TAMPA (WFLA) – In a room filled with photographs, baseballs and Hawaiian shirts all around, Paul Lamison’s family, friends and colleagues past and present celebrated a life well lived that sadly ended too soon.
The longtime WFLA chief photojournalist passed away earlier this month after suffering a heart attack. He was 57 years old.
“Paul was the man and they say only the good die young,” former WFLA anchor Gayle Sierens said. “This is living proof to me.”
WFLA anchor Jennifer Leigh hosted the celebration of Lamison’s life that featured speeches from his wife Nerissa and their three daughters.
“There’s a great history to be recorded here and there are so many memories to just lock away,” Leigh said.
Lamison had a larger than life, joyful personality.
“I don’t recall a time where he ever wasn’t smiling,” said former WFLA news director Dan Bradley.
Lamison also had a passion for his craft that he shared with so many journalists during his nearly 30-year career.
“Paul’s legacy is the impact he that he’s left on Tampa Bay, whether that’s the viewers for WFLA or the hundreds and hundreds of journalists he’s mentored throughout his career,” said former WFLA photojournalist Chris Taylor, who Paul hired in 2022.
Lamison’s journey began at WFLA in May 1993.
“He made an immediate impression first of all because he was so stylish with his black socks and Hawaiian shirt,” said Rich Murphy, who was the chief photojournalist when Paul began working at WFLA.
The photojournalists who worked with Lamison over the past three decades all wore Hawaiian shirts at the ceremony.
While shooting and editing thousands of stories over the years, Lamison had the ability to connect with people.
“He was able to capture genuine moments because people felt comfortable with him,” Murphy said, “seeing him as a person with a camera and not a camera person.”
With his famous foot hanging out of the Eagle 8 helicopter, Lamison became WFLA’s trusted eye in the sky.
“He loved being in the chopper,” Sierens said. “That was nirvana for him.”
“He was always a natural in front of the camera, he really was, and what you saw in the Eagle is who he was,” Bradley said.
Bradley added that every newsroom needs someone who can light up the room as Lamison did.
“We do a lot of things that aren’t easy to deal with,” Bradley said. “To have someone like that around to keep your spirit up and remind you that you’re a human being and there’s a whole lot more to life than the story you just came back from covering is so critical to a newsroom’s success.”
Lamison is also remembered as a proud girl dad who cherished the love of his life, Nerissa.
“In my opinion, you live big and you love big and like Paul you be kind to one another,” she said during her remarks.
In case you missed it, you can watch the entire celebration of Lamison’s life here.