Richard Furst Newell passed away on July 14th, 2022 at the age of 90. Some may remember him by his dapper seersucker suits, horn-rimmed glasses, and Panama hat- he was more than that. He was a tireless advocate for what is just, an adored husband, father, grandfather, and brilliant attorney. He left behind three daughters for whom he had the utmost care and compassionâgiving them his most grounding support. He was predeceased by his beloved wife of 63 years, Sarah Richie Newell, his sister Martha Coleman and brother Phillip Newell. He died peacefully on the front porch of his family home in Michigan. The night before he passed away, Rick sipped a bourbon and watched the Detroit Tigers win as the sun set at Gull Lake.
Rick was born on October 16, 1931, in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Berkley High School, and maintaining various jobs as a gravedigger, ice-cream scooper, and hearse driver, he hitchhiked to Georgetown College in Kentucky. He majored in English, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude. During his time there, he played football before the age of face masks, which in addition to diving off docks in too shallow water, led to a succession of broken noses. This didn't prevent him from charming Sarah Richie, at Georgetown, and they were married in 1954.
He and Sarah moved to Boston, MA, where he studied at Harvard Law School, having received the Squire Ogden scholarship. The couple moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where Rick joined the Ogden law firm on July 9, 1956. He practiced law there for over 50 years, representing Kentucky Utilities and the Coopers Union, among others. In 1992 the firm's name changed to Ogden Newell and Welch, reflecting Rick's years of service and commitment to the firm. He was the first chairperson of the Louisville Bar Association Ethics Committee, serving two terms. He was a founding member of the firm's Heffulumps softball team and known for being able to drive a ball deep into right field and a good steward of the cooler.
Rick enjoyed traveling the world with Sarah, gardening in the backyard of the family's Eastover Court home, and spending time in Michigan. He was an accomplished debater both in professional settings and at the dinner table. As a man who valued education, he never stopped learning and enriching his life. He graduated first in his class from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary at age 80 with a Master of Arts in Religious Thought. This was emblematic of Rick's lifelong quest for knowledge, allowing him to better understand and serve the world around him.
Despite all his passions, Rick's utmost devotion was to his wife and three daughters, Priscilla Reed Newell, Elisabeth Richie Newell, and Sarah Frances Newell Usdin (Tommy). He was smitten with his four grandchildren, Eva Reed and Max Dylan FortunÃ© Bernard, and Richard Lyle and Sarah Cecile Newell Usdin.
The family wishes to thank Ernestine Terrell and Michelle Leininger for their loving care of Rick.
He was valued as a friend and mentor by many. A celebration of Rick's life will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Richland, Michigan, 8047 Church Street, Richland MI 49083, at 11:00 am on August 13th, 2022. For those unable to join us, a Zoom connection will be available.
A gathering and tree planting will be held in Rick's honor in Louisville, KY by year's endâdetails forthcoming.
The family requests no flowers or gifts. Donations in his honor may be made to:
Richard and Sarah Newell Scholarship Fund at Georgetown College
400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324
First Presbyterian Church
8047 Church Street, Richland, MI 49083
1018 South 7th Street, Louisville, KY 40203
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
1044 Alta Vista Road, Louisville, KY 40205
Arrangements by the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel.