Thomas Dean Lammers, a lifelong resident of Celina, Ohio, died on Saturday, September 3, 2022, at the Hospice of North Idaho Schneidmiller House in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with his wife and daughters by his side.
Tom’s sudden passing ended a life that touched and impacted virtually every resident of Mercer County. In his law practice, he assisted multiple generations of local families who kept returning to him as a trusted advisor. His leadership as a founding member and president of the Celina Rotary Club saw him champion the fundraising and 1986 construction of the landmark lighthouse at the foot of Main Street. Several county villages employed him as their city solicitor. He taught hundreds of students as an 11-year adjunct professor at the Wright State University Lake Campus.
His numerous legal accomplishments earned Tom prominent positions with the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Foundation in Columbus and statewide. But he took his greatest satisfaction in serving the community where his family lived and where his roots were planted.
Those roots ran deep and strong. Tom was born on October 19, 1951, in Celina, the son of the late Calvin Dean and Dorothy (Gilmore) Lammers. On March 22, 1980, Tom married Kim (Stubbs) in Kettering, Ohio. Together, they raised two children: Allison of California and Ashley (Evan Wells) of Washington State. Tom had moved to the Pacific Northwest following his February 2022 retirement to spend as much time as possible being the proud grandfather of Dean and Reid. Sadly, cancer cut that time short.
Other surviving family members include a sister, Cheryl (Gerry) Weaver; sisters-in-law Robin (Walt) Peter and Lori (Doug) Frierson; niece Amy Hartsock and nephews Jeremy Weaver, Adam and Aaron Peter, Zachary and Caleb Frierson, and their families. Tom was preceded in death by Kim’s parents, Richard and Nancy Stubbs.
As a 1970 graduate of Celina High School and 1974 graduate of Ohio University, Tom knew that law was his calling and earned his Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1977. In addition to being admitted to practice in Ohio, he was also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
This led to a 44-year career full of wide-ranging and diverse cases, which Tom handled deftly and with enthusiasm, getting to know his clients on a personal level. He began his Celina legal journey in 1977 under the mentorship of the late Don M. Purdy at what is now known as Purdy, Lammers & Schiavone. Beginning in 1987, Tom was privileged to work alongside Louis J. Schiavone. The two men became not just law colleagues but good friends, operating their partnership on a handshake deal based on their respect for each other. Schiavone often marveled at how Tom could spend the morning conferring with a state Supreme Court Justice or bank president or prominent Cincinnati attorney, then go to lunch at The Fountain or another downtown Celina restaurant and discuss local issues at a “roundtable” of men or women from all livelihoods and occupations. For over 40 years, Administrative Assistant Diane Griesdorn has been an integral part of the firm and was invaluable to Tom’s success in serving the community.
At home, Tom devoted himself to his wife, daughters, grandkids and relatives. Tom also stayed active himself and was frequently found walking many miles to and from the lake, stopping to chat with anyone who said hello—or introducing himself to those who didn’t.
His adventurous spirit and intellectual curiosity spurred Tom to read books on any subject and he loved discovering new places and restaurants with Kim, from coast to coast. He avidly followed the Bulldogs, Buckeyes, Bobcats, and Bengals. However, Tom also relished sunsets on his back patio with a favorite beverage while debating politics and current events. Tom was never afraid to speak his mind and always stood up for the integrity of his beliefs. His storytelling ability and sense of humor were legendary. There was a reason that he had so many loyal friends, from childhood through his last days.
Tom was a longtime Mercer County Bar Association member and served as the organization’s president. At the state level, he was elected to the Ohio State Bar Association Council of Delegates and Board of Governors and was tapped to chair the OSBA Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. Tom served as past president and was a Life Fellow of the Ohio State Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. He served on the Board of Directors of the Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Company and was a member of the OSBA Legal Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee. Involvement in these organizations led to both professional relationships and lasting friendships in all corners of the state.
In his hometown, Tom was honored to serve as an acting judge in the Celina Municipal Court and as a mediator for many other courts and practitioners. His true love for the area, though, showed up every day in his altruism and philanthropic activity. He was a past President and former Trustee of the Mercer County Civic Foundation and a member of the Mercer County Savings Bank Board of Directors. He also served as Secretary of the Civil Service Committee and Chairperson of the Celina 1984 Sesquicentennial Celebration.
Tom's other civic activities included the Celina Combined Services Appeal, the Board of Directors of Lima Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Trust Fund Advisory Board. During his Rotary Club years, he was treasurer of the Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad (MESA) program and journeyed to Guatemala to help implement that mission. At Ohio University, he was very active in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and as an alum, held numerous leadership roles locally and nationally.
Celina and Mercer County won’t be quite the same without Tom. But the legacy he built will shine as brightly as the lighthouse.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at 4 p.m. at the Celina Moose Lodge, 1120 E. Market St., Celina, Ohio 45822.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Tom’s memory may be made to the Ohio State Bar Foundation, P.O. Box 16562, Columbus, Ohio 43216, or to the General Fund of the Mercer County Civic Foundation, P.O. Box 439, Celina, Ohio 45822.