Richard Gaines

Profile Updated: September 12, 2020
Residing In: Estero, FL USA
Spouse/Partner: Bobbie
Occupation: attorney
Children: John, married with one girl (2003) and one boy (2006), living in Cincinnati, and Katie, married, with More…two daughters (2006 and 2009), living in Chicago. Everyone employed (as of 11/16/2011) with no felony convictions, plans to run for public office, or other severe character defects.
Military Service: Army  
Yes! Attending Reunion

(added April 2013) Dear Friends,

I am very sorry to advise you that my wife of nearly 46 years left us on Saturday, April 20, 2013. Our son John and daughter Katie were here and she died peacefully in our arms at home. Bobbie had breast cancer in 1999 and again in 2009. In 2011, she was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, which is unrelated to her breast cancers and quite rare. It was treated with the surgical implantation of a radioactive seed and the tumor continued to shrink thereafter, but it was discovered that it had metastasized to her liver about 3 1/2 weeks ago and it progressed far more rapidly than the doctors anticipated.

I was unable to access our class website (undoubtedly due to a congenital technological disability) and would appreciate it if you would spread the word to others in our class. I do not expect anyone to attend but we will have an open house type celebration of her life this Sunday, 2-5pm, at the Rockford Country Club.

I have not yet been able to come to grips with the thought of life without her, but we have 2 wonderful children, with loving spouses, and 4 fabulous grandchildren (all "above average", in the Lake Wobegon sense). Bobbie's health the past 15 years has limited our traveling and at least I will be able to spend considerable time with the kids and grandkids in Evanston and Cincinnati. I'm sure I will go to Las Vegas frequently and I will check out Florida, where we have many friends, but none of that is of any interest at this point. I am semi-retired, which means that I go to the office when I feel like it, and do little actual work.

I hope that all of you and your families are well, and that we are able to get together from time to time. Our class was filled with exceptional people, in the Watseka sense.


(in 2011) I have been married to Barbara (Bobbie) for 44 years and we have less than 6 years to go in our trial marriage. I'm inclined to renew the contract, at least on a year to year basis. Bobbie, however, still has most of her marbles and may have other plans.

We have two children - John is 43 and in the wholesale meat business.
Kate is 39 and works for the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in Chicago.

I obtained a BA from DePauw U in Greencastle, In (1966, Bobbie is a 67 grad), and a JD from the U of Illinois College of Law (69). I then served in the US Army as a junior officer, including a year with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.

Although I was an artillery officer, rather than a JAG officer (because I did not want to spend 4 years), I was also a licensed attorney and spent most of the year trying Courts-Martial as the prosecutor for the 3rd Brigade of the 101st. I was very fortunate and tried over 100 cases, which was excellent experience, without having to spend any nights in the field.

I have been with the Holmstrom and Kennedy Law Firm in Rockford since 1971. I specialized in the defense of doctors and hospitals in medical malpractice cases until deciding to give up major case litigation this year (2011). I still do some mentoring of the younger lawyers in the firm, stick my fingers in an occasional interesting case, and serve as a mediator and as an arbitrator, working part time.

I am past president of Rockford Public Library Board, the IL State Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, my Law School class and the Winnebago County Bar Association.

I particularly enjoy golf, reading, arguing politics, and playing poker. I was elected a Fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers and have received other professional recognition, largely undeserved, so I won't bore you with it.

My brothers - John, David and their families, still live in Watseka. My parents passed away in Watseka, dad Virgil in 2004, at age 85, and mom Evelyn in 2010, at age 90.

Sister Sallie recently moved from Chicago to Minneapolis with her husband because of a job offer she could not refuse. Sister Barbara and husband just moved to Vermont to be closer to her daughters and grandchildren.

My health is excellent, despite a lifetime of abuse, particularly since I got new wheels. I had both knees replaced at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago in 2009 and have been walking the golf course, pain free, for the first time in 20 years.

Unfortunately Bobbie has not been so fortunate and has struggled with cancer, spine, and serious vision issues over the past 15 years. Hopefully she is cancer free at this time and the other issues will stabalize.

