Richard A. “Dick” Stark
Richard A. “Dick” Stark, 94, passed away peacefully at home on October 6, 2015 after a longstanding ailment that never kept him from actively pursuing his philanthropic activities in the community he so loved. He is survived by his second wife, Diana Dee Stark, whom he wed on April 13, 2013, and whose love and care immeasurably brightened his later years.
Dick is predeceased by his first wife, the former Barbara Jones, his high school sweetheart, who passed away on September 12, 2011. They had celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary on February 5, 2011.
Dick was born in Ann Harbor, Michigan on April 6, 1921, the son of Judson L. Stark and the former Evelyn Genevieve Briley, but grew up in Indianapolis. He graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in 1943, served in the US Navy as Lt (jg) in 1943-1946, graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1947 and from Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington, Indiana in 1948 receiving the honorary Order of the Coif for highest scholarship.
He began the practice of law in 1948 with the New York law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and served on its top management board for more than 25 years. His specialty was securities, corporate and banking law. During his 42 year career he represented many large corporations, investment banks, insurance companies, and commercial banks (notably The Chase Manhattan Bank). From 1978 to 2011 he was a trustee of several trusts for Rockefeller great grandchildren.
Dick and Barbara lived in Garden City and then Centre Island (Oyster Bay) on Long Island, New York for 38 years prior to Dick’s retirement in 1990. Dick’s principal hobby for many years was power boating on Long Island Sound. He was also a disciplined swimmer, swimming daily for 50 years until 2 weeks before he passed.
After retiring from his law firm in 1990, Dick and Barbara became residents of John’s Island, Vero Beach, Florida. He served as president of the John’s Island Property Owners Association in 1995-1997. He was Chairman of the Vero Beach Museum of Art during its $6,000,000 renovation and expansion program in 1998-2000. He also served for many years on the Board of The Riverside Theatre. Since 1980 Dick was a Vice President of The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation which, together with the Dorothea Leonhardt Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas, has provided substantial financial support for the Vero Beach Museum of Art, including construction of the Leonhardt Auditorium and the Stark Galleries, and the Riverside Theatre, including the construction of the Leonhardt Administration Wing and Stark Main Stage. Dick also served on non-profit community Boards including Camp Haven and the Vero Beach Opera. He was the Chairman Emeritus of the Cultural Council of Indian River County and the annual presenter of the Richard A. Stark Award for Cultural Leadership for Indian River County.
In 1999 Dick was instrumental in the establishment of the Indian River County Task Force on the Homeless. From this developed the Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council of which he became Chairman. The Council successfully sought Federal and State grants for local projects for the homeless and indigent amounting to some $30,000,000 over the last 15 years and became a major force in the service of the homeless and indigent on the Treasure Coast.
On September 11, 2001, while Dick was in New York on business, he narrowly escaped the collapse of the Marriott Hotel when the adjacent World Trade Center Towers fell. His life was saved by a New York City Firefighter whom Dick later identified as Angel Rivera and with whom he maintained contact until Angel’s death in 2015.
Dick is also survived by five children, Susan S. Woglom of Northampton, MA, a social worker, lawyer and retired adoption agency executive; Margaret Stark of Westlake Village, CA a forensic accountant, CPA, and financial planner; Sarah S. Oldham of Rowayton, CT, a divorce lawyer and founding partner in the Westport, CT, firm of Rutkin Oldham & Griffin; Barbara S. Baxter, MD of Dallas, TX, an allergist and Clinical Associate Professor at UT Southwestern; and Richard J. Stark of New York City, a lawyer and partner in the New York City law firm of Cravath Swain & Moore. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren and 11 soon to be 12 great grandchildren. Dick is survived by a sister, Margaret S. Brown, a retired school teacher, of Plantation, FL. Dick also had 6 step-children and 13 step-grandchildren with his second wife Diana.
A Celebration of His Life will be held at the Community Church of Vero Beach at 3:00 PM on November 14, 2015.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council 2525 St. Lucie Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32960 or to The Riverside Theatre, 1250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963.