Richard “Dick” John Whittemore JD ’82
July 10, 2015
Richard “Dick” John Whittemore passed away unexpectedly on July 5, 2015, having suffered cardiac arrest following a weekend of racing his BMW 325 in Auburn, Washington. He was 59 years old.
Dick was born January 19, 1956, in Portland to Dr. James P. and Mary Margaret Whittemore. He attended St. Thomas More Grade School and Jesuit High School, from which he graduated in 1974. He earned a BA cum laude in philosophy from Colorado College in 1978. While a law student, Dick worked nights at Abernethy’s Restaurant so he could serve a clerkship for Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Charles Crookham. He remained close to Crookham and delivered a eulogy at the judge’s funeral service in 2004.
Dick joined the firm of Bullivant Houser Bailey in 1984 and was a senior shareholder. An expert in product liability defense, clergy malpractice, medical malpractice, and commercial litigation, he was a member of the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho bar associations and practiced law for more than 30 years. “Dick was the consummate professional and partner and a tremendous legal advocate equally respected by his clients, adversaries, and judges hearing his cases,” said Loren Podwill, president of Bullivant Houser Bailey. “He was a devoted teacher, spending endless hours working with newer lawyers, teaching them the tools of the trade and professionalism, and volunteering his time to judge local and national legal competitions. Dick carried himself through the world with confidence, grace, and dignity.” He had a reputation for speaking softly, listening intently, and thinking logically.
Dick had a deep respect for the law, but his personal passion was motor racing. He traveled the Pacific Northwest participating in Sports Car Club of America races and collected numerous checkered flags throughout his racing career.
In 1997, Dick was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and underwent six months of aggressive treatment. During this time, his dedication to his clients and his firm never wavered, and he continued to work at a high level. In 2008, Dick was diagnosed with a more aggressive form of NHL, but he succeeded in surviving both the formidable treatment and the disease with quiet strength.
Dick was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Board of Trial Advocates, which he served as national board representative president-elect. He was a member of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel and served as a regional judge for the 2015 National Trial Competition of the Texas Young Lawyers Association. He was also a member of the Multnomah Athletic Club and the University Club of Portland, which he served as president in 2006.
Dick is survived by his loving wife of 10 years, Carolyn; sisters Kathy Johnson and Susan Honeyman; brother James Whittemore; nieces Libby Rasmussen and Katherine Byrne; and nephews Blake Whittemore, Michael Johnson, Christopher Johnson, Andrew Honeyman, and Kevin Honeyman.