Each person who ever heard an encouraging word from the ever-smiling former mayor of Pine Knoll Shores – Joan Lamson – shed a tear or two when he or she learned about Joan’s death in early May 2021.
Good adjectives to describe Joan’s personality are “charismatic, empathetic and magnetic.” Other words that come to mind are “tenacious and unrelenting”...in the pursuit of what was fair, just and right.
A celebration of life ceremony in memory of Joan Lamson was held on the evening of May 26 on the grounds of the Country Club of the Crystal Coast in Pine Knoll Shores overlooking Bogue Sound. It was perfect “chamber of commerce weather.” Joan Lamson had preordained it to be so.
One of the speakers was Allan Rathbone, a grandson. He commented that his grandma was “invincible.” That had to sink in, but Allan nailed it.
During her 83 years on this planet, Joan Lamson was indeed invincible. She persevered. She possessed boundless energy. She deftly hurdled obstacles with grace...and she found a creative path to sidestep skeptics and naysayers.
Brian Kramer, the Pine Knoll Shores town manager, eloquently addressed Joan Lamson’s super talent – her ability to “bring people together...to better the town, to improve our spectacular community hospital and to help small businesses throughout Carteret County get off the ground and prosper.”
“She brought people together to help those in need in ways that we all may never be aware of through her support of Carteret County’s best pay-it-forward organizations,” Kramer said. “She brought people together to enjoy and appreciate the arts. She brought people to together to advocate for the voice and power of women in local government and business.”
“She brought people together with an almost magical mix of grace, kindness, strength, intelligence and sense of purpose,” Kramer said.
“Joan had the gifts of wisdom, vision and laser-sharp perception. She also had the force of will to put those ideas into action.”
Joan Lamson’s magic touch was that she made people feel special.
Consider this: For nearly 30 years, every single person who participated in the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Carteret professional development program – about 1,050 folks – had the privilege of getting to know Joan Lamson.
Typically, she was the first “facilitator” in the lineup, leading an activity that Joan called “the name game.” It was a “go-around-in-a-circle” exercise to get to know the names of about 35 fellow participants. Each round would end with the “presentation” of “new best friend” Joan Lamson.
Sometimes, it came out sounding as June, Jean or Joanne...Lampson, Lampton or Lamfrey. The “real” Joan Lamson would mildly correct the speaker – with a happy twinkle in her eye.
Joan Lamson was an astute small business owner who understood the economics of “profit and loss.” She preached that message weekly as a SCORE counselor and lead facilitator of the “small business roundtables” that were offered for many years under the auspices of the Carteret County Small Business Alliance.
Every Wednesday morning, small business owners would gather for a one-hour session in Morehead City to open their hearts about issues that were nagging at them as they sought to make a buck or two. Joan Lamson functioned like the conductor of an orchestra, ensuring that each member contributed but that no one dominated the discussion.
Among her many honors, Joan Lamson was selected by the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce as its “Citizen of the Year” in 2010.