Richard R. Garland, 52, of Sarasota died March 7, 2011, after a short battle with cancer. Born in LaSalle, IL, Aug. 20, 1958, to Roger and Irene Garland, Richard resided in Sarasota County since 1960. Always an excellent student, Richard was the valedictorian of the class of 1976 from Venice High School. Richard completed his undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida summa cum laude in 1979 and received his Juris Doctor with honors from the University of Florida in 1982. While in law school, Richard was an instructor and supervisor of the appellate advocacy program, and after passing the Florida Bar exam with a high score, was a reader for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners for several years. He was a partner at Dickinson & Gibbons, P.A., law firm, having joined the firm in 1982, where he remained his entire legal career of 29 years.Richard was a Florida Bar Board Certified Appellate Lawyer, and maintained an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Richard was admitted to practice in all Florida courts, many federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. He was listed as a member of the Florida Bar, the American Bar, Super Lawyers and named as Leading American Attorneys. He was a past president of the Sarasota County Bar Association, and was still active in its appellate practice section, diversity committee and bylaws committee. He was a master and past president of the Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court, where he served on the Inn’s executive committee as Historian.
Richard received both the Sarasota County Bar Association’s C.L. McKaig Award for distinguished service to the association and the Judge John M. Scheb Professionalism Award for his dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law. He was author of various legal articles and he has also written humorous articles for local publications like the SCBA Docket and Sarasota Magazine. He was a frequent lecturer on legal topics to local organizations and led seminars on appellate practice and ethics at Stetson University College of Law. He served on the Sarasota County Library Advisory Board, as an officer and director of the Sarasota County Gator Club, on the parish council of his church, and as a coach for youth soccer.
He loved astronomy, books, movies, music and had a life-long love of learning. Richard also loved to laugh and to make people laugh and this is what many of his friends will remember most about him. Richard wrote jokes for roasts of public and private officials and colleagues. Richard was also a charming conversationalist who could light up a room with conviviality and laughter with his observations and banter.
Richard was a long standing member of the Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Committee and was instrumental in creating the agreement with the Community Foundation for the Diversity Scholarship Fund which has raised $40,000 since the program started.