Deceased November 9, 2018
My longtime friend and fraternity brother Eric Lanphere died unexpectedly Nov. 9. His son told me that despite his long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, Eric was kind, humble, compassionate, joyful and selfless to the very end.
At Amherst, Eric played intramural baseball and football, majored in political science and pledged Delta Kappa Epsilon, where he served as intramural chairman. He served on the Intramural Council, chaired the Blood Drive and belonged to the Harlan Fiske Stone Law Society.
After Amherst, Eric attended the University of Michigan law school and served two years in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox, Ky., before beginning the practice of law in Albuquerque, N.M.
Like his parents, Eric was a man of great integrity, with exceptionally strong views on the ethical obligations of the legal profession. When instructed to file a motion he believed to be ill-advised and unethical, he quit his job in open court (and was immediately hired by the senior partner of one of Albuquerque’s finest firms). In one lengthy libel trial, he prevailed 10-2 over none other than F. Lee Bailey.
Eric and I got together most years. About 1968, I introduced Eric to his future wife of 48 years, Carolyn, who brought two beautiful teenage daughters to their marriage, girls he would love as his own. Together they had a son, Eric Cessna Lanphere. Emulating his own father, Eric Sr. spent many hours guiding his children and, later, his five grandchildren, creating and modeling a character compass that would lead them in their treatment of others and in establishing a work ethic.
The federal judge who delivered his eulogy praised Eric as a brilliant and courageous trial attorney who was kind and considerate of all and stood unwaveringly for the truth. Eric will be missed by all.
George Willis ’58