Richard Wyatt ‘Dick’ Cardwell (1933–2020)

Oct 1, 2020


Richard "Dick" Wyatt Cardwell — loving husband, father, son, brother, honored statesman, staunch defender of freedom of the press, writer, poet and friend to everyone he met — died peacefully, surrounded by family members, on Sept. 1, 2020, at the age of 86 due to natural causes.

Dick led an extraordinary and blessed life. Born on September 29, 1933, in Clarksburg, West Virginia, to John and Mildred Cardwell, Dick grew up in Kokomo, Indiana, in a loving family with his older brother John Cardwell.

Dick met Marcia Huston in middle school, beginning a life-long relationship that lasted more than 70 years, including 63 years of marriage. He told the family the first time he saw Marcia, he thought to himself, “I'm done,” and introduced himself to her immediately. Dick and Marcia had four children, 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Their most cherished times were with family, and their proudest accomplishment was how much love and respect each family member genuinely had for one another. When asked to sum up his life in one word a few years ago, Dick said, “I'd have to say the word ‘EASY.’ Marcia made everything so easy for me.”

Dick graduated from Kokomo High School in 1951. He attended Indiana University, where he was a three-sport varsity athlete and a letter-winner in golf, as well as a member of Sigma Pi, the IU Student Foundation, and the Union Board.

After graduating from IU with a double major in journalism and government in 1955 and from Indiana University School of Law with a doctorate in jurisprudence in 1958, Dick combined his love of journalism and the First Amendment by defending newspapers and freedom of the press as the general counsel and executive director of the Indiana State Press Association for more than 35 years.

Dick's distinguished career included serving as chair of the board of publications of Indiana University and on the committee on public notice advertising for the National Newspaper Association. He was the primary author of the Indiana Open Door Law and Access to Public Records Act, and he represented the newspaper industry before the Indiana General Assembly on First Amendment causes throughout much of his career. He also served as a member of the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on Character and Fitness 1974-1982 and 1990-1998.

In 1980, Dick was awarded “The Sagamore of the Wabash” by the Governor of Indiana, the highest honor bestowed on a citizen of the state, “distinguished for his humanity in living, his loyalty in friendship, his wisdom in council, and his inspiration in leadership.”

In 1982, Dick was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Here's an excerpt from that announcement:

"As general counsel of the Hoosier State Press Association since 1961, Richard Cardwell has the job of attending to legal concerns of interest to the association. He has gone far beyond the mere perfunctory performance of his duties, however; because of his interest in journalism and his demonstrated awareness of the role that freedom of the press plays in our political system, he has become not only the leading spokesman for journalism in Indiana but a state and national leader involved in various aspects of journalism, as well.

His accomplishments included:

•Member of the advisory council of the Freedom of Information Center at Columbia, Missouri, and president of the Freedom of Information Foundation

•President of Newspaper Association Managers

•Chairman of the board of publications of Indiana University

•Chairman of the committee on public notice advertising of the National Newspaper Association

•Instructor on law of the press at Butler University and on communications law; on law for laymen and on the criminal justice system and the media at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis

•Columnist on the legal aspects of publication for the National Publisher Magazine

•A witness many times before congressional committees on matters relating to copyright revision, taxation and freedom of the press

•The chief spokesman for Indiana journalism at the Indiana General Assembly and primary author of bills advancing the cause of journalism, including the Open Door Law and the law requiring formal hearings judges before the public, including the press, can be excluded from courtrooms.

A witty and accomplished writer, Dick wrote weekly columns for newspapers and published "The Indiana Publisher" newspaper for many years. His writings and stories were eventually printed in book form by his family with the title “Forever Hoosier.” He wrote poetry, love letters and notes to friends and loved ones that will always be cherished.

Dick is survived by his brother, John (Pat) Cardwell, and children, Jeff Cardwell, David (Linda) Cardwell, Joel (Tammy) Cardwell and Julie (George) Kitcoff. He will also be lovingly remembered by his grandchildren, Rick (Rachel) Cardwell, Billy (Alli) Cardwell, Christine (Jon Gillam) Cardwell, Becca (Andy) Heath, Jennifer (Brian) Karsbaek, Jillian (Derek) Scholten, Bryon Stone, Elizabeth Cardwell, Sarah (Oakes) Bourne, Nicholas (Samantha) Kitcoff, and Grant (Dani) Kitcoff, as well as his great-grandchildren, Evan Cardwell, Kyle Cardwell, Cole Cardwell, Aurora Cardwell, Gavyn Cardwell, Daniel Karsbaek, Margaret Karsbaek, Elizabeth Karsbaek, Carson Bourne, Ella Bourne and Cora Kitcoff.

He is preceded in death by his love, Marcia Cardwell, and they will finally be reunited in heaven, just as he wrote to her after she passed away, "So good night for now, Marcia, my beautiful friend, until we stroll together again in heaven, where time has no end."

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Dick's name to the Indiana Golf Association Foundation's Youth Partner Program to support junior golf.