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Opinion: Lazarus was true philanthropist

The “Lazarus” building is no more. It was never a handsome bit of architecture worth preserving, but Stan Lazarus, the remarkable man who built it after a disastrous fire in the ’60s, IS worth remembering.
The Lazarus Department Store was the source of an amazing assortment of clothing for kids and adults — shoes, boots, parkas, coats, sweaters, socks, underwear, p.j.s, blouses — stashed in a truly bizarre organizational arrangement known only to Stan and sometimes his assistants. When the store burned the first question from my stunned children was “But what happened to the shoes?!” Lazarus’s was where the ritual choosing, fitting and shoe buying took place. Stan himself, his cheerful patter and sometimes bribery, was the reason small children and their mothers survived the process of trying on many sizes of shoes, sneakers and clothing.
Stan was generous and he knew the community and the families he served. Without fanfare or obligation, many pairs of boots, shoes, sneakers and winter coats went home at a discount or free to families when circumstances warranted.
Stan was firm, but gracious to all — including at least one large golden retriever who accompanied a tribe of shoe purchasers.
Yes, the proprietor of Lazarus Department store and his building are no more but somehow the town of Middlebury should find a way to commemorate this unique, generous and very special man.
Any ideas citizens of Middlebury?
Peg Martin, Middlebury

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