American-Israeli Richard Lakin dies two weeks after terrorist attack on Jerusalem bus

Grandfather of eight and former elementary-school principal is third casualty of Armon Hanatziv attack.

Richard Lakin (photo credit: COURTESY OF FAMILY)
Richard Lakin
(photo credit: COURTESY OF FAMILY)
American-Israeli Richard Lakin, 76, who was wounded in a brutal attack in the capital’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood two weeks ago, died on Tuesday morning.
Lakin is the third victim to die from the October 13 shooting and stabbing attack carried out by two terrorists from the adjoining Arab neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber.
Haim Haviv, 78, and Alon Govberg, 51, were killed during the attack. Several other passengers were seriously wounded.
One of the assailants was shot dead by police; the other was arrested.
Lakin, a former principal at Hopewell Elementary School in Glastonbury, Connecticut, underwent numerous emergency surgeries at Hadassah- University Medical Center in Ein Kerem after being shot in the head and stabbed multiple times.
Scenes of double terror attacks in Jerusalem
On his Facebook page, one of Lakin’s sons praised the hospital’s staff for working “diligently around the clock” to save him, but said his wounds were too grave to be healed.
“Dad passed away this morning,” the posting said.
“He was 76 years old, and had eight grandchildren. He was butchered by Muslim terrorists who shot him in the head and stabbed him multiple times during an attack on bus 78 in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanatziv neighborhood.
“After the attack, Dad was rushed to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem where the incredible medical staff worked diligently around the clock for two weeks trying to save his life, but, alas, his injuries were too severe.
“Dad was unconscious and anesthetized during the entire two weeks, so he felt no pain.
This morning, with his family around him, he faded gently into a permanent sleep, and we kissed him goodbye,” the son wrote.
The post went on to celebrate Lakin’s legacy of decency.
“Dad was a kind, gentle loving person whose legacy is ‘acts of kindness,’” it continued.
“Dad’s basic views as expressed on his website were: ‘Every child is a miracle,’ ‘kindness and positivism are contagious,’ ‘empowerment frees people to realize their potential,’ ‘parenting and teaching are acts of love,’ and ‘schools must be caring learning communities where pluralism and opportunities for choice abound.’” Lakin, who was raised in Newton, Massachusetts, made aliya with his wife, Karen, and two teenage sons 32 years ago, after a distinguished career as an educator and community activist from 1969 to 1984.
During the US civil rights movement in the ’60s, Lakin and Karen took part in numerous Freedom Rides throughout the South to show solidarity with blacks in the fight against segregation.
The family settled in Armon Hanatziv, where he and his wife taught English to Jewish and Arab students.
A doting grandfather, Lakin described himself on his website as the “recipient of endless joy from my children and grandkids, and from the smiles, laughter and sense of wonder of the hundreds of elementary school children I had the good fortune to work with as a teacher and principal.”
Lakin authored a book in 2007 titled, “Teaching as an Act of Love: Thoughts and Reflections of a Former Teacher, Principal and Kid,” as well as a second book.
Anne Alvord, who worked with him as a teacher in Connecticut, described him as “naturally respectful, gentle and effective.”
“He was a very peaceful man in the way he worked with his teachers and students,” Alvord told The Harford Courant newspaper. “That was his magic, really.”
Joan Kimble, who worked with Lakin and his wife in a human rights group that brought disadvantaged inner-city Hartford children to summer camps in Glastonbury in the 1960s, called him a “very gentle, kind person.”
In a Facebook post, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro wrote: “May God send comfort to his family, and may they know no more sorrow.”
On Lakin’s Facebook page, his family thanked the beloved educator’s many supporters, and vowed to carry on his legacy.
“Friends and family, thank you for your incredible support over the past two weeks,” they wrote. “No words can express how grateful we are to you for being there for us in this difficult time.”
The post concluded: “We love you, Dad, and will do our best to live respectful, loving lives and pass along ‘acts of kindness.’” Lakin is scheduled to be buried in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the 13-year-old Jewish boy from the capital’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood who was in critical condition after being stabbed on October 12 outside a candy shop by two Arab boys, ages 13 and 15, was released from the hospital on Tuesday.
The unidentified boy was rushed to Hadassah-University Medical Center on Mount Scopus where he was placed into a medically induced coma and connected to a respirator. He regained consciousness one week ago after life-saving surgery.
Prof. Ahmed Eid, the head of the hospital’s Department of General Surgery, told Army Radio that he was very near death upon going into surgery, adding that he “has a long path of rehabilitation still ahead of him.”
The boy’s 13-year-old assailant, Ahmed Manasra, made international headlines last week when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas erroneously claimed he was “executed in cold blood” by Jewish “settlers.”
Video released by Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem showed that Manasra was in fact treated by Israeli doctors, and in good condition.