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Ary J. Lamme III

Ary Lamme, a cultural and historical geographer and professor emeritus at the University of Florida, passed away in September 2016 at the age of 76.

Ary Johannes Lamme III was born in New York on June 30, 1940. His grandfather, Ary Johannes Lamme Sr. had emigrated from Holland in the late nineteenth century and settled in New York.

By the time he was a small boy, the family had moved to Westminster in western Maryland, although his father still worked in New York and commuted home at weekends. From there the family had regular outings to the battlefields at Gettysburg and Lamme remembered enjoying the countryside, the war stories, and having picnics together. This was perhaps the gestation of a lifelong interest in historic landscapes, and Gettysburg would be a central example in one of his major works later in his professional life.

At McDonogh School on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, Lamme enjoyed mathematics and the social sciences. He then went on to Principia College, Illinois, for undergraduate studies, graduating in 1962. He later acknowledged the role of particular geography, history and English professors there who enabled him to develop and use important scholarly tools.

Next Lamme moved to the University of Illinois for a master’s degree in geography, graduating in 1965. Military service then intervened and he served as an instructor squadron commander in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam.

After an unexpected release from the military, one of his former professors from Illinois enabled him to enter Syracuse University for a doctorate. There he was particularly influenced by David Sopher and Donald Meinig and their work on historic and cultural landscapes. His dissertation, completed in 1968, was entitled “The Spatial and Ecological Characteristics of the Diffusion of Christian Science in the United States: 1875-1910.”

His first teaching position was at the State University of New York at Cortland before moving to the University of Florida at Gainesville in the early 1970s, where he stayed for over three decades.

Lamme was interested in different aspects of cultural and historical geography, as reflected in his publications which cover topics including the historical development and spatial distribution of religious groups, the cultural landscape of the Amish homelands, the sense of vernacular regional identity in Florida, and a comparison of the physical characteristics of spaces where people were enslaved and where they were freed.

One of his most noted publications was the book “America's Historic Landscapes: Community Power and the Preservation of Four National Historic Sites” (1990) which explored historic landscapes and how they acquire meaning. He used four case studies – St Augustine in Florida, Colonial National Historical Park in Virginia, Sackets Harbor in New York, and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania – to explore the community power issues involved in landscape preservation.

Lamme was a long-time member of the American Association of Geographers and recognized for 50 years of continuous membership in 2014. He was also involved in the Southeast Division (SEDAAG) and had presented his work at the Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference.

Ary Lamme will be remembered fondly by many former colleagues. He leaves behind his wife, Sandra, and two adult children, Laurel and Ary Johannes IV.