BLAIR HAMILTON
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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 Apr. 11, 2011.
Memories & Condolences
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32 entries
April 19, 2011
In losing Blair, we have lost a human being of the first order in every way: husband, father, friend, neighbor, entrepreneur, world class leader. It makes no sense. He visited my studio during the last art hop, and we engaged in a policy discussion of the first order. This was after I mistook him for reporter Kevin Kelly as I was overhearing him talk to someone from behind. Dearest Beth and Ben my heart goes out to you and everyone who had the good fortune to have him in your daily lives. Peace, Julie
Julie Davis
April 19, 2011
Blair was an inspiring and charming man, I am remembering him fondly from my time in Memphremagog land and am thinking about you Beth and Ben with tenderness and love,
Katherine Clough, Halifax, Nova Scotia
April 17, 2011
Extending sincere condolences to Beth and Ben on losing Blair, someone I have never forgotten since leaving Burlington, even though we lost regular contact some time ago. My memories go back over 30 years when Blair and Beth were principals of the Memphremagog Group in Newport--not long thereafter forming VEIC in Burlington—the organization that we now know to have been “light years” ahead of its time, as the testimonies in his memory so rightly attest. His influence in establishing energy efficiency as a household word will serve as his legacy as will the special place he has for all of us who had the privilege and pleasure of knowing him as he worked toward the realization of his vision.
Roberta Walsh
April 17, 2011
Dear Beth and Ben, The world is a better place because of Blair. His was a life well lived and he was an inspiration to all who knew and loved him.
I am so sorry for your loss and pain and hope that your wonderful memories will help you through your grief. With love, Susan Saferstein
April 16, 2011
Dear Beth, Ben and VEIC,

The world is a better, cleaner, and more efficient place because of Blair Hamilton. Blair was an inspiraton because of...his passion, his intellect, his creativity, and his will to live. I feel lucky to have known him.

Beth...what a great picture of Blair. It captures his wisdom, curiosity, zest for life, and his gentle nature.

Vaughn Collins
Washington, DC
April 15, 2011
Beth,

I was so sorry to hear of your loss. Loosing Blair's great mind, passion and commitment when we need it the most makes it that much greater. My thoughts are with you.

Karen Glitman
April 15, 2011
Blair was a kind and generous person, an insightful thinker and an extraordinary leader. He was an inspiration and model for me. He did so much for DC, Vermont and the world.

Cliff Majersik
Institute for Market Transformation
DC Sustainable Energy Utility Partner
Cliff Majersik
April 15, 2011
Dear Family and friends of Blair,
I just heard of Blair's passing and extend to you my deepest sympathy. He was a true giant in this field. Here in Maryland, whenever Blair made an appearance, we would joke that he was like the energy efficiency EF Hutton: when he spoke, commissioners listened! He will be missed.
Terri Czarski
April 14, 2011
Dear Beth and Ben, I was so saddened to hear the news last night of Blair's passing. He was, and always will be, such an inspiration in many ways. He combined tremendous passion and enthusiasm with great patience and persistence, vast knowledge with generosity, and he bore what must have been great pain and fatigue through his long battle with positivity and grace. Jeanne's and my thoughts are with you.
Dave Rapaport
April 13, 2011
Thank you Blair for all your great gifts and hard work for our community and world. You were ahead of your time, and just in time, too. Buddha said "Be like the light of one free energy-saving bulb from the electric utility companies which lights one thousand more homes". You are dearly missed.

Dear Beth and Ben, both Ivan and I have you in our thoughts and hearts. Love to you both and all the rest of your extended family.
genevieve jacobs
April 13, 2011
Dear Beth and Ben- Matt, Paige & I are so sorry to hear of Blair's passing. Our thoughts are with you.
Lenore Buehrer
April 12, 2011
Blair was a friend, a colleague, and an inpiration to all of us at Clean Energy Solutions. Of course we never see all of anyone, and Blair's real presence is unchanged.
Dave Dayton
April 12, 2011
Sending hugs from Nova Scotia.

Brendan and I shared a toast to Blair last night, and Brendan pointed out that Blair believed in the power of small things. He truly changed the energy landscape here in Nova Scotia, and our fragile coastlands thank him. Thank you Blair, for sharing so much of yourself with all of us.
Megan Leslie
April 12, 2011
I am sad to hear of Blair’s passing. I called Blair up to help me with efficiency policy when I was a young activist working for an environmental organization in Nova Scotia. He gave me a chance and we accomplished a lot. Now we have an Efficiency Nova Scotia utility and the most aggressive DSM plan in Canada. Thanks Blair! You changed my life, changed Nova Scotia and truly changed the world through your work in so many places.
Brendan Haley
April 12, 2011
Your family has been and will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. May our Lord comfort you during this difficult time.
Albert Liebno
April 12, 2011
Beth, Ben, and everyone at VEIC - I just received the news this morning and am deeply saddened. Blair provided an indelible influence on my life that continues today, and he dedicated his life in a way that impacted many people. We send our prayers along to all of you.
Jonathan Kleinman
April 11, 2011
Dear Beth,
I just got the news of Blair's passing. I am so sorry. I'm so glad he and I met this past October. He was very helpful as usual. We talked more about yours and his work in Southern Africa than anything else.

