Richard H. Headlee
Richard H. Headlee

For Immediate Release
Contact: Chris Bachelder, Director of Communications
Phone: (989) 631-0900

MIDLAND — Howard Headlee, son of the late Richard H. Headlee, offered the following comments on the passing of his father early Tuesday morning:

"A fundamental part of my father’s success in business and politics was that he had a deep personal regard for everyone, even those with whom he disagreed. He truly cared about, and loved, people. This was witnessed by countless individuals with whom he had warm and positive personal relationships."

Richard H. Headlee was the father of nine children, eight of whom survive him (a son, Richard Bruce, passed away in December 2000). Also surviving Headlee are his beloved wife, Mary; his sister, Norma Cutler; 51 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, William.

The family requests that any donations in memory of Richard H. Headlee be made to Mothers Without Borders, an organization that provides support to "orphaned and vulnerable children" of the world.

Additional information is provided by the Headlee family below:

Richard Harold Headlee passed away peacefully at his home in Cedar Hills, Utah on Nov. 9, 2004, surrounded by his family.

He was born May 16, 1930 in Fort Dodge, Iowa to William Clark and Violet Lunn Headlee. He moved with his family to Richfield, Utah where he met and later married his high school sweetheart, Mary Elaine Mendenhall, October 21, 1949. Together they raised four sons and five daughters and are the proud grandparents of 51 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. They taught their children to love God and to love one another. They encouraged them to be anxiously engaged in good works.

After completing his undergraduate education at Utah State University, he served in the U.S. military and moved with his family to Mannheim, Germany.

Dick joined the Jaycees in 1958 in Bountiful, Utah. He served as the Utah State President, a National Director, and was elected President of the United States Jaycees in 1963. After moving with his family to Michigan in 1964, he was appointed by Gov. George Romney to organize Christmas in Viet Nam for the servicemen and women from Michigan serving overseas. He went on to become Gov. Romney’s campaign manager, and he continued the tradition of community service throughout his life. In 1978, he organized and led the successful effort to amend the Michigan Constitution to limit the taxing and spending authority of government. This amendment is popularly known as the "Headlee Amendment." Dick ran for the office of Governor in 1982, and according to his own words, "came dangerously close to winning." In 1992, he led another successful campaign to amend the Michigan Constitution, this time enacting term limits for elected officials.

He began a successful business career with the Burroughs Corporation. He went on to serve as President and CEO of several corporations, including Morbark Industries in Winn, Mich., which he led from a small Michigan business to a national manufacturing company; and Alexander Hamilton Life Insurance Company, located in Farmington Hills, Mich. Alexander Hamilton was a small company with $100 million in assets when Dick was elected President and CEO. Under his leadership the company achieved a position of prominence in the industry, operating in the United States, Canada and Great Britain with $8 billion in assets.

A significant event in his life occurred when he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1966. He was sealed to his wife and children in the Salt Lake Temple in 1967. He gladly accepted and magnified the many and varied callings extended to him. His service in the church included serving twice as Bishop, 10 years in the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Stake Presidency, and three years as a Regional Representative. His dedication and devotion to the Lord touched many lives. In addition, he was actively involved with a number of charitable endeavors throughout the world, including work with Project Concern International and Mothers Without Borders. He provided the leadership and motivation for his family to serve children in projects throughout the world. His life set an example that one person can make a difference.

Dick received a heart transplant in 1987. He was an active proponent of the organ donor program and started The Angels of Last Resort Foundation to provide organ transplants for the uninsured.

He is survived by his sister Norma (Paul) Cutler of Salt Lake City; his eternal companion (55 years in mortality) Mary; his children Michael (Pamela) of East Bloomfield, N.Y., Doug (Mary) of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., Kathy of Cedar Hills, Utah, Natalie (David) Blackwell of Ferron, Utah, Carolyn (Dave) Sharette of Sandy, Utah, Laura (Grant) Campbell of Sandy, Utah, Howard (Tana) of Sandy, Utah, and Elaine (Randy) Benson of Cedar Hills, Utah; 51 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, William, and his son Richard Bruce.

We are very proud of this wonderful man we call father, grandfather, great-grandfather and husband and are thankful for the knowledge that he is now with our Savior and continuing his good works.

For updated information regarding the time and location of funeral services, please contact:

     Shawn Warenski, Funeral Director
     Warenski Funeral Home
     shawn@warenski.com
     (801) 763-5000

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Mothers Without Borders, 125 E. Main St. #402, American Fork, UT 84003 (www.motherswithoutborders.org).

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