Our Scrabble® community lost a pillar last month. Jim’s tournament career began in 1980. Although he played few games outside of Arizona, he left a real legacy. I was privileged to play a number of games against him, and can agree wholeheartedly with the tributes which follow.
From Larry Rand: Jim was one of THE nicest Scrabble® players that played the game. At club and tournaments, Jim was always one of the first to arrive and last to leave. He set up tables, and chairs, all without a peep. You never knew if he had just won a game, or lost it. The perfect gentleman! Jim was helpful to everyone.
To view Jim’s tournaments (pre- WGPO) visit “cross-tables.com.” Top left “Find” “Lamerand.” Near bottom left “ All tourneys.”
Jim played in the third Grand Canyon tournament 11/4/83. When you run out of space there, please visit Wordgameplayers.org. the second line header near the top, “schedule and ratings.” “Open all ratings.” “click on #212 and click on Lamerand to open history.
Anytime Barbara or I would have a computer problem with, for instance, downloading a new word list, Jim would come to our house almost immediately. Whenever we had an open house, Jim would bring a homemade dessert that his mother prepared!
One of the “good guys” has passed away.
From Laurie Cohen:
Jim Lamerand passed away on June 18.
Jim was a long time Scrabble® player in AZ, dating back at least to the early 1980s and one of the nicest players in the game.
Jim was always a role model for me and others in terms of his attitude. Win or lose, he was always the same congenial, positive, laid back person. He never uttered a negative word about anyone. Jim was also a programmer and created one of the first electronic word judges called Word Check back in the 80s. I recently found a copy of it on an old computer (see message from Mike Baron for more information on this). Jim was also known to help a lot of people out with their tech problems and to create a custom word list for you. All you had to do is ask. He even made housecalls!
When I was studying Collins for the 2011 Worlds, he was learning it just for fun and became my only Collins sparring partner. It was a lot of fun learning words with him. He would always enthusiastically share a new word he played or learned in a game, sometimes giving me the alphagram to solve. He would often tell people that his last name had an anagram – ALDERMAN! He was truly a lover of words!
Jim took care of his elderly mother for many years until her death a few years ago. Jim’s mom was known for making delicious “no-bake” peanut butter cookies that were a staple at our local tournaments. Jim was also a veteran, having served in the army. He was originally from Michigan and was laid to rest there alongside his mother.
I hope Jim knew how much the Phoenix Scrabble® community loved and respected him.
From Jeff Kastner:
Jim was one of the nicest guys in the Scrabble® world. Aside from his competence at the board and pleasant personality, Jim was a pioneer of Scrabble® list making.
Many were the times over the past three decades of our acquaintance that I requested his invaluable help. These tasks ranged from special lists, to designing word games, to reprogramming my computer. Jim would always cheerfully oblige, and I always had 100% confidence in the accuracy of his efforts.
I owe Jim Lamerand a huge debt of gratitude, and I regret that his premature passing will not allow me to tell him in person. Hopefully, this short tribute that I am sending to our little Scrabble® community will serve as a testament to his memory and achievements.
From Mike Baron:
Of Scrabble® historical note: Jim was the first person to digitize the OSPD1 with *all* the words. That meant it matched Word List Master General Joe Leonard’s hand count of all words. Always gracious, never heard a mean word from him. We befriended one another in the early 80’s, perhaps initially at the Grand Canyon tournament, and he was keenly accommodating in helping computer-generating various word lists. The “velobound” “The Bingo Book,” was one such early example. I’ll go so far as to say that all word study tools the past four decades owe a debt of gratitude to Jim’s seminal work. Much beyond that, he was a “nice guy,” and in this day and age, “nice” is a precious commodity. Save me a game, Jim!
From Gary Smart:
Jim was the true meaning of a gentleman and a scholar. And one heckuva Scrabble® player. Always had a smile, never said an unkind word about anyone or anything, and always loved to give you an anagram to figure out! He will be missed here most greatly in the Phoenix/Scottsdale Scrabble® communities and I will always remember him very fondly.