Quiet confidence, good humor were attorney's trademarks

Idaho StatesmanMarch 25, 2007 

Attorney Richard H. Seeley was recognized in 2004 during an annual Idaho State Bar Association meeting for his service during 65 years as a lawyer, during which time he was a mentor to many upcoming attorneys, including Idaho Supreme Court Justices Jim Jones and Roger Burdick.

Seeley served 45 years as Jerome County Prosecuting Attorney before formally retiring in 1984. He continued to serve clients throughout the years, keeping his license active until his death on March 10 in Boise. Seeley was 91.

Justice Burdick was a young attorney starting out when he met Seeley.

"He was very understated, very dignified, very quiet, very confident. I was more aggressive as a young lawyer and I liked to see him get as much or more than I did with a different style and a different approach," Burdick said.

"As a lawyer growing up at that time in a town the size of Jerome, he really played an important part in the fabric of Idaho. Many new lawyers would do well to aspire to the type of demeanor and confidence of Richard Seeley," Burdick added.

Seeley approached his role as husband and father with equal promise. He eloped to Nampa in 1940 with Victoria Cassels Scott, a schoolteacher from Thatcher. The couple remained secretly married because, at that time, female teachers in Idaho couldn't be married and they needed the money.

That changed in 1941 with the birth of their first daughter, Vickie, followed 10 months later by brother Jim, then Peggy and Don.

"He had a really good sense of humor. One time we were eating at the dinner table and dad was being very quiet. Later, he revealed a tape recorder under some newspapers. He'd recorded our dinner conversation so we could hear how noisy we were. He did a lot of goofy things like that," said daughter Vickie Barlow.

"On the weekends when we would go camping, he would tell us all to load up. Then after everyone was already in the station wagon and ready, we were supposed to honk the horn then he would come out to go," she said.

When Justice Jones was establishing his own law practice in Jerome, Seeley offered advice and guidance. Later, Seeley, Jones and another attorney formed their own law firm.

"He was the epitome of the country lawyer — an unassuming person, very intelligent and reflective, always fair. He did a good job for his clients," Jones said.

"Even though he was living in Boise these past years, he would always go back to Jerome to visit people and keep in touch. He would go out of his way to serve," he said. "Richard was dedicated and not in it for the money, the fame or the glory. He was just a guy who was there to help and do some good."

In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a local resident who has recently died. Contact Boise news assistant Stephanie Eddy at seddy@idahostatesman.com or 377-6481.

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