Former N.H. speaker Stewart Lamprey dead at 96

  • Former N.H. House Speaker Stewart Lamprey, who had a long and distinguished career in state government, died Wednesday, April 4. He was 96. COURTESY—

Monitor staff
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Stewart Lamprey, a leading figure in the New Hampshire Legislature through the 1950s and ’60s, died last week at the age of 96.

Born in Dorchester Mass., before settling in Moultonborough and graduating from Meredith High School in 1939, Lamprey was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1951 and served five terms. He was house speaker from 1959 to ’64.

Lamprey was also elected to the state Senate, serving as president from 1965 to ’69. Praise from the State House was included in Lamprey’s obituary, released Wednesday, seven days after his death from an undisclosed cause.

“Stewart Lamprey was a great statesman and an innovator who understood what government was supposed to accomplish,” Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, Democrat from Manchester, said in the release. “He worked diligently to ensure that government lived up to its responsibilities. He was a wonderful friend and mentor.”

Secretary of State Bill Gardner noted that Lamprey remains the lone person to be elected to three consecutive terms as both speaker of the house and president of the senate, “going directly from one office to the other without interruption,” Gardner said in the obit.

Lamprey stepped down from the state Senate in 1969 after President Richard Nixon named him deputy undersecretary of commerce to lead the New England Regional Commission.

Lamprey also worked as a top advisor for Republican Gov. Walter Peterson from 1969 to ’73.

“These kinds of honors,” Gardner said, “could only happen to a person who was a man of his word, tough enough to lead, but trusted because he was a fair man and a straight shooter, successful and respected throughout his long life in both government and private business.”

Lamprey attended Concord Business College and served in the Army during World War II, from 1942 to ’45. He and his brother, Robert Lamprey, founded a realty company, and Stewart was named New Hampshire Realtor of the Year in 1998.

In 1968, Lamprey was honored with the New Hampshire Conservation Achievement Award and the National Conservation Award, issued by the National Wildlife Federation.

The next year, Lamprey received an honorary doctorate law degree from Belknap College, and followed that with an honorary doctorate of letters degree from Nathaniel Hawthorne College in 1970.

He was married twice, to Margaret Watson Lamprey, who died in 1977, and Cynthia Hurd Lamprey, who passed away in 2013.

Lamprey spent the last four years of his life at Golden View Health Care Center in Meredith.

(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304, rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)