Yale '62 - Obituaries - Hugh H. Redford

Hugh H. Redford

Born: August 7, 1940
Died: April 10,1973

Hugh Redford was born in Cedar City, Utah but moved with his family to Seattle, Washington. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Seattle and was a member of Saybrook College as an undergraduate. A Political Science major, Hugh was a Ranking Scholar, on the Dean's List and a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Dramat, the Political Union, the John Dewey Society and the Saybrook Social Committee and Debate Club. Following graduation he attended Yale Law School, where he obtained his J.D. Degree in 1965.

After graduation from law school, Hugh moved to San Francisco and began an active law practice which lasted until his death. He was a member of various law firms and at the time of his death at the age of 32 on April 10, 1973, he was a senior partner in his firm and specialized in litigation and commercial law.

Hugh was quite active in the legal community in San Francisco. He was Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the State Bar in San Francisco and of the Host Committee of Young Lawyers Section for the American Bar Association Convention in 1972. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bar Association and Chairman of the Lawyers Referral Committee. He was also Secretary and Director of the San Francisco Barristers Club.

Hugh was briefly married to the former Janet Neath, a graduate of Southern Methodist University. They had no children. At the time of his death, Hugh resided in Sausalito. His family requested that contributions be made to Yale in his memory.

All those who knew him for his boundless energy and for his mischievous enthusiasm and eagerness to test the limits of legal thinking, regretted the void created by his untimely death. The San Francisco Bar, as noted in comments made at the time in the local newspapers, lost a dynamic and creative leader.

Classmate Scott Barksdale, who then lived in San Francisco and was friendly with Hugh, has provided this postscript from the perspective of almost two decades:

"A mutual friend suggested burial in the Bay, a suggestion I immediately embraced. We convened with several friends on my boat about sunset and sailed into the middle of San Francisco Bay where we had a simple ceremony and committed his ashes to the waters. The news had hit us all hard. Each said a few words of remembrance. We then turned and sailed back to the St. Francis Yacht Club in darkness and in silence, which then and now, seemed very appropriate. It was a difficult and emotional time, compounded by the fact that such burials were not legal. But it was a beautiful sunset and I somehow knew Hugh would have approved. This was our first experience with a friend who had chosen to end his own life. Hugh seemed on the rise professionally and was well regarded. With his bold and outgoing personality, he never hesitated to stride into the middle of anything that looked remotely interesting and if he could stir things up, he did - relishing every minute. It was a very dark moment for us to grasp that he chose death as the way of dealing with personal pain. It seemed so out of character and committing his ashes to the Bay so very final and surreal."