Jamis Lott was the last person anyone would expect to be the victim of a violent crime. The former Castleton student was quiet and observant, kind and gentle, nurturing and peaceful.
“People always tell you this about somebody who just died,” said Castleton art professor Bill Ramage. “But Jamis really had a good heart. He was just a sweet guy. In this particular instance it’s really true”
On Nov. 17, Lott, 28, was visiting his father’s rural home in Townsend, Vt. when Robin O’Neil, ex-fiancé of Lott’s father, allegedly shot and killed both men, police said.
He was only visiting to do some laundry.
Lott was an art major at Castleton and an editorial cartoonist for The Spartan.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Ramage, adding that Lott worked with him as his gallery assistant.
“I always thought that I owed him a serious debt of gratitude,” Ramage said, after recounting a story of a time Lott covered for Ramage.
The two were supposed to meet an artist on a Sunday to host a new art show, but it wasn’t until Ramage was driving to school on Monday morning that he realized he had completely forgotten the appointment.
He was expecting an irate artist when he arrived, but what he found was all the art perfectly displayed in the gallery. Lott had taken care of everything.
“He came through with shining colors. That was the way he was,” Ramage said.
The two kept in touch after Lott graduated in 2011.
“He’d call me from time to time to ask questions or just to chat,” he said before a pause. “I’ll miss that.”
Castleton students Eric and Callie Ginter grew up a mile down the road from Lott. Their families were good friends.
Ramage and the Ginters agree that no one can talk about Lott without talking about his unbelievable uniqueness.
He was unapologetically himself.
“I don’t even think he would consider societal standards. They just didn’t apply to him,” Eric said. “Even if he did consider them, he didn’t give a shit about them.”
Eric and Callie both laughed at the comment.
Lott was a cartoonist, a puppeteer and sometimes a stand-up comic. He tried out his stand-up at a local jam session in Townsend one night.
Callie and Eric laughed remembering how bizarre some of Lott’s jokes were, but that didn’t stop him.
Callie described him as an older brother, but not the overly protective kind. He was more of the loving and nurturing type.
“We called him Fozzy Bear because he kind of looked like him. He was all gentle and cuddly like that,” Eric said.
Castleton art professor Liza Myers posted a message on Lott’s Facebook wall that echoed what others said about his kind heart.
“Jamis,” Myers wrote. “Thank you. Thank you for your quiet, wry sense of humor, for your gentle tireless energy, for your thoughtfulness, for your sincerity… You were a warm light in the haze of day-to-day living. Hoping your spirit is running joyfully and freely.”
At the local service held for Lott, his brother shared Lott’s favorite quote from an author named Tom Robbins.
“There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.”
According to his brother, this was a quote that both he and Lott lived by.
For him to become a victim of a senseless and violent attack was not a fitting end.
“He was so peaceful and by far the least deserving to face that,” Eric said.
“I can imagine how scared he would be,” He added. “I think they said they found him…”
“Hiding under the table,” Callie said finishing the sentence. “That’s exactly how you would imagine him.”
Jamis Lott was an old soul, but with a child-like innocence. He was an individual. He was a quiet observer, always taking in the world.
When asked if there was anything else they wanted to add, Eric and Callie paused and looked at each other.
After a moment Eric looked up and said, “That we miss him.”