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Last updated: Tue. Jul. 22, 2014 - 07:44 am EDT

Peace activist Dave Lambert dies at 79

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Dave Lambert, who inspired and encouraged veterans and average citizens with his community activism, died Sunday at age 79.

Lambert, a South Side High School, Indiana Tech and University of Saint Francis graduate, worked as a telegraph operator and a civil engineer on the Pennsylvania Railroad in Fort Wayne, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. It was while he worked in Washington, D.C., that his life changed forever, he told The News-Sentinel in 2013, for a story on the 50th anniversary of the march.

During the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, his job was to make sure all the tracks coming into Union Station were secure. Lambert admitted in the story that he didn't have strong political feelings and wasn't familiar with the civil rights movement at the time, but the event inspired a lifetime of peace activism.

He also worked as an engineer with General Telephone of Indiana.

He directed the Youth Services Bureau of Allen County and the Street Outreach Program, where he organized 10 neighborhood associations in the south-central area of Fort Wayne.

A Korean War veteran, he was state organizer for Veterans for Peace and local organizer for Fort Wayne Peace Action and a member of Military Families Speak Out. "The message I hope gets across to people is that we need to start treating (veterans) better," he said.

Lambert produced more than 200 Fort Wayne Peace Action shows for Access TV. He also organized the initial rally of the Occupy Fort Wayne movement, according to a 2011 News-Sentinel story.

A "friend" of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne, "Those who have been touched by his passion and support for justice, compassion, and equity will miss him," the Rev. Misty-Dawn Shelly said in an email. He chaired the congregation's Peace & Justice Committee.

He was choir director and an elder with Westfield Presbyterian Church, and sang in the Philharmonic Choir. He also appeared in plays at Fort Wayne Civic Theatre and First Presbyterian Theater.

"He believed deeply in peace, and worked diligently to promote it in a variety of ways," according to his obituary, which appears on Page 2L of today's News-Sentinel.

He is survived by his wife, Betty; son William; daughter Mary Passino; sister Eleanor McNutt of Rochester, Minn.; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

There will be a private graveside service, but memorials may be sent to Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, 3020 Hillegas Road.


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