Richard Cuddy Howe
1924 ~ 2021
Our loving father, Richard Cuddy Howe, passed away on June 19, 2021, of natural causes at 97 years of age. He was born on January 20, 1924, in South Cottonwood, Utah, the fifth child of Edward Erastus and Mildred Jane Cuddy Howe. Richard was raised on a small farm built by his father on 5600 South on land first homesteaded by his grandfather and namesake, Richard Howe, who, as a 16-year-old boy and along with his future wife, Ann Turner, immigrated to Utah in 1855 from Chilvers Coton, England. Richard was their last living grandchild and was always very proud of his pioneer heritage. He was a life-long member of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.
Richard would later build his home and, for the next 60 years, raise his family next to the home where he was born and raised. After finally selling his family's land in 2017, it was no longer owned by a Howe – but the family still takes great pride in 162 years of continuous ownership. The residential development built on the land he sold now bears his name – Justice Howe Lane.
Richard's parents were both educators in the Granite School District -- his mother, a teacher and his father, a teacher and principal. Richard was taught to read by his mother at a young age and, as a consequence, skipped a grade in school. He graduated from Granite High School in 1941 and was always proud to be a "Farmer". In fact, farming was his first choice for a future occupation, and he took many classes in agriculture in high school. But in his senior year, he took a class on commercial law taught by a very influential teacher, Eldred Bergson. Even though he didn't become a farmer, he still maintained a great love for connecting with the land. Each year he planted a large garden, with his favorite crop being his prized Golden Jubilee corn – the best strain of corn that he could find, after experimenting with several varieties. While planting his corn, he would stake out a straight line with string and then somehow have the uncanny ability to walk along that string and with his hoe dig perfectly spaced hills -- and one of his children or grandchildren would then place five seeds in each hill – always five – an exact number that he always verified before the hill was covered.
Richard loved gardening and used this time for thinking and relieving stress. When he had to later turn his garden over to others, Dad loved to sit and look at his corn – the tall stalks and tassels were beautiful to him.
After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Utah both as an undergraduate, graduating with a degree in speech, and later graduating from the College of Law in 1948.
Richard married a Murray girl – Juanita Lyon -- on August 30, 1949 in the Salt Lake Temple in a ceremony officiated by Elder John A. Widstoe, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Together Richard and Juanita would welcome six children to their family: Christine Schultz (Stuart), Andrea Reynolds (Rick), Bryant Richard (Sandy), Valerie Winegar (Cliff), Jeffrey Cuddy, and Craig Harlan (Catherin). After being together in this life for 66 years, Juanita passed away in 2015. In addition to his children and their spouses, Richard leaves a posterity of 20 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren.
Richard's first job following law school was as a law clerk for Utah Supreme Court Justice James H. Wolfe. He left that position to become a Judge of the Murray City Court. He later established a private law practice in Murray in a small, four-room office at 5055 South State. If you were to visit his waiting room, you would see clients with mud on their boots and hands worn hard by manual labor. Richard's law practice was very much a "nuts and bolts" operation -- helping with land transactions, business litigation, commercial law, and domestic matters. He viewed his role as a lawyer as a peacemaker. He simply wanted to help people solve their problems. Some of Richard's less-well-off clients would receive a box of oranges or other small gifts from him each Christmas.
In 1950, running on the Democratic ticket, he won his first election to the Utah House of Representatives where he would intermittently serve another five terms, concluding with his service as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1971-1972. He was then elected to the State Senate where he served until 1978. While in the Legislature, he sponsored the bills establishing the Utah Judicial Council and the Office of the Court Administrator. Some of his other civic duties included serving as a member of the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission and the Salt Lake County Merit Council.
He also served a term as Chair of the Utah Democratic Party. While party chair in 1960, he hosted then Senator John F. Kennedy on his visit to Utah as part of his presidential campaign. He introduced the Senator to David O. McKay, then President of the Church. He also explained to Senator Kennedy that the angel atop the Salt Lake Temple was not Gabriel, as the Senator had assumed, but rather Moroni.
In December 1980 Richard was appointed as Justice of the Utah Supreme Court by then Governor Scott M. Matheson. While on the court, he served as Associate Chief Justice from 1988 to 1993 and as Chief Justice from 1998 to his retirement from the court in 2002. He liked judicial writing – striving to make his written opinions clear and understandable.
To the best of our knowledge, Richard is the only person in Utah history to have served in both chambers of the Legislature and as a member of the Supreme Court.
Richard strived to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ and had a strong testimony of the restored gospel. He loved working and serving in the Church. Sundays were long days for Richard, with meetings beginning early in the morning and sometimes going all day long. While serving in the presidency of the South Cottonwood Stake, he would appear to sometimes doze off during meetings while seated on the stand. But he always maintained that he was not asleep -- just listening with his eyes closed and nodding in agreement with the sermon. Richard also served as the first bishop of the Murray 11th Ward, priesthood teacher, and later as a Regional Representative of the Twelve.
The description that President Henry B. Eyring relates of his father -- "He never talked about his spirituality. He just kept on doing little things for the Lord that he was prompted to do" -- also applies to our Dad. He strove to "do good" -- following the example of his mother, who, during the Great Depression, would often feed the homeless men who stopped by their home after jumping off the trains in Murray. As his children, we would sometimes be puzzled by the various people who would visit our house for a "talk" with Dad. While the living room doors were closed and we could not hear the conversations, we knew enough to know that these people were in trouble and needed help. Dad always did what he could.
Dad loved to travel and nearly every year we were off to various places including visiting many of the national parks in Utah and beyond. In 1962, we attended the Seattle World's Fair; in 1964, the New York World's Fair; and the Spokane World's Fair in 1974. We also took nearly annual trips to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. Later in life, Dad and Mom would travel internationally, including picking up children from missions in Germany, England, and Japan. They visited nearly every continent and enjoyed cruises through the Panama Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway, among many other places.
But of all the roles that our Dad lived during his life, the most tender to us are the dozen or so years he spent caring for Juanita at the end of her life. He faithfully attended to her every need.
We wish to thank the staff at The Ridge-Cottonwood and Brigitte and Natalie from Intermountain Homecare and Hospice for the kind and loving care they provided for our Dad during the last years of his life. We also thank our sisters – Christine, Andrea, and Valerie, for the special care and devotion that they showed to Dad.
A viewing will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 25, 2021, at the South Cottonwood Ward building, 5605 South Vine Street in Murray, Utah. A funeral service will be held also at the church building on Saturday, June 26, 2021, at 11:00 a.m., with a viewing prior to the service from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from Jun. 22 to Jun. 27, 2021.