Born: May 30, 1928
Died: May 30, 1992
Married: Margaret Wilson
Children: Michael Lamy
James Lamy was an Olympic bobsledder in 1956 and 1964, and served as chairman of the United States Olympic Bobsled Committee, and vice president of the Federation Internationale de Bobsledding et Tobogganing. He was inducted into the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) Hall of Fame on November 10, 2012. [See the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Nov. 23, 2012.]
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, June 1, 1992
Lamy remembered as competitor, outdoorsman and loyal friend
By ELLEN BALLOU Enterprise Staff Writer
SARANAC LAKE — Three weeks ago, in what would be his last public appearance, Jim Lamy regaled residents with stories of days gone by in Saranac Lake, joking with locals about everything from changes in the village to duck hunting.
Ironically, it was while duck hunting in Corning that Lamy suffered a fatal heart attack on his 64th birthday Saturday.
Lamy was the host of a Centennial story swap at the Hotel Saranac on May 8, when he commented about changes in the community over the years, including the demise of the old mom and pop stores, which have been replaced by the larger chains. He concluded the evening of tale-telling by saying it would be nice if the community and its natives had the opportunity for such gatherings more often.
The Saranac Lake native was an avid sportsman, who once commented in an article about himself in 1975, "Nothing measures up to the pleasure and satisfaction one experiences by being self-sufficient, independent, living off the land. The problems of the modern world just disappear in the woods. People become much nicer to each other there is much less conflict.
Area residents recall Lamy as good friend who was cooperative and caring.
"I knew him all my life. I bobsledded with him and against him," said Forrest "Dew Drop" Morgan". "He was quite a man and a very close friend.
"He was very very determined to be 100 percent successful in everything that he endeavored to do" he added.
Jerry Morgan, who also raced with Lamy, echoed his brother's sentiments, noting that Lamy was a "100 percent competitor."
Lamy and the Morgans, as well as many others, raced during a time before there was a U.S. bobsled organization training athletes for the Olympics. Lamy was a member of both the Saranac Lake Bobsled Club as well as the Adirondack Bobsled Club. Jerry Morgan recalled that membership to the Saranac Lake Club cost a $1 and each member received a patch.
He recalled that Lamy began working for the plant in Saranac Lake in the late 40s or early 50s. "He started as a driver and then moved up to sales and was there until the plant here closed. He and I were then transferred to Burlington.
"He was just Jim Lamy. He was a good man to work with. He was willing and cooperative and sometimes headstrong — but we all are sometimes," Stahl said.
As competitor, coach and international official, Lamy gave more than 40 years to the sport of bobsledding. He began his competitive career as a brakeman after returning from his U.S. Navy service in World War II.
He was considered one of the best brakemen ever to represent this country — he earned that regard partly because in his early years he was willing to help anyone who asked him, including men getting licenses to work as professional drivers at the run. He frequently put in more than 30 trips in a day on the track, according to Bobsled Federation officials.
He braked Art Tyler's four-man sled that won the bronze medal in the 1956 Olympic Games, the last Olympic bobsled medal won by an American competitor. He competed in four World Championships, placing fifth and sixth in 1961 and 1963, and was fifth in the 1964 Olympic Games two-man competition. The four-man sled, designed by Tyler, was forced to withdraw from the 1964 games when the steering wheel broke during a trial heat
He coached the USA World Team in 1967 and the Olympic team in 1968. He then became a member of the International Bobsled Federation, serving as vice president until 1976. He was chairman of the 1973 World Bobsled Championships in Lake Placid, was a member of the jury for four world championships and in 1988 served as president of the jury for the St. Moriiz World Championships.
He was chairman of the Olympic Bobsled Committee from 1972 to 1976 and served as technical director and race director for the 1980 Games luge competition.
"The Olympic Region and the Olympic Authority will miss him tremendously. He was the most caring, most considerate, most loyal person," said ORDA President Edward Harkness. "He was a very special friend."
"It's a very sad day in our lives. You don't find people the caliber of Jim Lamy very often."
Members of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, headquartered in Lake Placid, echoed Harkness comments. "We had hoped that he would have the opportunity to see the U.S. rekindle its winning streak by bringing Olympic bobsledding medals back home from Lillehammer, Norway in 1994," said federation Executive Director Ray Pratt. "Everyone who came into contact with Jim through bobsledding knows that he embodied the very spirit of the sport, he added.
Lamy was especially influential in commencing Matt Roy's Olympic career in bobsledding . Roy is now employed by the U.S. Bobsled Federation as an executive technical assistant.
In 1975 Lamy said of the sport of bobsledding "I think I have chosen bobsledding because of the challenge, the excitement of the sport. It is a demanding one, but also a highly rewarding sport. And nowadays the only truly amateur sport left"
Lamy was inducted into the Lake Placid Hall of Fame in 1990 along with such other distinguished nominees as Sen. Ronald B. Stafford, figure skating announcer and former skater Dick Button, and the Rev. William D. Hayes, rector of St. Eustace Church. Lamy was the second generation of his family to be inducted into the Hall of Fame — his father had been named earlier.
Lamy was not only known as royalty in bobsledding , but was crowned king of the 93rd annual Winter Carnival in Saranac Lake in 1990, an honor which both his parents had also received. Of the ceremony in which he shared the throne with Barbara Merritt, he joked, "I knew it was her before she knew it was me because she stood up before me." Although both knew they would be honored at the coronation, they did not know who their counterpart would be.
Lamy was born May 30,1928, in Saranac Lake, the son of Edmund A. and Jane C. (Huchinson) Lamy. He served in the Navy during World War II and later in the Marine Corps in the Korean Conflict. His father holds the record for barrel jumping on skates. A photo of the event, which Jim tried to live up to, was published for the first time in the Enterprise recently, along with a story about Jim's hosting of the Centennial story swap.
He married the former Margaret Wilson, March 28, 1960, in Las Vegas. He had been employed with Swift and Co. for 30 years before retiring as the assistant manager of the Burlington, Vt., office.
He was hired by the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee as technical director for luge for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Following the Games, he was employed by the state as the outside manager of the Mt Van Hoevenberg Sports Complex. When the ORDA was established in 1982, he was made overall manager of the sports complex.
As well as his competitive history, he was elected and served as vice president of the Federation Internationale de Bobsledding et Tobogganing, he was also chairman of the USOC bobsled committee. While serving in these positions, he was instrumental in obtaining funds for "Interval Timing" — a computerized timing device used to study and improve starts — for U.S. bobsleders at the Mt Van Hoevenberg Bobrun, as well as funds for overseas competition. He had also served four times as a member of the three-man jury that conducts the World Championships. In Europe, he was often called "Mr. Bobsledder — USA," or "The Big Bear."
As a Saranac Lake native, he loved the outdoors and enjoyed the activities of sportsman with as much gusto as he did his bobsledding.
He was a member of the American Legion, the VFW, the Vets Club, and the BPOE Elks Lodge 1508.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret, of Rainbow Lake; one son, Michael, of Virginia Beach, Va; two sisters, Eugenia Lamy of Saranac Lake and Mrs. Rene (Ruth) Gendron of Daytona Beach, Fla,; one brother, John of Rochester one granddaughter, Carrie Lamy of Virginia Beach, Va.; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Calling hours will be held at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. and Tuesday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.
Members of the bobsledding community will act as an honorary group and are asked to meet at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home Wednesday morning at 10:15.
Memorial donations may be made to the James E. Lamy Memorial Fund for Young Athletes, in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home.