Obituary: Richard Burr Tweedy Jr.

Darien native, former U.S. staff attorney

Darien native Richard Burr Tweedy Jr., known by family and friends as “Burr,” died Tuesday, November 4, after a three-year battle with lung cancer. Mr. Tweedy, 62, was surrounded by family and friends when he died from complications following surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Born on April 21, 1952, at Stamford Hospital, he was the son of the late Richard and Louise Tweedy. He attended Darien schools and Phillips Andover Academy before graduating from Yale in 1974. He graduated from Boston University Law School in 1978, and worked for most of his career as a Staff Attorney for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston.

Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Tweedy clerked for the Massachusetts Superior Court, where he worked for Judge David Nelson. When Nelson became the first African-American to be appointed a judge to the Massachusetts United States District Court, in 1979, he hired Mr. Tweedy to be his law clerk.  Mr. Tweedy later clerked for Judge Stephen Breyer, who went on to become a Justice on the United States Supreme Court, and for Judge Hugh H. Bownes, both of whom were judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

In 1989, Mr. Tweedy began work as a Staff Attorney with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, where he worked for more than 25 years, until the time of his death.  He was praised by current Chief Judge Sandra Lynch, “It was a privilege to work with him . . . Burr represented values we hold dear: excellent work, consistently good judgment, diligence, decency and humanity.”  Mr. Tweedy received the highest praises from those with whom he worked, “not only for brilliant legal analysis, persuasive reasoning, and clarity of writing, but also for his kindness, charm, and unfailing grace and sense of humor,” said Senior Staff Attorney Kathy Lanza.

He was a loving uncle and brother, and a keen intellect. He had a gift of interpersonal connection and charm that attracted scores of friends. A selfless individual, he was a pied piper when it came to the younger generation, whom he taught card games, crossword puzzle tactics and, being a stickler for grammar, the finer points of speech, but always with a sense of humor.

Mr. Tweedy is survived by his brothers, David Tweedy and wife Ellie of Brooklyn, NY, and Jim Tweedy and wife Meg of Darien, CT; his stepmother, Joan Tweedy of Darien; stepbrothers, Philip Livingston and wife Lucy Hann of New York City, and Chico Livingston and wife Lynne of Portland, Oregon; stepsisters, Patty Livingston and husband Tom Gottsleben of Saugerties, NY, and Millie Livingston of Seattle; two nieces, two nephews and nine step-nieces and -nephews. Besides his parents, his wife, Robin Kilson Tweedy, and his brother Jon predeceased him.

A memorial will be held in January. For more information, e-mail [email protected] Donations in Mr. Tweedy’s name can be made to Discovering Justice, a nonprofit organization that teaches children, especially those in underserved communities, to use their voices to advocate for themselves and others through learning about democratic values, history, justice and civic responsibility. It offers programs in elementary and middle schools and courthouses throughout Boston. To donate in honor of Mr. Tweedy, visit Discoveringjustice.org.

-By The Family

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