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Plain Talk for a New Generation
Lawrence D. Eicher: 1938 - 2002

This column is usually devoted to issues that concern this standards organization or the standards community. It has never been used to honor an individual, until now. This time is an exception, because the man we will honor was an exception. He was a leader in the standards field whose character and service stood out so brilliantly that this organization was compelled to honor him in 1987 with the W.T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award.

The purpose of the W. T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award is to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions made by individuals associated with national and international voluntary standards.

It is granted to persons of widely recognized eminence in the voluntary standards system. Lawrence D. Eicher, secretary-general of the ISO, was the first to receive it.

Larry Eicher died on March 21 and left our community all the poorer for it. There will be many fine words said about him, about his accomplishments, of which there were many, and his contributions to the field of standardization. But ASTM International owes a special tribute to Larry Eicher, and it is this: He was a man who was always willing to engage in open dialogue, a man who understood the value of honest expression, a man of conviction and integrity. He was not afraid to stand up, to speak up for what he believed was right. This is the essence of consensus, and it is one of the principles he practiced with purposeful dedication and resolve. It went to the heart of his work and it goes to the heart of the work of everybody who labors in this field. For this he will be remembered at ASTM International, and valued, and respected. He represented what we all need so badly at this moment in time: peaceful resolutions through dialogue and the power of consensus.

Larry was an Honorary Member of ASTM. He was our countryman, and we were proud of him. He was also a citizen of the world, and we were proud of the way he bore his awesome responsibility. Lest anyone think otherwise because we sometimes represented opposing views, let this be known: He was our friend, and we shall miss him.

To his wife Nancy, and to his children Scott, Leah, and Paige, we extend our deepest sympathy.

(Click here for a full obituary.)

Copyright 2002, ASTM

James Thomas
President, ASTM

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