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Family, colleagues remember attorney Thomas E. Lammert

Legal News Reporter

Published: February 23, 2021

A quiet and bright professional who gave generously of his time and legal talent and cared deeply about his family—that’s how loved ones and colleagues describe Akron lawyer Thomas E. Lammert.
The bankruptcy and collection attorney passed away on Dec. 6, 2020 at the age of 73.
“My husband was a good, kind-hearted man, who never turned anyone away who needed free advice,” said Lammert’s wife Anita.
“Tom really enjoyed solving people’s legal problems,” said Anita. “He took care of all the legal needs of my extended family. He was a sweet, gentle soul.”
Akron sole practitioner Michael Robinson said Lammert was “an honest, professional” who genuinely cared about his clients.
“Tom was the type of attorney you could rely on to keep his word, whether a case was settled with a handshake, phone call or through more formal means,” said Robinson, who primarily focuses on corporate and business matters. “He was a genuinely nice person, who often talked about his family.”
Born in Pittsburgh on March 26, 1947, he was the second eldest of John and Gladys Lammert’s four children.
A graduate of Dormont High School, Lammert received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.
“Tom was initially planning on going to medical school, but as time went on he decided it wasn’t the right profession for him,” said Anita. “He realized being a lawyer was what he really wanted to do and what he should have been working toward all along.”
Lammert enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1971, serving two years of active duty and three years in the Naval Reserve.
He obtained his juris doctor from The University of Akron School of Law in 1976.
It was during his time at Akron Law that he met his wife Anita after a mutual friend set them up on a blind date.
They got married in 1976 and have two sons and three grandsons.
Lammert began his legal career at Guy, Mentzer & Towne.
Robinson started working at the firm in the early 1980s.
“Tom was an associate when I started,” said Robinson. “At the time, he was primarily doing bankruptcy work as well as general civil cases in Summit and Stark counties.
“Tom had an excellent reputation in federal bankruptcy court,” said Robinson. “I left the firm in the late 80s and eventually became a member of the firm of Mentzer, Vuillemin & Robinson. Although I no longer worked directly with Tom, he and I continued to stay in touch over the years.
“I always enjoyed his friendship and the stories he told about his great family vacations to Hilton Head.”
Regina Van Vorous, now an assistant Summit County prosecutor in the tax division clerked for Guy, Mentzer & Towne during her 2L and 3L years at Akron Law.
Several years later, she was hired as an associate at the firm, which was then known as Guy, Lammert & Towne.
“I worked with Tom exclusively,” said Van Vorous. “At the time, his practice was collections law. He was a mentor and perhaps even more importantly, he treated me as he would any other male attorney, which was unusual when I graduated law school in 1983.  I never felt that he thought less of me as an attorney because I was a woman. This was so important to me and to my career. It has given me confidence that has been the backbone of my practice. 
“Tom taught me how to prosecute a case, including drafting complaints, filing the same, searching for defendants, following the case through to trial or judgment, trying the case and collecting on that judgment. These are skills that I still use today in my work as a prosecutor. 
“He had me research issues and we forged some new law in cases,” said Van Vorous. “It was exciting and so interesting. Tom seemed to really enjoy what he was doing. We shared laughter over some of the cases we worked on. At Christmas time the office had a worst-case story contest at our Christmas office celebration and we often won with our tales of cases.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my times at the office and all of the people Tom and I worked with,” Van Vorous said.
Roderick Linton Belfance partner Kathryn Belfance worked with Guy, Lammert & Towne in her role as a bankruptcy trustee.
“Tom was an absolutely lovely person,” said Belfance. “He was very bright and always had a pleasant demeanor. He often had a smile on his face and could see the humor in some of the matters we handled.
“I looked forward to having cases with him because he was professional,” said Belfance. “I had not seen him in a number of years and was very saddened to learn of his loss.”
Carmen Roberto, of counsel at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs served as opposing counsel in a number of the collection cases that Lammert handled.
“I represented people who owed money to his clients,” said Roberto. “Some of our cases ended up in court. Tom remained calm and pleasant in all the dealings I had with him. We became friends despite being on opposite sides.
“He was a low-key, funny guy,” said Roberto. “We often saw one another at the Akron Bar office or at bar events. Tom was interested in how other people were doing. We would talk about our families and he would ask me about the criminal cases I handled. He didn’t do that type of work, but found the area very interesting.”
After Guy, Lammert & Towne dissolved Lammert became a sole practitioner.
A resident of the city of Green, Lammert was a member of the Ohio State and Florida bar associations and a former member of the Akron Bar Association. He was also a member of The Chapel in Green.
“Tom worked very long hours so he didn’t have many hobbies, but he enjoyed watching football, especially the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Anita. “His main focus was being a devoted husband, father and grandpa.”
A small family funeral service was held on Dec. 11, 2020 at Anthony Funeral Homes in Green.
Lammert is survived by his wife Anita, sons Brian (Stacey) and Andrew (Patti), grandsons Hudson, Ford and Nash, brother Richard (Sue), sister-in-law Connie as well as many nieces and nephews.
His parents, sister Marilyn Nowicki and brother Jack all preceded him in death.