Richard "Dick" Walraven, a man who emboldened the development of Yavapai College with his commitment and inspiration, died Dec. 29, 2012, at the age of 78.
Prescott residents commenting on Walraven's death heaped accolades on their friend, whether they knew him as a fellow lawyer or in the relationship they shared in giving root to the seeds he helped plant for Yavapai College to become the educational institution it is today.
Walraven was born March 5, 1934, in Lerado, Kan., and grew up in Turon, Kan. He received both his bachelor of business administration degree and juris doctor from Washburn University in Topeka.
Fresh out of law school, he accepted a position with a Prescott law firm and was admitted to the state bar of Arizona in 1960.
His professional integrity won the respect of the legal community, including retired Yavapai County Superior Court Judge James Hancock, who practiced with Walraven in the late 1960s.
"He was a fine lawyer. He was honest and ethical. When I was a judge, he practiced law in my court. I always enjoyed having him," Hancock said, adding he still keeps on his desk a bone and steel letter opener, probably 9 inches long, that Walraven gave him in 1968 or 1969. "I've used it all these years. I am deeply saddened by his passing."
Paul Roberts joined Walraven's law practice in 1980 and became a partner in 1984.
"Richard Walraven practiced law with integrity and compassion," Roberts said of his former partner. "He was devoted to his community and loved Prescott and Yavapai County."
Walraven served on the Prescott City Council from 1964 to 1968, and current Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said of him, "He was a great human being, a man of integrity and a lot of fun. He was instrumental in the development of Yavapai College."
An award dated 1975 that hangs on the wall of his Prescott home office attests to this fact. The plaque recognizes him for his "distinguished service as a member of the Board of Governors of Yavapai College" from 1967 to 1975. These were the college's formative years, from winning voter approval for a county-wide college district and a $2.5 bond issue to opening its doors in temporary quarters in 1969 and dedicating original buildings of its permanent facility in 1970.
Building 2 was originally christened the Walraven Gymnasium due to his efforts in getting the college's athletic programs off the ground.
Dave Brown, now director of the Northern Arizona University Skydome, elaborates on what Walraven's wife, Karlee (Kay), said - that he traveled extensively, researching how to get a college started.
"He did the leg work," she said.
Brown was one of the founding faculty hired to start Yavapai College. He wore three hats - athletic director, basketball coach and department chair of physical education, he said.
"Dick and I hit it off from the beginning. He had a great love of sports. He helped with recruiting, but he was there for all the programs," Brown said. "He was always there when we needed somebody. His legacy will live a long time, that's for sure. He touched so many people with his care."
Jill Hale was a long-time employee in Walraven's firm and recalls that he gave her her first job and the opportunity to grow in the legal field, all the way to becoming a paralegal.
"A lot of bosses aren't that way," Hale said. "He was a father figure and a mentor."
In addition to his wife, Karlee, Walraven is survived by his daughters Tamra Kyle and Christy Leach, both of Whitesboro, Texas, two grandsons and two granddaughters.
Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Article comment by:
I know this is late, but I just found this. I wondered about him and did a search. I live in Prescott now and wanted to look him up and say hello.
My mother, Janie Helm, was Mr. Walraven's paralegal in his Cottonwood office (and Prescott for a short time) for many years.
He was always nice and, as I recall, he was a good boss to mom.
My condolences, although late, to the family.
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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I was saddened to hear of Richard Walravens' passing. He was a good personal friend. Prescott was honored to have him serve in numerous organizations and hold leadership roles in education, government and service organizations. I knew him best when I was an employee at Yavapai College where he was always considered a friend of the college as well as a strong representative of the community. I am honored to call Dick Walraven my friend. Thanks, Dick, for all the good things you have done for people.
Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
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Dick was a man of many talents, always upbeat and positive, knowledgeable, with good advice, and ready to serve his fellowman.
He was a loyal friend and made himself available when asked for help.
He loved tennis and was good at it - as was/is his lovely wife Kay.
Even after he got sick, he still loved the tennis and was always happy in that endeavor.
Our community and his friends will miss the opportunity to be a part of his life - but will forever have the best of him in our hearts.
Our thoughts and prayers for Kay and the Walraven family.