A legend passed away on Independence Day

More than 50 odd years ago, I was privileged to meet a Black man who at the first meeting demonstrated by words and action that he was a very special person. Over the years we had many conversations about all the factors that involved the well- being of the community and particularly the Black community. We never had a confrontational conversation and that is extremely rare for me, because as most of you know I can be opinionated. It is apparent to most readers that I am writing about Robert R. Lavelle.

He was a rarity—Christian and a successful businessman, first a multi-list Realtor, civil rights warrior, devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather and someone who truly loved his neighbors. You did not have live where he lived to be in that category.


There were many meetings during the Civil Rights Movement and tempers sometimes flared, but Bob was always a voice of reason.

Dwelling House was the place that was responsible for an untold number of people to be privileged to share in the American Dream of becoming a homeowner. I was one of hundreds who, when going to the major banks for a mortgage, they said no. It had nothing to do with credit or lack of a down payment, thousands upon thousands of Blacks across this nation remember those days. But thank God Allegheny County had Dwelling House and Bob Lavelle.

It is written that man was born to die, but death comes in two categories—the first is to die and no one even remembers you. The second is that there are those like Robert R. Lavelle who will always be remembered as a loving, caring Christian man, and truly one of Christ’s disciple. The definition of a disciple in the dictionary is totally wrong, look in your Bible and see how its defined.

It really was not necessary to write a column about Bob, I could have simply written he was a good man, a mighty good man.

(Louis Hop Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)


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