Remembering Jack Lachter

June 22, 2022

Jack Lachter was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1928, but the family fled Europe in 1938 when Jack was 10 and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where Jack eventually graduated from the City College of New York in mathematics. His father, however, suffered from a respiratory ailment that became so severe that doctors told him he must leave New York for his health. The healthier place the family found turned out to be Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, Jack decided to take some additional courses at UCLA and there, by some cosmic good fortune, he agreed to help a young woman with her assignments at the apartment she shared with three roommates, one of whom was Kay Kloster, an English major who would in time become our Kay Lachter, Ebell member since 1999, Ebell President from 2006 to 2008, Scholarship Chair and legendary and continuing Ebell Archivist.

In Jack’s professional life he was actually an actuary. An actuary, by the way, is a person who compiles and analyzes statistics used to calculate the financial consequences of risk. Got that? Not a realm especially suited to light social conversation. Nonetheless, Jack was a genial presence at The Ebell, with a sly sense of humor, always supportive of the many obligations of an Ebell President and Board member – attending programs and events throughout the years, regarded with affection and appreciation as part of the Ebell family.

Since it was difficult for Kay – in her professional career as principal of a continuation high school – to get away at predictable times, Jack took significant trips with their daughter Rebecca, now also an Ebell member. They traveled to South America to enhance Becky’s Master’s degree in Latin American Studies. They visited Russia and the Ukraine to track down family history, for another of Becky’s dissertations.

Jack was also a hiker who summited Mt. Whitney – twice.

Kay related one story in particular about an important occasion during her presidency – the International Ball of 2006. Jack was seated next to the Ambassador from Kenya and as Kay describes it, “the two guys were chatting about this and that, casually trying to find common ground, when they discovered that neither one of them liked dancing – holding a woman close in public, don’t you know. I think it must have been the ambassador who felt that way, but being a gentleman, Jack went along with him – the dancing, the reason, and all.”

In another of Jack’s links to The Ebell, it turned out that one of his important business associates, Mr. Dickenson Ross, was the son of Ebell President Mrs. A. Bartlett Ross, president from 1940-1942, and grandson of Mrs. W.S. Bartlett, president from 1914-1916! Jack Lachter was linked to The Ebell for work AND play!

Dennee Frey, Ebell member shared this memory of Jack Lachter:

“My husband Ubaldo remembers Jack fondly as a person who reached out to him when he first came to Los Angeles. Jack took Ubaldo for a long afternoon drive that included Mulholland Drive, the Valley, Malibu and the Skirball Museum, one of Jack’s favorite places, where he volunteered. His daughter Becky and son-in-law Edwin had a similar curiosity and ability to mingle. Jack and Becky loved to go to Death Valley together and Jack bought her a truck so she could go off-roading there!”