Today I would like to pay tribute to a dedicated public servant Dr. Benjamin J. Lambert III, former State Senator of Virginia who passed away on Sunday March 2 at the age of 77.
Dr. Lambert was elected a Member of the House of Delegates in 1977 representing the 33rd District and in 1985 he was elected to the Virginia Senate representing the 9th District. All told, he served nearly three decades in the General Assembly.
Most of Dr. Lambert's good friends knew him as Benny, who attended racially segregated public schools in Henrico, received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union and his degree in Optometry from the New England College of Optometry.
Although Senator Lambert's accomplishments and honors are too numerous to review, here are just a few:
In 1972 he received the "Outstanding Young Man" award from the Richmond Jaycees.
He was the first African-American member of the Henrico Democrat Committee
He was also, the first African-American in the 20th Century to serve on the Virginia Senate Finance Committee.
In 1993 he received the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, now known as the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.
To the everyday Richmond citizen, Dr. Lambert was the optometrist in Jackson Ward who always had time for a quick conversation and a warm smile. One of Virginia's finest citizens and statesman will be sorely missed.