BLAIR HAMILTON - BURLINGTON - Lawrence Blair Hamilton died peacefully on Friday, April 8, 2011, while family and friends who love him deeply sang him his favorite songs. Blair was born in Toronto, Ontario, on Oct. 4, 1949, the first child of Helen Hamilton and Larry Hamilton, and grew up in Ithaca, N.Y. He met his life partner Beth Sachs in 1972, and their son Ben SachsHamilton was born in Burlington in 1987. Blair graduated from Antioch College, and went on to get an Architecture degree from McGill University in 1976. He was awarded an honorary law degree by the Vermont Law School in 2010. Blair's passion for environmental and social justice began early in life, and he pursued it with tenacity until the day he died. After the 1973 oil embargo, he dedicated his life to advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy. He and Beth played key roles in starting several energy-related organizations in California, Montana, and Newport, Vt. In 1986, they founded the nonprofit Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), his passion for the next 25 years. Blair was an international innovator and leader in the field of energy efficiency research, policy, design and implementation, and a visionary and mentor to colleagues around the world. He was the driving force in creating Efficiency Vermont, the first "energy efficiency utility" in the country, and helped to start similar entities in other states and countries. In 2002, he was named a "Champion of Energy Efficiency" by the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy, and in 2003, he accepted an innovation award from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government on behalf of VEIC. Over 25 years, Blair was responsible for the installation of at least 30 million efficient light-bulbs! Blair's love for his work was second only to his love for his family - his face lit up whenever they were around or in his conversation. He loved living in Burlington, where he could bike to the Saturday farmer's market, listen to Vermont Public Radio, go skiing in the Green Mountains, sing folk songs, and look out at the lake as he read his weekly New Yorker. A diagnosis of non- Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1991 influenced the rest of his life. He bore it with tremendous grace and courage, continuing to work, travel and play through many challenges to his health. He was cared for by an outstanding team of health care providers, and volunteered for many studies to advance medical research. He will be remembered with great love by Beth and Ben, his parents, his siblings Bruce Hamilton, Anne Johnson and Lynne Silverberg, and an enormous circle of extended family and friends. A private memorial will be held. Donations may be made to the Blair Hamilton Memorial Energy Efficiency Fund for innovation in energy and social justice at VEIC, 255 S. Champlain St., Burlington, VT 05401.
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Published in The Burlington Free Press on April 11, 2011