Lawrence ‘Larry’ Braman, Early NOAH Supporter and Board Member, Dies

When Larry Braman was a graduate student enrolled at Columbia University in the early 1970s he found himself in front of the former East Boston Land Use Council pitching an idea for a parcel of land between Maverick Square and the waterfront.

Braman, and his colleague Mossik Hacobian, pitched the idea of a series of low-rise and high-rise efficiency units that would help local senior citizens remain in the neighborhood they called home.

Braman had recently moved to Trenton Street and immersed himself in Eastie’s movement to create more affordable housing opportunities for seniors and residents.

Braman’s plans were unique at the time as it combined high and low-rise apartments with a variety of open spaces, private courtyards, semi enclosed yards, and a lawn open to the pedestrian mall.

What started as a school project for Braman and Hacobian eventually became Eastie’s 245-unit Heritage Apartment complex for seniors at 209 Sumner St.

Braman and Hacobian were quoted saying in a February 1972 edition of the East Boston Community News that, “School projects tend to have a sense of unreality. We decided to do a real project, so that aside from school it would also have some practical use for East Boston.”

Braman would eventually spend decades calling Eastie home and became an early supporter and board member of NOAH (East Boston Neighborhood of Affordable Housing) as well as numerous other organizations.

Sadly, Braman, who had been living in Cambridge, passed away on December 18 after a battle with cancer.

“Larry, who was an East Boston resident for almost three decades, chose to spend his life improving the world for others, and held a successful career focused largely on affordable housing and community development,” said NOAH Executive Director Phil Giffee. “Larry was a kind and gentle man whose intelligence was often revealed in his sharp wit. He will be greatly missed.”

Braman was born into a life of privilege but chose to spend his life improving the world for others. He was educated at The International School in Geneva, Switzerland, Yale and Columbia Universities, and he was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Braman’s long and successful career focused largely on affordable housing and community development. He served on the Mass Architectural Access Board, held positions at Greater Boston Community Development (now The Community Builders), Urban Edge (a community development organization based in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood), the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), and finally at the Cambridge Building Department where he reviewed building plans for their compliance with architectural access requirements. He retired last year.

Never one to complain, he happily greeted the world from a wheelchair for the last 52 years of his life following a diving accident in 1969 that left him a quadriplegic.

He was survived by his half-sisters, Mary Stevens Fillman and Gladys Stevens Thacher, many nieces and nephews, many great-nieces and nephews, and many close friends.

Donations in Larry’s memory may be made to the Boston Center for Independent Living, 60 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111.

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