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Note from Jerome Lyle Rappaport regarding the passing of Lowell Richards

February 10, 2012
Jerome Lyle Rappaport, Founder and Funder, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston

Lowell Richards died unexpectedly on February 5th, too young and too soon. We are deeply saddened.

I knew and worked with Lowell for over forty years. A relationship that began in the intersection of mutual interests evolved over time into a friendship grounded in shared values. Our relationship started during Kevin White's administration when a bright young financial "whiz kid" was handling fiscal matters for the mayor. I was heading the developers council and perhaps not unexpectedly, we sometimes crossed swords. We learn a lot about people when we are obliged to argue over differences in a political world and seek principled compromises, when we can have disagreements but not be disagreeable, when the eventual outcome we seek depends on mutual respect. Our discussions proved to be important in removing impediments to significant development in the city, without being a retreat for the mayor.

Years later Lowell became a major supporter of the Harvard Kennedy School's Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston and Suffolk Law School's Rappaport Center for Public Service. We shared the desire to have the best and the brightest commit their talent to meeting the challenges of urban problems, while finding excitement and significance in local and state government. Lowell mentored our fellows with joy and left them enthused and enriched.

Over the last decade Lowell became a friend; I talked with him about a life after the Port Authority. At my age I know how productive Lowell's later years could -- and surely would -- have been, and how much he was looking forward to them.

Our loss and the City's loss pales in comparison to that which his family surely feels, and we extend our deepest regret and sympathies to his family. Lowell's life represented the best that the Rappaport Institute and the Rappaport Center attempt to inspire in young leaders. He was an effective, respected and creative public servant devoted to Boston's governance and well being. He served with grace and shared his enjoyment in all he did. We will miss him deeply.

Jerome Lyle Rappaport

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