGPA (now Equality Maine) Board and was twice recognized by them for his outstanding work for civil rights.

Robin Lambert was also an early advocate for addressing the complicated and important issues that surrounded the human immunodeficiency infection (HIV) as it began to impact Maine. As an openly gay man with many friends who were at risk for the infection, and also as a director of Human Resources at Konica, he recognized immediately the deadly potential of the virus to affect all Maine people.

He was a founding member of the AIDS project (TAP) in Portland, which was established in the early 80s to provide information and support to people who wanted to avoid becoming infected, and to those who feared that they might already be infected. TAP was one of the first community responses to HIV infection in Maine. Lambert was appointed to Governor McKernan's AIDS Advisory Committee in 1987, and served on the committee for a number of years.

Lambert was also a longtime board member and volunteer at the Peabody House, in Portland, an organization which gives comprehensive assistance to people living with HIV / AIDS.

Lambert was Vice President of Human Resources for Konica Quality Photo East, where he oversaw, wrote and administered employee personnel policies, until his retirement in 1996 due to illness.

He was active in many business and community organizations, including service as President of the Human Resources Association of the Maine Chamber and Business Alliance, and was also a member of the National Association of Manufacturers. He was co-owner of Natasha’s Restaurant in Portland from 1997 to 1999.

He is survived by his parents Don and Lucille Lambert of Farmingdale; brothers, Allen Lambert of Limestone, Jon Lambert of Farmingdale, Tim Lambert of Cross Lake; sister, Dawn Real and special nephew Tucker Real of Farmingdale; daughter Jodi Meader, her husband Lawrence Meader; and granddaughter Lillian Meader of Farmingdale; his recently discovered son, Lee Green Jr.; also, his former wife and good friend Joline Rees of Augusta; and his trusted dog friend Harley. His partner Harley Hamilton, as well as many dear and beloved friends, predeceased him.

Visiting hours will be on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 7-9 p.m., at Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford Street, Portland. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday morning, November 3rd.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to either:The Peabody House, 335 Valley St., Portland, Maine 04102, or Equality Maine, P. O. Box 1951, Portland, Maine 04104


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