Local attorney Monahan dies

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WALLA WALLA -- Longtime local attorney, civic leader and nationally recognized horse-racing promoter R.F. "Dick" Monahan has died.

Monahan, 69, had been diagnosed recently with leukemia and pancreatic cancer, and died Saturday at his home at 1015 Bryant Ave. Services are pending at the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home.

Monahan and his wife, Brenda, raised and raced quarter horses at Spring Creek Farms for more than 30 years. He had served 20 years as a Washington director for the American Quarter Horse Association, became a director at large and served on various committees, according to the AQHA Web site.

He was second vice president of the AQHA at the time of his death.

"He was really excited he was going to run that organization in a couple of years," said former partner Dan Roach, a local attorney who worked with Monahan for 25 years.

Monahan had a long and close association with the YMCA and was an avid booster of sports programs at Walla Walla High School. He was recognized this year by Walla Walla Public Schools as a graduate of distinction.

He also had served as racing director for the Walla Walla Frontier Days.

Monahan graduated from Wa-Hi in 1958, then received a bachelor's degree from the University of Idaho and graduated from its law school.

He started his legal career around 1968 at Minnick Hayner. In the mid-1970s, he joined with lawyers Bill Roach and Jerry Votendahl in a firm that evolved to become Roach & Monahan in the early 1990s. Several years later, daughter Bridie Monahan Hood joined the practice. The firm became known as Monahan-Hood last April.

Monahan was considered a gracious and effective attorney with a wide-ranging civil practice.

"He was a great joy to practice with," Roach said today. "The best thing I ever learned from him was his approach to people."

Roach explained that Monahan could formulate clear, understandable, persuasive arguments. "He commanded a lot of respect," Roach said.

Monahan's other daughter, Casey Monahan, said this morning, "Family was really important to my dad. He was very involved in the lives of his grandchildren."

She added he also was very close to his brother, Mike, who carries on the family interest in the YMCA as the current president of its board of directors.

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