University Police officer dies of lung cancer at 48

Megan Boldt

A 48-year-old University Police officer died Sunday of complications from cancer.
Richard Lamkin was diagnosed with liver cancer four weeks ago and recently developed the minor infection he was never able to fight off.
“It was just one thing right after another for him. He was just a really strong guy,” said Karen Guinn, University 911 dispatcher and friend of Lamkin.
Lamkin joined University Police on June 18, 1979. He remained in the patrol division until taking leave this year because of his illness.
“He loved being a cop,” said University Police Sgt. Jo Anne Benson. “He was dedicated to being a good officer.”
Lamkin received many commendations throughout his career, receiving five Medals of Merit from 1986 to 1994.
According to University Police, the medals are awarded to University Police employees for risking their life or well-being, saving another’s life, providing exceptional service or apprehending “a dangerous or notorious criminal.”
Lamkin received three of the medals for preventing a 1987 suicide, volunteering for high-risk duty preventing violence against women and assisting in the 1987 apprehension of a suspect after being struck by the suspect’s car.
“He would go out and give 110 percent,” said Lt. Rick Giese, Lamkin’s former supervisor who worked with him for 11 years. “He was an extremely hard-working man with a golden heart.”
Besides the Medals of Merit, Lamkin won the Governor’s Award for Bravery, said his wife, Marilyn Lamkin. He also received numerous letters of appreciation from the department.
“He also had a deep, strong interest in informing the community about gangs and cults,” his wife said.
Lamkin lectured to youth groups, churches and students to name a few, she added.
His colleagues said Lamkin’s heart was with the University Police.
“When an officer would retire, Rich would make a plaque to give to that officer,” Benson said.
So officers made Lamkin a similar plaque a few weeks ago to reciprocate his generosity and award him for his service, Benson said.
Besides his life as a police officer, Lamkin owned On Guard Security Protection and Surveillance, a Minneapolis security company. He also had several hobbies.
“He was quite the World War II history buff,” Marilyn Lamkin said.
He also enjoyed working out in his private gym, being outdoors and attending movies.
“I think he saw every movie that came out,” she said.
Lamkin, born Nov. 25, 1950, in Duluth, is survived by his wife, Marilyn; two daughters; and two step-sons.
Many also considered him a great friend.
“I will miss his humor and the good times we had,” Guinn said. “He had the biggest heart and would help you out if you needed it.”
The wake will be held Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Washburn-McReavy Southeast Chapel. Funeral services will take place at Central Lutheran Church at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Megan Boldt covers police and welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3224.