COLUMBUS — Dick Kamm more than epitomized Lakeview pride.
He donned the blue and white from Day 1 and served as an outspoken supporter of the school district from its inception in 1969 until his passing this week.
Kamm, a Platte County native whose career in education spanned 39 years, was more than a principal, superintendent and co-worker to the people he crossed paths with in the hallways at Lakeview High School. He was a leader, mentor and friend — someone who formed bonds with members of the Lakeview community that lasted well beyond his days as an administrator.
“You think of Dick Kamm, all you think about is he’s Lakeview. He’s the founding father of Lakeview,” said University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, who graduated from the local high school in 1974.
“He impacted everyone in the Lakeview community for 45 years, and I don’t know that anyone else can be mentioned in the same breath,” Pillen said.
Kamm, who died Wednesday at Columbus Community Hospital at the age of 82, started his teaching career in Platte Center, where he graduated high school in 1951 before attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and serving in the U.S. Army.
Following stops in Bladen and Valley, Kamm returned to Platte Center to serve as the school’s superintendent and gave Ron Greenwall his first teaching job in 1966. The men also coached football together.
“Some people say they go around the block together. Dick and I probably go around the section,” Greenwall said of his friend.
Greenwall described Kamm as someone with a lighthearted side who also knew when to get serious.
His leadership skills landed him the principal job when Lakeview High School opened in 1969.
Greenwall, who followed his mentor to Lakeview, said Kamm was extremely proud of the Lakeview community for building a school from the ground up.
“He told that story so many times. He was proud that he was part of that from the beginning,” said longtime Lakeview teacher Jill Goedeken, a 1974 graduate of the school.
Kamm became the district’s superintendent in 1971, replacing J.P. Young, and held the position until his retirement in 1994.
“In most of our eyes, he’s never been retired,” said Pillen.
That’s because Kamm remained active in education and with Lakeview until the end.
He was the Platte County superintendent of schools for five years and worked as a lobbyist advocating for rural schools in the Nebraska Legislature. Kamm was also a member of the Nebraska Association of Retired School Administrators, Nebraska Schoolmasters Club and Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association.
“He was a leader in the field,” Goedeken said. “Everybody knew he was a leader in the field, and he represented Lakeview well everywhere he went.”
Kamm stayed in touch with students long after their graduation and loved being invited to class reunions. He was one of the first to RSVP when the Class of 1974 met for its 40-year reunion in 2014.
“He just loved all of us out here,” Goedeken said.
During his retirement, Kamm was instrumental in starting the Lakeview Education Foundation, which raises money for student scholarships and classroom needs. Through the foundation, he helped organize fundraisers such as Big Red Night, an annual golf tournament and the Viking Venture run.
Health issues forced Kamm off the golf course for the first time this year, but he was still on hand to give out awards and prizes.
“He did everything he could to put Lakeview on the map,” said Goedeken, who served alongside Kamm on the foundation board.
Kamm also played a key role in establishing the Lakeview High School Hall of Fame, which inducted its inaugural class last month.
“If it weren’t for him and his help, we would never have gotten the hall of fame off the ground,” Lakeview Athletic Director Jake Shadley said.
Establishing the hall of fame was a dream for Kamm, whose name will surely appear on the wall of honor for his support of the school district.
“He loved our school. There’s no other way to put it,” Greenwall said. “He loved Lakeview High School.”
A funeral service for Kamm will be held 2:30 p.m. Monday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbus. Visitation is set for 3-5:30 p.m. Sunday and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Monday at the church.
He is survived by his wife, Jeanette Kamm of Columbus; son, James Kamm of Omaha; daughter, Jane Bateman of Ridgely, Maryland; and four grandchildren.