Clifford Richard (Rick) Lam, 69, of Cave Spring, passed away surrounded by his family, on Wednesday morning, December 4, 2019, following an extended illness.
A Memorial Service was held Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 3:00 PM at John House’s Cave Spring Chapel. Anyone wishing to share a story or memory of Mr. Lam may do so during the service. The family received friends from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, leading up to the service hour, and at other times they could be reached at the residence.
Mr. Lam was born in Rome, GA on June 21, 1950 to O.C. Lam, Jr and Marjorie “Abbie” Culberson Lam. He attended East Rome High School and graduated from Pepperell High School. He earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Coosa Valley Technical School.
As a child, “Ricky” enjoyed playing outside with his Reece Street neighborhood friends and challenging his cousins to games of Hide and Seek in the many rooms and secret passages of his grandfather’s house in Old East Rome. When he was in high school, his family took up residence inside the Cedar Valley Drive-In, which provided him with many funny memories. He gave up his Saturday mornings to serve in the Civil Air Patrol at Richard B. Russell Airport in Rome. Following Technical School, Rick served in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic and was deployed to Vietnam. Although he didn’t ask to be there, he often said Vietnam was the most beautiful place he had ever been, and that he would love to go back there someday for a visit.
Upon returning from Vietnam, Mr. Lam was stationed in Monterey, California. He married Nancy Bankson, of Cave Spring, on August 7, 1973, and together they had two daughters, Sabrina and Megaen, who both consider themselves “daddy’s girls.” He could be counted on to be the calm in any storm, whether it was a clogged drain, out of control toddler, or Wedding Day jitters. He was fiercely dedicated to his family and worked long hours to provide them with a beautiful life.
As a young man, he became skilled as a professional photographer and set up a studio and dark room in his home. Many Cave Spring residents will fondly recall him taking their pictures at the Baptist Church Kindergarten or photographing their weddings. He forged many lifelong friendships, while employed at Larson Manufacturing and was an expert at installing storm doors. At his most recent job, as a plant manager at Capitoline Manufacturing, he loved his coworkers and considered them a second family. He enjoyed taking treats, flowers, and seeds to the office ladies there and was a good friend and mentor to the younger workers, always treating them with kindness and respect.
Mr. Lam had many hobbies over the years, including hunting, fishing, golf, guitar, video games, growing vegetables and flowers, woodworking, even airbrushing - always having to have all the gear and equipment that went along with each. As a lifelong perfectionist, he wouldn’t think twice about tearing apart a deck he had just built if it wasn’t just exactly right. He loved to ride motorcycles, travel in the motorhome with Nancy and their friends, and occasionally try his luck at casinos. He enjoyed hanging out with his brother-in-law and best friend, Larry Lindsey, over the years. They fondly called each other “Pug” and never once had a disagreement or argument. His favorite things to eat were cereal and junk food, which made him a lot of fun to go grocery shopping with. On the weekends, he could often be found grilling out beside the pool, welcoming anybody to stop by and eat, have drinks, or go swimming. He truly had a generous spirit and was happy being in direct service to others. He served as President of the Cave Spring Optimist Club and as Zone Lt. Governor for Optimist Club of Georgia, always living by the Optimist Creed.
As grandfather to nine children and great grandfather to one, he was affectionately known as “Poppy.” One of his favorite things to do was take a nap with a sleeping baby draped across his chest. He had a heart of gold and plenty of patience, but when the horseplay and shenanigans got out of hand, he could swiftly put a stop to it with a loud and firm, “Hey!” or shrill whistle. The kids will never forget the times they had with him and the lessons learned.
Mr. Lam was preceded in death by his parents, O.C. Lam Jr. and Marjorie “Abbie” Culberson Lam, a brother, Thomas Lee Lam, a special aunt, Camilla Culberson, and a special nephew, Ryan Lindsey.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Bankson Lam and two daughters, Mrs. Sabrina Lam Cooper and her husband Eric of Cave Spring, and Ms. Megaen Lam and her fiancé David Stooksbury of Marietta. Also surviving are nine grandchildren: Darby Hall, Brycen Kellett, Jacob Kellett, Justin Kellett, Finn Hall, Rylam Lewallen, Tupelo Cooper, Presley Cooper and Finn Cooper; and one great-granddaughter, Gaia Poppy Hall (who was named after him); two brothers, O. C. Lam, III and his wife Tonya of Darien, GA and Tim Lam of Gainesville, FL; his sister, Karen Lam of Cave Spring; and a special aunt, Patti Yoder of Cave Spring. His little buddy, Reggie the yorkie, misses him so much already. The family wishes to thank Mr. and Mrs. Mike Bollen and Mr. and Mrs. Lamar Green for their help and friendship during Mr. Lam’s illness.
Fresh flowers will be accepted but plants are preferred, or donations can be made at the Memorial Service for a Memory Garden that will be planted by the family in the spring.
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