In Remembrance: Lawrence Alexander ’72 Died on November 6 2011

Mary Alice Alexander

Mary Alice Alexander

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Lawrence R. Alexander died November 6, 2012, of complications related to a blood disorder.  He was 62.  Alexander had been a Massachusetts public servant, including over a decade as a state representative, and worked throughout his career to improve public service and encourage ethical behavior among government officals.  He later taught legislative ethics at Yale.

A full obituary appeared in the Boston Globe on November 29, 2012, and in the Yale Daily News on December 4, 2012.  

The secretary of the Yale College Class of ’72 wrote the following for his column in the March/April 2013 Yale Alumni Magazine: “I reported last time on the death of Lawrence Alexander (PC) in November. Richard Schwartz has sent in the following: ‘Larry Alexander died last November in Boston from a blood disorder. Larry devoted his career to public service in Massachusetts. He was first elected to Town Meeting in Swampscott during his senior year at Yale. Following law school at Boston University, he began a short stint in private practice, during which he was elected to the Marblehead Planning Board. Three years later, Larry ran for the Massachusetts House of Representatives and became the first Democrat in many years to represent the 8th Essex District, comprising Marblehead, Swampscott, and a portion of Lynn. Larry was House chairman of the Joint Committee on Energy and authored significant legislation in the areas of environmental protection, consumer protection, and government reform. His legislative achievements included the Massachusetts Bottle Law, which mandates bottle and can recycling, and a law prohibiting elected officials from keeping unused campaign funds for personal use. Governor Michael Dukakis appointed Larry to be one of three commissioners of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Larry later worked for several nonprofits specializing in the environmental and energy sectors, wrote an unpublished novel about politics and friendship, and taught courses at Yale, Tufts, and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government about ethical dilemmas of legislators. 

‘Larry had an exceptionally good-natured and optimistic disposition and took immense pleasure in family, friends, politics, writing, or just taking a walk on the beach or deciding what to order for dinner. His great personal warmth enlivened countless occasions among our classmates, especially in New York City. At Yale, Larry majored in political science and was associate editorial page editor of the Yale Daily News, where he wrote a column called ‘Off My Mind.’ He particularly enjoyed college seminars taught by Master John Hersey of Pierson and Time magazine White House correspondent Hugh Sidey. His experience as a Yale student inspired him to develop and teach his own courses. Larry’s students loved his seminar about legislators and ethics and sent him heartfelt notes after he became seriously ill toward the end of his last term teaching at Yale in 2011. He leaves his wife of 35 years, Mary Alice, and two children: Katie, a kindergarten teacher in Beverly, Massachusetts, and David (PC) ’08, who works for Microsoft in Seattle. Many members of our class attended Larry’s funeral, at which his Hotchkiss and Pierson classmates Orin McCluskey spoke and Kit Luce served as a pallbearer.’” 

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