Richard Junior Courson JD '54

Richard Junior Courson


Richard Junior Courson JD ’54 died February 20, 2018, aged 95.

Richard was born June 26, 1923, to Richard F. and Mary L. Courson. Raised in Portland, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in May 1942, training as a paratrooper and rifleman. Richard engaged in several combat missions in the Central and South Pacific, including the assault on Iwo Jima and the occupation of Japan. He was honorably discharged December 31, 1945, and returned to Oregon, where he became a smoke jumper for the U.S Forest Service for a short period before attending law school. He was admitted to the Oregon State bar in 1954.

Richard married Coralee Jane Waters in Portland in 1955. In 1956, after two years of general practice in Portland, he and his wife moved to Pendleton, Oregon, where he practiced law with Ray Danner. Richard was elected district attorney in 1958 and appointed as a district court judge for Oregon in 1967 by Governor Tom McCall. He served as district court judge for the next 24 years, until his retirement in 1992.

Richard avidly enjoyed outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. He especially liked packing into the high lakes of the Wallowa Mountains and the Seven Devils area in Idaho on horseback with friends. Richard and Bob Herbig were instrumental in reviving the Cowboy Round-Up Mounted Band, now known as the Pendleton Mounted Band, in 1985. It is thought to be the only mounted band in the United States. Under Richard’s leadership, the group performed throughout the Northwest. Later, as a newly elected Pendleton Round-Up director, Richard played a key role in starting the souvenir program for the event.

Richard was preceded in death by his wife and is survived by his children Julie, Richard T., and Jeffrey K., as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.