Deceased November 7, 2019

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In Memory

Dick Howland died Nov. 7, 2019, after a lengthy illness. His grandfather, father, stepfather and several uncles attended Amherst. He prepared at Deerfield Academy. Dick was president of Chi Phi, played soccer and squash, managed the hockey and lacrosse teams, played saxophone in the band and clarinet in a Dixieland jazz band, served as co-editor of the news bureau and was president of the Lord Jeff Society.

Dick had a varied and illustrious career. After Amherst, he worked briefly at Merrill Lynch and then served as a U.S. Naval officer, seeing duty in Asia. Then Columbia Law School, graduating during the ’60s riots, driving a New York City taxicab.

His first legal job was with civil liberties activist Leonard Boudin. Dick then went to UMass Amherst to serve as the first student legal services officer. He wore a dashiki, a beard, a peace medallion and a Vietnam Veterans Against the War pin, being a founding member. For four years, he helped 25,000 student clients. He created Rooms to Move, a program offering safe havens for students with substance abuse issues.

Worn out, Dick started a private law practice in Amherst, becoming a successful trial lawyer. He committed himself to public service, serving on boards of many not-for-profits, and was president of the chamber of commerce, president of the Leverett Arts Cooperative, Leverett Town Moderator and member of the Amherst Planning Board. He officiated at youth soccer, track and field, swimming and diving events. He taught part time in an inner city high school.

Dick was a well-known personality in Amherst, a gentle man with a commanding voice and a biting wit, willing to engage anyone in conversation. He spent his life helping young people and those in need. He is survived by his partner, Marjorie Levenson; his brother, Dr. John Howland; two daughters, Gillian Vanesse and Kimberly Nelson, and their spouses; and four grandchildren.

Ted Ells ’61 and Paul Bracciotti ’61