Former Lahontan Board officer dies at home
Roy C. Hampson, an executive officer of Lahontan Regional Water Quality Board from 1973 to 1986, was found dead Wednesday at his Tahoe Keys home.
What caused the 62-year-old’s death has not been determined, but an autopsy is planned, said El Dorado County sheriff’s Deputy Coroner Pete Van Arnum. Hampson was found dead in a chair around 2:30 p.m. after an acquaintance went by his house to check on him.
A close friend of Hampson, James Kuykendall, said he believes Hampson had problems with his blood sugar.
“He’s been feeling shaky for a long while. He was fighting this illness he had,” Kuykendall said. “A few times I saw him, he didn’t have a lot energy, he wasn’t his old self. He said he was feeling pretty well when I talked to him three weeks ago; feeling better than he had in a long time. I’m sorry he died. He was a very good friend.”
Steve Rapkin, a longtime neighbor of Hampson, said he last saw Hampson alive about a week ago. He said he and Hampson spoke once in a while.
“He seemed like a very kind soul,” Rapkin said.
In November, Hampson was a candidate for an open seat on the board of South Lake Tahoe Public Utility District. He lost the Nov. 6 election to Cathie Becker. During his campaign, Hampson, an environmental engineer, called for the district to start “doing things in the open,” accusing the board of using closed sessions to set public policy. If elected, Hampson said he wanted to increase the water supply available to the basin.
Hampson never married or had any children. He is survived by at least one sister who flew to Tahoe on Thursday to attend to her brother’s death.
Born in Rhode Island, Hampson got a degree in civil engineering at the University of Rhode Island in the late 1960s. His first job out of college was with the California Department of Health in Los Angeles, where he evaluated water systems and analyzed ground water. Hampson then hired on with the Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board, where he worked until 1971.
That year he moved to Bishop, Calif., and started working at Lahontan. Hampson was the engineer in charge of South Lahontan Basin when Kuykendall was hired as an engineer in 1972.
Hampson spent the next year in Victorville, a town in California north of San Bernadino, leading a waste water treatment project.
In 1973, Jack Legget retired as executive officer of Lahontan and Hampson replaced him. That same year, the water quality agency moved its headquarters from Bishop to South Lake Tahoe. Hampson spent a year living in Meyers before he moved to a home on Wyoming Avenue in the Tahoe Keys.
In 1986, Hampson quit working at Lahontan and opened his own consulting business, Roy C. Hampson & Associates Environment Engineering and Management. At the time of his death, Hampson worked out of an office at Tahoe Keys Marina.
Kuykendall said Hampson was passionate about his chosen profession. In his years as an environmental engineer, Hampson directed plan revision for the Truckee River watershed, helped implement the export waste water from the basin, developed ways to enforce sediment controls and, among other things, helped jump-start the clean up of the Leviathan Mine.
As a private consultant, Hampson worked on solid waste systems for Sierra County and water rights for the city of Adelanto, Calif. He also did consulting work for area ski resorts.
Kuykendall said Hampson mostly socialized with people in his profession. He liked to travel, especially to South America and Europe, and golf. He also enjoyed good Italian food, a taste he acquired as a child growing up with Italian friends.