John Lampson, 86, a native of Jefferson and Ashtabula County, died Saturday, Jan. 14, in his apartment in Mentor, Ohio, with his wife Marilyn by his side, following a brief illness. He and his wife had also spent many years in Punta Gorda, Florida, during the winter months at their home in Burnt Store Marina, but always enjoyed the summers in Ashtabula County.
Lampson served as president and publisher of Gazette Newspapers from 1985 to 2005, later becoming the publisher emeritus, which he served until his death. Lampson became the fourth generation of the family to work at Gazette Newspapers starting in 1963 after his discharge from the Army.
Lampson was born May 22, 1936, to EW “Ab” and Doris (Durey) Lampson in Jefferson, Ohio. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1954 and went on to the University of Missouri, which he graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in newspapers management. While at Missouri, he met his wife, Marilyn (Lippy), and they were married on May 23, 1959.
Upon graduation, Lampson served as commissioned 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army stationed in Washington, D.C. While working in the PIO office, he had the honor to write the Inaugural parade TV script and attend the inauguration for John F. Kennedy.
Ashtabula County played an important role in his life and he served on many boards. He served as director for Northeast Ohio National Bank from 1976-1989, until it was bought by Ameritrust Bank. He was trustee of Henderson Memorial Public Library from the mid-1960s until 1973 and was the chairman of the building committee that completed the new library. Upon retiring from the Library Board, he co-founded the Henderson Memorial Public Library Foundation and was chairman until he retired in 2018. He served as a trustee from 1978 to 2002 for the Ashtabula County Medical Center, and from 1975 to 1991 on the Goodwill Industries Board. He was trustee of Glenbeigh Hospital and Outpatient Center from 1995 to 2002. He served as secretary-treasurer of the Jefferson Economic Development Corporation and was former chairman or president of Jefferson Rotary, Jefferson Chamber and Ashtabula Advertising Club. On the state level, he served as past president of the Ohio Newspaper Association and the Ohio Newspaper Foundation. He was Grand Marshall at the first-ever Recycle Ohio Parade in Columbus. Over the years, he received numerous Ohio and county awards, including the Robert Morrison Director’s Award from Growth Partnership and the Ohio’s First Family of Newspapers from the Governor’s Office.
He was preceded in death by his parents and survived by his wife, Marilyn, son Michael (and wife Brenda) Lampson, his son Jeffrey (and his wife Susan) Lampson and his grandson Joshua Lampson.
A public memorial will be held in May, with the time and place announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Jefferson Historical Society (42 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047), The Henderson Memorial Public Library Foundation (54 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047), or the Lighthouse Harvest Foundation (2926 Lake Avenue, Ashtabula, OH 44004).