KnightNews.com received the following obituary from Dr. Charles Lako’s son, Chris Lako, who told us his family is “very appreciative” after noticing the comments posted from students and alumni paying tribute to the man many considered their best professor at UCF. Chris Lako announced a scholarship is being created in his father’s memory and invited members of the UCF community to attend the late professor’s public viewing on Monday, Jan. 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Collison Funeral Home, located at 3806 Howell Branch Road Winter Park, FL.
Beloved UCF Law Professor Charles M. Lako Jr., Esq., J.D. Dies Following a Brief Illness
Born July 26, 1947 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Charles Michael Lako Jr., Esq., J.D. passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on January 13, 2014 following a brief illness. He is survived by his loving wife of 41 years Robyn Lako, his beloved sons Charles M Lako III and Christopher M Lako, his adoring sisters Helen R Scully and Elaine M Houlihan, and his special nieces Alyssa E Houlihan and Ilona M Scully.
Following an Honorable discharge from a tour of duty in the Navy during wartime, Charles Lako graduated from Florida Atlantic University as an undergraduate and proceeded to work on Wall Street as a licensed stock, commodities, and futures analyst and broker. He returned to academia and graduated from John Marshall Law School with a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1977, earning Cum Laude Honors. He dedicated himself as a trial lawyer, judge, and law professor serving every segment of the community in Atlanta, GA. In 1994, he moved to Stuart, FL and expanded his law practice to Florida. He was a member of the FL and GA Bar Associations, all Federal Courts, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Tax Court. While a trial lawyer in Florida, Charles Lako continued to serve the community.
He founded a Teen Court Program in the 19th Judicial Circuit, serving Martin, Indian River, and St. Lucie counties. Through the program he volunteered his time to teach over 150 high school students over seven years how to practice law and represent criminal teen defendants in a courtroom where he presided as the Judge. Charles Lako was also a trustee for two large trusts, including a scholarship fund at Martin County High School, which allowed countless students to attend college.
Continuing his work educating others, Charles Lako became a law professor for the seven colleges of business at the University of Central Florida in 2004, where he taught until he passed away. Over his 10 year career at the university he educated 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students and founded the Res Ipsa Loquitor Law Society. The society instilled leadership and charitable fund raising in his students, raising money for the Make a Wish Foundation.
Charles Lako was one of the most popular professors at the university and news of his death led to thousands of Facebook messages. A collection of the messages read as follows: “Dr. Lako may have passed away, but a part of him remains in each and every one of his thousands of students.”, “Great man huge heart, awesome teacher.”, “One of my favorite professors at UCF. A great educator. The memories will always be there.”, “Most amazing man inside and out, one of the few professors who truly cared about his students and went out of his way to better the lives of those around him. A giant loss for UCF and I am honored to have ever had him as a professor.”, “I am sorry for all of his loved ones and those who have not yet had the opportunity to be taught by this man!”, and “If anyone deserves a memorial, this man does…a great man and a great teacher!”.
He was a fixture of the University of Central Florida community, combining difficult material with his quirky personality, which included playing collections of Rod Stewart, Lady Gaga, and Beethoven in class and his dry wit. He always carried Hershey Kisses with him so he could give “kisses” to his students. Charles Lako would tell his students that he had a 1:1 student to faculty ratio as he was always available to his students. He frequently ate lunch with his students in UCF’s student union and became an honorary member of the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity. The respect of his students earned him the prestigious TIP award at UCF and the inaugural awarding of the Outstanding Faculty Member award at IRCC.
In addition to leading a successful career, Charles Lako was the epitome of a family man. His favorite pastimes were fishing, boating, and vacationing on Sanibel Island with his family. When his sons were younger he volunteered as a coach for their soccer and baseball teams and was also a father figure for his two nieces. Charles Lako would always interrupt his busy work schedule to be there for his family and friends, frequently taking a long break at lunch to spend time with his sons and nieces after school even though it meant longer nights in the office. In his spare time he enjoyed working with hands, from gardening and landscaping his home to building furniture and completing home renovation projects with his sons. His most prized possession was his family.
It is only fitting to close with his favorite adage, which he coined, “Yesterday is who you were, today is who you are, and tomorrow is who you’re going to be.” – Charles M. Lako Jr., Esq., J.D.
Public visitation will be held from 6-8 pm on Monday January 20th, 2014 at Collison Funeral Home, 3806 Howell Branch Road Winter Park, FL 407-678-4500. The family asks that donations be made to the “UCF Foundation” in memory of Charles Lako, in lieu of flowers. In light of his legacy at the university and his love for giving, the family is establishing a memorial scholarship in his name for the School of Business and the University of Central Florida. Donations can be accepted via https://giving.ucffoundation.org/ucffoundation, please designate the College of Business Administration and note Charles Lako in the comment section.
A Catholic funeral will be celebrated at 9:30am Tuesday January 21st, 2014 at St Margaret Mary Catholic Church (526 N Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL, 407-647-3392), in Winter Park, FL, led by Father Kiskama Lamor. Interment will follow in Stuart, FL.