Gwen Lam, 90 fabulous years young, passed away June 25 after a brief illness.
Beloved sister, aunt and friend, proud veteran, accomplished and respected professional, and published author, she was, above all else, a devoted Christian. Gwen often described herself as a teenager stuck in an old person’s body.She had a faith that was contagious to those around her, and she radiated peace from within that comes from not just knowing about Jesus Christ but from someone who has developed a personal relationship with their Lord and Savior.
Born in Tahoka, Texas, Gwen grew up in a Christian home as one of ten children in Sudan, a small West Texas town.Gwen received a B.S. in Home Economics Education from Texas TechUniversity and spent two years teaching in Plains, Texas.She then served two years as a surgical technician in Denver, Colorado as a member of the United States Women’s Army Corp (WAC). Using the GI Bill to jump-start her professional career in journalism, which included 40 years inChicago and New York City developing educational programs and materials for schools and professional audiences, Gwen received a M.S. in Technical Journalism from Iowa State University inAmes.While in Chicago, she was Editorial Director at the Wheat Flour Institute and President of the Educational Materials Corporation
In 1959, Gwen joined Glick & Lorwin as a senior vice president and moved to New York City. Her experience included development of educational programs for physicians and their patients; nurses and other health care professionals; teachers and students at preschool, elementary, high school and college levels; extension leaders and the consumers they serve; professional services marketing for the vision care field; and varied assignments in the field of dentistry and dental health education. Her apartments in New York, first in trendy Greenwich Village and later on West 66thacross from Lincoln Center, always had the “welcome mat” out for excited nieces and nephews who were fortunate to past through the Big Apple (and almost all did at one time or another). Trips to the theatre to see Angela Lansbury in Mame, or You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown with lunch at the Russian Tea Room or Tavern on the Green or taking in a game at Yankee Stadium always left indelible memories that have lasted a lifetime!
As a business woman with creativity and vision, Gwen had a major role in the development and implementation of education programs for companies and organizations such as Procter & Gamble; G.D. Searle; National Live Stock and Meat Board; National Dairy Council; Poultry and Egg National Board; Manufacturing Chemists Association; Florida Citrus Commission; Pan-American Coffee Bureau; Evaporated Milk Association; Pillsbury Company; Dow Chemical Company; Campbell Soup Company; Illinois Department of Public Health; American Optometric Association; and the National Restaurant Association.
Professional affiliations included Vice President, American Home Economics Association; Treasurer, Illinois Home Economics Association; Chairman, Chicago Home Economics in Business; Advisory Committee, Ohio Program for Dental Health Education in Schools; Panelist - 1969 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health; Board Member, Chicago Nutrition Society; Board Member, Zonta International; Advisory Committee for the USDA Food and Nutrition Research Service; Board member, Women’s Bible Society of New York; Coordinator, New York Christian Writers Group; and Board of Trustees, Hephzibah Ministeries.
In 1989, Gwen retired back to Texas to live at Good Samaritan Village in Denton where she established a vibrant volunteer career as co-creator of the Quiet Time column in the weeklyInformer, as well as to author the book Meditations for Mondays, a collection ofQuiet Time columns subtitled To Help Senior Adults Start Fresh Each Week. On Fridays from 2-4, Gwen could often be found in the little Good Sam store with her homemade loaves of bread and freshly made apricot preserves.
Church involvement was always a meaningful part of Gwen’s life. In New York City, she served as a both a Deacon and an Elder of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where she was also a Bible teacher, newsletter editor, seminar/retreat leader, chairman of community outreach projects such as tutoring, leading nursing home devotionals, hospital visitation, and teaching sewing classes for recovering mental patients. Upon retirement, Gwen found a warm and welcoming church home at the First Presbyterian Church of Denton that has provided an active and supportive family in which to continue her Christian journey. Gwen was always faithful and loyal to her church home.
Christian writing was one of Gwen’s passions, and it became her personal ministry.In addition to her book, she also had articles published in Decision, Independent Living, Christian Single, and Guideposts.
Her sister Norma can’t ever remember Gwen saying a negative word about anybody or anything….she was always positive.It was always a party when Aunt Gwen showed up, remarked one of her nephews, who witnessed first hand her willingness to do and try new and interesting things.Gwen was well read and well traveled, and was equally at home at a ballpark or a symphony hall. She treasured the memories of her two trips to Ranger Stadium to witness “her” team’s World Series efforts, and even their eventual losses didn’t dampen her support. Gwen’s secret in life may have been that she put others first – genuinely interested in others and always making those around her feel special. She was “Auntie Mame” to several generations of nieces and nephews.
Always positive - never negative….Gwen is referred to by many as the “Great Encourager”!She was an encourager with a biblical perspective…. A real mentorto others on their Christian journey. She was consistent in her faith as she grew from a Kindergarten Christian whose favorite day was Sunday to a prayer warrior in Christ who developed a one-on-one relationship with her Savior through scripture reading, prayer, and meditation which she did in the quiet of the early morning each and every day.
Preceded in death by her parents Inez and Elie Lam of Denver City, TX and brothers and sisters Eva Dell Lam; Dr. Conrad Lam of Farmington, MI; Elie Lam, Wichita Falls, TX; Margaret Fulton and Kathleen Dudley of Lubbock, TX; Ledger Lam and Ruby Hutto of Phoenix, AZ; Raybon Lam Durango, CO; and Marvin Lam, Hoquiam, WA, Gwen is survived by sister Norma Emler as well as over 50 much loved nieces and nephews.
As we remember Gwen and all of the fun times, and what fun she was, we will undoubtedly shed a few tears, but we remember Gwen saying “God gave us those tears so I guess it is OK if we use them!” So be it…good and faithful servant.
Funeral service will be Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Denton.Burial will be Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Lubbock City Cemetery inLubbock.
Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Denton or Denton Good Samaritan or the charity of your choice.