I see Karl Winkler, WCHS 64 and also a Rockford lawyer, from time to time. I recently had the pleasure of hearing our classmate, retired federal judge Vaughn Walker, give an excellent speech at the U of I Law School and had the opportunity to catch up with Vaughn and his older sister at dinner afterwards.

I look forward to seeing as many of my classmates as possible at the Reunion next summer and thank Vince and the others who are doing the legwork.

School Story:

I'm not sure what is wanted here. My grades were unexceptional and most of my "accomplishments" were outside the classroom.

We were all fortunate, perhaps me more than most, to grow up in a small town in the 50s and early 60s, where, rather than going into the juvenile court system, the usual course for minor offenses was to be turned over to your father. (It didn't seem fortunate at the time.)

Painting the watertower with Vince and Vaughn (Jack was the getaway driver) comes to mind, as well as a couple of "busts" for minor drinking, and illegal fireworks, and a fun football season senior year, at least until being carried off the field and having knee surgery.

Arguing politics with Vaughn was a hoot, made even more so by the fact that we have somewhat switched sides since then. And Vince's ability to, and interest in, fixing things is still a mystery to me. And the wonderful girls in our class, starting with Ruth and Maureen, but so many more!

There are some fond memories, but not 8000 characters worth, or at least not that many stories that I'm willing to reduce to writing.

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Richard Gaines has a birthday today.
Jul 15, 2023 at 3:33 AM
Richard Gaines has a birthday today.
Jul 15, 2022 at 3:33 AM
Richard Gaines posted a message.
Jul 15, 2021 at 8:45 AM

Thank you one and all! The celebration started last night when FOUR of us who share the same birthday hoisted a toast at 12:01am at my fav gin mill. More to follow tonight.

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Jul 19, 2021 at 8:45 AM

Posted on: Jul 15, 2021 at 3:33 AM

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Mar 11, 2021 at 10:41 AM
Richard Gaines has a birthday today.
Jul 15, 2020 at 3:33 AM
Richard Gaines has a birthday today.
Jul 15, 2019 at 3:33 AM
Richard Gaines has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jul 15, 2018 at 6:06 PM

Posted on: Jul 15, 2018 at 3:33 AM

Richard Gaines has a birthday today.
Jul 15, 2017 at 3:33 AM
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Jun 11, 2017 at 3:27 PM

Posted on: Jun 09, 2017 at 11:01 AM

Happy birthday, dear friend! I'll join you in the post 72 era shortly, but most of the time I don't feel a day over 71. Give my best to Rog and I'll cya in October.

Richard Gaines has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jul 15, 2016 at 7:08 AM

Posted on: Jul 15, 2016 at 3:33 AM

Richard Gaines posted a message.
Jun 12, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Maureen, congratulations, I hope that you and Rog are well and look forward to seeing you in the Fall. I'm just back from my 50th class reunion at DePauw. More people showed than I expected and it was a good time, but it's good to be home.

Richard Gaines posted a message. New comment added.
Nov 16, 2015 at 2:35 PM

Posted on: Nov 16, 2015 at 8:03 AM

Happy birthday Ruth, and best wishes to your father. Your parents were at the top of my "most admired" list and your dad was my teacher and coach, fulfilling a slightly different role when we were dating. It was on the golf course where I felt that I got to know him more as a real person. The advantage to commenting late is that you get to read the comments of your classmates. My most vivid memory of "Our Town" is the discomfort that I felt in kissing on stage. Had nothing to do with Beth but caused me to strike "star of screen and stage" from my possible list. Alas, Medal of Honor winner, professional athlete, and US President soon followed, although felon was a viable contender for several years. I'm back in Florida for the Winter and hope to get together with Maureen and Roger soon. Best wishes from an old friend and admirer. Rich

Richard Gaines has a birthday today.
Jul 15, 2015 at 3:34 AM
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Jul 10, 2015 at 11:21 AM

Posted on: Jul 09, 2015 at 10:57 AM

Still can't figure out this website. Thanks to Norma and Maureen for the birthday greetings. I don't feel (almost) 71 and assume that the older looking, white haired gentleman who stares back at me in the mirror is simply a product of my fading eyesight.