Deceased June 16, 2018
“A happy man who led a wonderful life,” is how Steve Waite ’58 described his former Delta Upsilon (DU) roommate Peyton Fentrell McLamb Jr. who died June 16, 2018, after a two-year struggle with mesothelioma. Despite undergoing major surgery and a protracted physical decline toward the end, Peyton maintained a positive mental attitude throughout, remarking to Emily, his wife of 54 years, that he had achieved all the items on his bucket list.
Peyton came to Amherst from Ridgewood, N.J., rooming in James Hall with the late Bill Hewel ’58 and myself. He and Bill both pledged DU where they lived in the “Bolero Room” with Steve Waite ’58, Ed Terino ’58 and the late Marc Taylor ’58. Along with Al Koretz ’58 and Marty Gold ’58, they would form lifelong friendships, having periodic reunions and get togethers, often arranged by Peyton, for the next 60 years.
While at Amherst, Peyton majored in biology and chemistry. He belonged to the Christian Association and Masquers and served as DU secretary. He played freshman squash and tennis, but sophomore year dropped intercollegiate sports in favor of fraternity intramurals that covered all sports. Later in life, golf would become his passion.
After graduating from Amherst, Peyton enrolled in the Columbia University Graduate School of Business where he earned his MBA in 1960. Joining the military in August 1960, Peyton served in the U.S. Army Security Agency at Fort Devens (Mass.) through March 1961. However, he was recalled for 11 months in October 1961 during the Berlin crisis. After separating from the service, he remained in the inactive reserves until 1965.
Peyton married Emily Ann Ahrens, who was flying for TWA, in February 1964. They had three daughters: Eve Lyta, born in 1965; Gwenda Ann, born in 1969; and Linda Ann, born in March 1973.
Peyton’s business career spanned three decades in the hospital service and supply industry, starting as a sales representative for American Hospital Supply Corporation and concluding in marketing and strategic planning for Baxter Health Care. In our 15th reunion reflections book, he wrote, “I’ve always tried to address myself to ‘today’s’ living, letting tomorrow take care of itself with a minimum of preplanning. Such an outlook may never earn me a division or corporate presidency, but it has provided me with a reasonably affluent and more important, very comfortable and enjoyable life style.”
He added, “I am basically a conservative with a preference for the traditional lifestyle and beliefs. I presently enjoy very much living in ‘dairy farm country’ where the existing residents go back several generations…in contrast to transient suburban communities.” Over the years the family enjoyed camping vacations, hiking and white water rafting in national parks in the American and Canadian Rockies.
Peyton retired to Hilton Head, S.C., in 1995, a fine venue for his golf passion. While they continued their camping holidays, they also added cruises and overseas travel to Norway, France and the Danube, as well as a month-long Alaskan adventure in 2007. Februaries were spent in a timeshare in Sedona, Ariz., where they saw a lot of John Sweeney ’58 and his wife.
Time sharing apparently appealed to the McLambs. At one time they shared a travel trailer with another couple. On another occasion, while shopping in Sedona with the Sweeneys, Emily McLamb and Diane Sweeney were both intrigued by the same beautiful but pricey earrings. Given the cost and the fact that both women really wanted the earrings, they moved on with their shopping. Meanwhile Peyton and John returned to the shop and jointly purchased them after arranging for their wives to alternate custody of the earrings every three months.
In retirement, the McLambs traveled extensively. Class Notes mention trips to Ireland, Iceland and South America as well as a month long Alaskan adventure, a Danube River cruise and Viking cruises to Norway and France. As mentioned earlier, Peyton also took the lead in arranging periodic reunions with his Delta Upsilon fraternity brothers, the most recent in 2014 at the Heritage Classic PGA Golf Tournament at Hilton Head. Until his illness diminished his activity, Peyton continued to play golf regularly.
In addition to travel and golf, Peyton was actively involved in community service. He was a volunteer at Meals-on-Wheels and served as president of the Moss Creek Hilton Head Board of Directors. But of course, his primary passion was for his family.
Peyton died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, Emily, their three daughters and their husbands and by four grandchildren. A memorial service was held on June 27, 2018, with subsequent burial next to his parents in the McLamb plot at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Ned Megargee ’58