Thomas J. Lamb of New Rochelle, NY, a priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, died from presumed complications of Covid at age 81 on April 11, 2020. He died at a nursing home, a few miles from home, where he had been living for the previous eleven months due to worsening complications of Alzheimer’s.
He was born on October 8, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois to the late Joseph Francis Lamb and Sophia Elizabeth Lamb (Mazarka). He attended Marmion Military Academy in Aurora, Illinois. He then studied architecture at the University of Notre Dame where he served as President of the Junior Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. As a young man, he was adventurous and traveled widely in Europe, taking courses at La Escuela Superior de Arte in Seville, Spain. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1961. After graduation he attended painting and drawing courses at the Chicago Art Institute from 1962-64 and served on a City Planning Committee of The American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter in 1964.
In 1965 he moved to Rome to pursue studies in philosophy and theology under the auspices of Opus Dei, while at the same time working on the architectural design of the residential and educational buildings being constructed for the people engaged in those studies. During this time he had the opportunity to meet and get to know St. Josemaría Escrivá, the Founder of Opus Dei. He was ordained a priest on August 15, 1971 in Spain where he also earned a doctorate in Theology from the University of Navarre (Pamplona, Spain).
Fr. Tom returned to the United States in 1972 and subsequently exercised his priestly ministry in South Bend (Indiana), Chicago, Providence, San Antonio, Boston, South Orange (New Jersey), and New York. From the late 1970’s though the late 90’s he lived in the New York area where besides carrying out an active schedule of preaching, hearing confessions and giving spiritual direction, he assisted in the design and oversight of the construction of a number of new centers of Opus Dei throughout the U.S. He was especially instrumental in the design and improvement of the oratories (chapels) in these centers, personally sourcing many of the materials for the projects either in the U.S. or during trips to Italy.
In the 2000’s, he became increasing limited by Alzheimer’s disease. He bore this with serenity and cheerfulness, and all the while, he dedicated himself to carrying out his duties as a priest.
He was an avid painter, with a distinctive style. Fr. Tom loved people and had a great gift for conversation and for putting people at ease; never taking himself too seriously. He had a deep sense of his priestly identity, something he retained even as his Alzheimer’s progressed.
Fr. Tom is survived by his older sister Sheila Lamb Jones (Tom), Brian Lamb (Debbie), Mary Lamb Parkhurst (Scott), Chris Lamb, Patrick Lamb (Mary), Kathleen Lamb O’Connell (Tim) and Michael Lamb (Bea deceased). He was pre-deceased by his brothers Tim and Dan.
Donations to his memory may be made by check to the Crawford Foundation Inc., 99 Overlook Circle, New Rochelle, NY 10804.