Cover photo for Richard Stanley "Dick" Wirtz's Obituary
Richard Stanley "Dick" Wirtz Profile Photo
1940 Richard 2019

Richard Stanley "Dick" Wirtz

June 15, 1940 — January 3, 2019

Wirtz, Richard Stanley (“Dick”), born June 15, 1940, in Evanston, IL, died Thursday, January 3, 2019 in Knoxville, TN. Preceded in death by his beloved spouse, Margaret Ann “Peggy” Hickman Wirtz, October 12, 1940-October 10, 2008. Survived by his daughters Margy Wirtz-Henry (Scott Henry) and Liza Q. Wirtz (Jaspher Hughey and JJ Vincent), by his brother Philip Wirtz (Cindy Rohrbeck), and by numerous other beloved relatives and friends. After earning a B.A. in American Studies from Amherst College in 1961 and a Master’s in Public Administration from Princeton University in 1963, Dick worked for the Peace Corps and other government programs active in fighting the war on poverty. Six months after he and Peggy connected through that common cause in 1966, they were married in Washington, DC. In 1970, he earned a J.D. from Stanford University Law School. After clerking for a federal judge in New Orleans, Dick spent three years as an associate with a large law firm in Seattle, WA. In 1974, he joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee College of Law; he was promoted to associate professor in 1977 and to full professor in 1987. In 1988 he became the College of Law's associate dean for academic affairs. He then served as its acting dean (1991-92) before being appointed to the deanship in 1992. He stepped down from that position in 1998, having worked with the College of Law to retain and improve its accreditation with the American Bar Association (ABA) and to renovate and upgrade its physical plant to modern standards. In 2000, the College of Law named Dick the first E.E. Overton Distinguished Professor of Law. He became an emeritus professor of law in 2004 and continued to teach at the College of Law until 2010. Over his thirty-plus years of association with the College of Law, Dick received both the Harold C. Warner Outstanding Teaching Award and the Student Bar Association Outstanding Teacher Award and was a member of the Commission on the Future of the Tennessee Judicial System and the Curriculum Committee of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, as well as a fellow of the American and Tennessee Bar Foundations. During and after his tenure with the College of Law, he published articles in a variety of legal publications. In addition to his work as leader and educator, Dick put in countless volunteer hours over the course of his life with many different local, regional, and national groups, including community sports programs, hospice and visitation services, and progressive political organizations. Dick was a writer, reader, teacher, and traveler, strong of heart with a seeker's mind. He had a passion for music, ideas, and journeys of all kinds, especially those taken with Peggy, his best friend and lifelong love. A celebration of Dick’s life will be held with friends and family on February 16, 2019. In lieu of flowers, Dick’s family suggests donations to Compassion & Choices( https://www.compassionandchoices.org/donate/donate ), the Tennessee Justice Center( https://www.tnjustice.org/donate/ ), or Alzheimer’s Tennessee( https://www.alztennessee.org/give/donate-now ). To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Richard Stanley "Dick" Wirtz please visit our Sympathy Store.
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