PRO3 #45 - Richard J. Whittemore

January 19, 1956 – July 5, 2015

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Richard J. Whittemore

Richard (Dick) John Whittemore passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, July 5.  He was 59 years old.  Dick had just completed a weekend of racing his BMW 325 in Auburn, WA when he began to experience breathing problems at the conclusion of the race.  He entered the emergency room at St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood, WA and was immediately transferred to the intensive care unit.  He later suffered cardiac arrest.

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Dick was born and raised in Portland, OR.  He was the son of Dr. James P and Mary Margaret Whittemore, both of whom preceded him in death.  Dick attended St. Thomas More Grade School and received the Seed of Wisdom Award for academic excellence his 8th grade year.  Dick attended Jesuit High School graduating in 1974.   He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy from Colorado College in 1978.  He attended Northwestern School of Law working nights at Abernethy’s restaurant so he could serve a clerkship with Judge Charles Crookham in Multnomah County Circuit Court.  He remained close to Judge Crookham until the judge’s death in 2004.  Dick was proud to deliver a eulogy at his funeral service.  He recalled many colorful court room remarks.  Judge Crookham once remarked to a lawyer, “Keep on talking, and you’ll still lose this.”

Dick joined the firm of Bullivant Houser Baily in 1984 and was a senior shareholder. He was a member of the Oregon, Washington and Idaho Bar Associations and practiced law for more than 30 years litigating cases in both state and federal court.  He was an expert in product liability defense, clergy malpractice, medical malpractice and commercial litigation.

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Dick had a deep for respect for the law but his passion was motor racing. He traveled the Pacific Northwest participating in SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) races.  For years he raced an open wheel Ford in the SCCA and ICSCC (International Conference of Sports Car Clubs).  This past weekend he drove his #45 BMW 325 PRO 3 class and placed seventh from a field of 43 cars.

Dick collected numerous checkered flags throughout his racing career.

For all you knew him, he stood tall, spoke softly, listened intently and thought logically.  He contracted Non-Hodgins Lymphoma (NHL) in 1997.  After six months of chemotherapy and aggressive physical rehab he returned to the track and drove a 6 hour endurance race.  In 2008 he was re-diagnosed with a more aggressive form of NHL.  Several months of chemo and a new treatment, Bexxar, did the trick.  He successfully defeated the beast, never complaining of treatment or its side effects.  He clearly lived by the motto his mother taught him, “Never complain, never explain.”

Dick was a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Board of Trial advocates where he served as National Board Representative President Elect among other board positions.  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 serving on the Board of Trustees of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Association. He was a member of the Multnomah Athletic Club and the University Club of Portland where he proudly served as president in 2006.

Dick is survived by his loving wife of 10 years, Carolyn; sisters Kathy (Kirk) Johnson and Susan (Craig) Honeyman; brother James (Laurie) Whittemore; nieces Libby (Scott) Rasmussen and Katherine (Nick) Byrne; nephews Blake (Lisa) Whittemore, Michael Johnson, Christopher (Allie) Johnson, Andrew Honeyman and Kevin Honeyman.