Samuel W. Lanham Jr., an AAJ Board member, senior partner at Lanham Blackwell in Bangor, Maine, and dear friend to so many in our Association, died peacefully from mesothelioma June 19, 2013, in Rockport, Maine. He was born Dec. 13, 1951, in Alexandria, Virginia, and raised in Culpeper, Va.
A member of AAJ for more than 30 years, Sam was an outstanding trial lawyer who served in numerous important capacities, including, as a member of the Board of Governors, on which he served with distinction for more than seven years; and as a celebrated Past President of the Maine Trial Lawyers Association; and the Bar Association of Penobscot County, Maine.
Sam brought justice to so many wrongly injured persons in Maine and throughout the country, and represented plaintiffs with complex pharmaceutical and medical device claims involving, among others, Avandia, Vioxx, FenPhen, the Ortho Evra birth control patch, Guidant defibrillators, and various defective knee and hip prostheses. He also represented Maine classes in three national consumer class actions, including one that resulted in the largest ever settlement in the history of antitrust price fixing litigation; and another, a false and deceptive marketing action against Philip Morris, that was favorably decided by the Supreme Court.
Sam was an Eagle Scout and a graduate of Culpeper schools, College of William & Mary in Virginia, and Wake Forest Law School, Winston Salem, N.C. He was a gifted singer and musician who brought people from diverse backgrounds together through music. In his 40-year association with Up with People, Sam was a cast member, staff member, musical director, vocal coach, co-founder of the International Alumni Association, local program sponsor, and member of International Board of Directors. He met a fellow cast member, Stephanie Laite, from Camden, while in Up with People. She and Sam married in 1979 and they had three sons, who have carried on the family tradition of community service and entertaining audiences worldwide. Sam served for 15 years on the board of the Bangor Halfway House; was an early supporter and greeter of the troops from Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s; and was an active board member and president of Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Sam, with his wife and children, was a part of the Royal School of Church Music Choir at St. John's Episcopal Church for more than 30 years. Together, the family participated in many local community and church musical and theater productions.
Sam is survived by his wife, Stephanie Laite Lanham; and three sons, Samuel W. Lanham III of Orlando, Fla., Andrew Taylor Lanham of Los Angeles, and John William Lanham of Denver. They were by his side along with his mother, Georgia Mae Lanham; brother, William Glenn Lanham; and the Laite family. He is also survived by niece, Katherine Marie Lanham; nephew, Isaac Tully Lanham; uncle, Paul Emerson Read of Bastrop, La.; and several cousins. His father, Samuel Wilbur Lanham predeceased him.
A memorial service will be held 10 a.m. July 22 at All Souls Church, Bangor. Gifts may be made to Up with People International Alumni Association, Lanham Fund, UWPIAA, P.O. Box 72, Gardiner, NY 12525, http://www.uwpiaa.org/, to Campaign/Sam Lanham Memorial Fund; or Champion the Cure for "Sam's Team," http://www.ctcchallenge.org/.