Thinking about working with him I am reminded of how good he was coaching me at the Public Service Board hearings when the new governor wanted to cut Efficiency Vermont. No one was more helpful to me writing the State Agency Energy Plan. He was great.

Thank you for helping him work all those years so that together, you could make an amazing contribution. That was accomplished.

With warmest regards and love,

Curt McCormack
April 11, 2011
That you sang for your loved one on such a sad day is awesome! God bless all of you.
Nancy
April 11, 2011
Dear Beth and Ben, such a beautifully written obituary, bursting with the love and enjoyment of life that was completely characteristic of Blair, his boundless enthusiasm and fascination with interesting ideas, his warmth and playfulness, his commitment to justice, peace and community across the globe. Love, love, xoxoxo Sally
Sally Ballin
April 11, 2011
Dear Beth & Ben,
We send you love and hugs. Blair made a difference. He made the world better by the kind of person he was and the good work that he and you have done. He touched us, and so many others. We will miss him.
Love,
David Goodman & Sue Minter
April 11, 2011
We have been pleased and honored to sing with Blair whenever he could be with us at the weekly shape note sing at Ira Allen these past few years.
All peace and comfort to Ben and Beth and the family.
Pete Sutherland
Pete Sutherland
April 11, 2011
Jane and family. Please accept condolences form all your friends at D.O.C. You and your entire family are in our thoughts and prayers. May you find peace and comfort in loving memories of Blair.
Mark Martin
April 11, 2011
To the Family of Blair Hamilton:
Although I knew Blair only briefly, I developed a deep respect for his knowledge, love and passion for creating a better environment. You have my deepest sympathy and prayers for internal peace during this difficult time.
Loretta S. Caldwell
L. S. Caldwell & Associates, Inc.
SEU Partner, Washington, DC.
April 11, 2011
I am among the newest crop of LBH admirers - the local proponants of a Washington, DC Sustainable Energy Utility. We looked to VEIC for the model, and when time for selection of a contractor came, it was with great satisfaction that we learned VEIC had won the bid. Blair was a steady, strait-forward and reasoned advocate for this strategic approach to energy efficiency and conservation, and will remain an inspiration to all of us who will continue to advance his vision.
Larry Martin
April 11, 2011
So sorry to hear of Blair's passing, and my condolences to his family. I work with Blair's brother-in-law, Doug, who spoke so well of Blair as a person and as a dedicated professional. I hope you all find peace in this difficult time.
Carol Harding
April 11, 2011
Linda and I send our condolences to Beth, Ben, Larry, and the rest of the family. We remember Blair as a very warm man who accomplished much on behalf of our natural and human environments.
Jim Schweithelm
April 11, 2011
My first memory of Blair is 25 years ago in a small office at City Hall where the topic of the day was energy efficiency and district heating for the Waterfront - then Blair worked with Main Street Landing to develop our environmental principles for our waterfront master plan - so many memories - so much brilliance - so much grace and strength - he will be missed - one of the greats in Environmentalism....my heart is sad today......
Melinda Moulton
Melinda Moulton
April 11, 2011
Please accept our deepest sympathies. Blair will be greatly missed in the ongoing battle for energy efficiency and justice. These are hard times for the poor and they need all the champions and advocates they can find. Blair will certainly be missed but he has set a very high standard for achievement. Let us pray we can meet that standard.
Joseph Meissner
April 11, 2011
Beth - I was so sorry to hear about Blair's passing. He was inspiring in so many ways, including his commitment to efficiency and his strength in dealing with his health challenges. He'll be missed by all that knew him.
Joan Gamble
April 11, 2011
One of the rare pioneers for shaping our better tomorrow has left the room. We owe thanks, and perseverance, for the short visit.
Joe Bongiovanni
April 11, 2011
Beth & Ben - The Fischer Family wishes that great people not leave us - what an enormous loss to you, your family, your circle of friends and all Blair's partners in building a vital and sustainable energy future. We are thinking of you and send our sadness, sympathy and love. Cheryl, Monty, Alex and Diana Fischer
April 11, 2011
My deepest sympathy to all at VEIC and to Beth&Ben. I'm honored to have known such a great man. You are all in my prayers.
Earl Handy
Earl Handy
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