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In Memoriam: Lance Ware

Kevin Langdon


Dr. Lancelot Lionel Ware died on August 15, 2000, at the age of 85.

Dr. Ware suggested that a society for the highly intelligent could be founded on the basis of scores on intelligence tests. He found a receptive ear in Roland Berrill, whose high energy and organizational skills created the organization known as Mensa. Although Dr. Ware participated in Mensa in its early days, he was never attracted to the organizational side of things and did not seek to involve himself in governance.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Ware and spending an afternoon walking in the woods with him in Tilden Park, in the Berkeley hills, in 1992, when he came to San Francisco for the American Mensa Annual Gathering. Our conversation ranged over a wide variety of subjects.

Dr. Ware was a kind, genuinely refined, and intelligent gentleman of the old school. He was disappointed with certain aspects of what Mensa has become. He deplored vulgarity and unkindness in all things. At the same time, he appreciated that there is another side to Mensa, a gathering of people with good minds to exchange ideas and experiences and he lent the weight of his considerable influence to many meaningful and constructive projects.

We talked about the higher-IQ societies and I outlined a little bit of their history for him. He was interested but skeptical about the potential for the societies to make significant contributions to society at large, based on his experience with Mensa.

Photo by Billy Mitchell <http://www.billymitchell.com/mensa/>.