Alan Robert Lichter passed away on July 6, 2013.
Son of Harry and Rose Lichter, he was born and raised in the area of the Boston docks, and worked in his father’s war surplus store, eventually running it himself.
His childhood revolved around his Jewish education, work and family; after the death of his father when he was a teenager, he became the breadwinner of the household.
As a young man, Alan joined the Merchant Marines (a lifetime appointment) and worked as a ship’s chandler. His army service was at Fort Lewis, Wash., during which he met his first wife Ellie Silverstone. He became a vocational counselor at Seattle’s Jewish Family and Child Services; because he spoke several languages, including Russian, German, Hebrew and Yiddish, he used his skills to counsel European refugees who found themselves in Seattle after WWII. In the 1960’s he became the Education Director at Temple De Hirsh Sinai. In his thirties he earned a Ph.D. at U.W. He moved to Lawrence, Kan., and became a tenured Professor of English, Children’s Literature and Poetry Writing. Nearly every summer he traveled in Europe; a year as a Fulbright Scholar was spent in Gdansk, Poland, where he was a firsthand witness to the historic Solidarity revolutionary movement.
After retiring from the academic life at 62, he moved to Orcas Island. He had begun coming here in 1957, and considered the island his true home. He became a full-time resident in 1993, and it was on Orcas that he met and married his second wife Kate Agape. His “retirement” was anything but retired. During the course of the next 20 years, he dove into myriad interests and activities. He was a consummate outdoorsman and runner, with an interest in martial arts and a brown belt in karate. He continued to travel in Europe and Asia. He earned his pilot’s license, owned his own plane and did Mercy Flights for people needing emergency transportation to the mainland. He served several years as a Park Steward at Moran State Park. He created San Juan County’s Veteran’s Advisory Board, and sat as Chair of Orcas’ Library Board. He also served a four-year term as Commissioner and Councilman for San Juan County. He will be missed in so many ways … perhaps most of all for his ever present sense of humor and vast collection of intentionally terrible puns.
Alan is survived by his wife Kate; his three children, Michelle, Eric and Howard; his two grandsons, Eli and Noah; and his brother Paul. The family asks, in lieu of flowers, that any remembrances be made in Alan’s name to the Orcas Library, 500 Rose St., Eastsound, Wash. 98245. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, Wash. and the San Juan Islands.
To share memories of Alan, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.