Richard Harold Headlee passed away peacefully at his home in Cedar Hills, Utah on November 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 US Military and along with his family moved to Manheim, 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 Governor George Romney to organize Christmas in Viet Nam for the servicemen and women from Michigan serving overseas. He went on to become Governor Romney's campaign manager, and 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, Michigan, which he led from a small Michigan business to a national manufacturing company; and Alexander Hamilton Life Insurance Company, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan. 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 U.S., 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, Michigan 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, New York, Doug (Mary) of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, 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. Preceded in death by his brother William and his son Richard Bruce.
We are very proud of this wonderful man we call husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. We are thankful for the knowledge that he is with our Savior and continuing his good works.
Funeral services for Dick will be held on Monday, November 15, 2004 at 11:00 a.m. at the Manila Stake Center, 950 East 850 North in American Fork, Utah (adjacent to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple). Family and friends may call Sunday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Warenski Funeral Home, 1776 North 900 East, American Fork, Utah (located 4 blocks North of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple) and at the Stake Center Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. prior to services. Interment for Dick will take place immediately following his funeral service at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 1342 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City, Ut.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Mothers Without Borders, 125 E. Main St. #402, American Fork, UT 84003, for more information please go to www.motherswithoutborders.org.