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Official Obituary of

Stewart T Herrick

July 30, 1945 ~ March 13, 2024 (age 78) 78 Years Old
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Stewart Herrick Obituary

Loved misfits, heavy cream, car washes, his family and anything fried. Never met a vegetable he liked and reserved a special hatred in his heart for hospital food. Fortunately for him, he wasn't able to eat any of it during his final five-day stay in the ICU leading up to his passing at 12:56 pm on March 13th with his wife, daughter and son by his side, all of whom honored his legacy by making middling jokes til the bitter end.

Stewart was born in Mississippi in 1945, grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire and raised his own family in Ashland, Massachusetts. In retirement, he nearly moved to Costa Rica, but, after visiting with the idea of finding a home, decided not to because the country was "too hilly."

He attended Syracuse University and Suffolk University Law School. In between achieving degrees, Stewart avoided being drafted into the Army by instead enlisting in the Navy. Boy, did he fool them. He was soon shipped to Vietnam where he was a Swift Boat Captain navigating the Mekong Delta. During his second tour of duty, Stewart refused to participate any longer on moral grounds. Knowing he was facing a court-martial and jail time for dissent, his men wrote a letter attesting to Stewart's character and honor that was  sent to President Nixon. The letter did the trick as Stewart not only avoided prison, but received an honorable discharge from the Navy. One of countless examples in his life of how Stewart squeezed through a seemingly too-small crack to get to daylight on the other side.

Another such obstacle he spent his life trying to get around, over or through was alcoholism. One could say a lot about Stewart's battles with alcohol over the years, but one couldn't say he ever stopped trying. The man had many false starts, wrong turns and detours, but he always got back on the road to recovery. Stewart had proudly been sober for several years at the time of his passing, and, while it took a bit longer, he also quit smoking at 77 years young. Prior to that, he used those well-worn lungs of his to sing hymns in church with a confidence and volume that would've made Sinatra blush. Stewart eventually left Catholicism in his 40s and instead practiced his own brand of spirituality, which still included praying to God, but did away with the singing. Hallelujah indeed.

A defense and civil rights attorney by trade, Stewart's record in trial decisions was sterling. One of his first cases was the watershed Patty Hearst case. In addition to a murderous intellect and indefatigable work ethic, the man knew how to work a crowd, a courtroom and a jury box. (He decidedly did not know how to work an iPad or email particularly well in his later years, but he made up for that with an extremely fancy coffee machine he used ceaselessly and with deft precision.) In addition to opening his own law firm in middle age, Stewart was offered a professorship at Harvard Law School, which he turned down presumably because Harvard does not have a fuzzy orange for a mascot.

Not many people have both a 33-year marriage and a 23-year one, but Stewart did. The man loved love in all its forms and recognized it as the real nourishment this life has to offer. Next to Slim Jims, Hot Tamales, Twizzlers, MSNBC and lawn care, his second wife Susan was the love of his life. 

The love he had for his children was similarly oceanic. From lightning storm viewing parties in the garage and July 4th fireworks displays for the neighborhood to dancing on the coffee table, snowtube boat rides in the huge puddle under the apple tree and sitting on his lap to help drive home from Mom's Ice Cream, Stewart took pride in being a father and encouraged a certain rebelliousness in his kids. His to-hell-with it commitment to fun embarrassed his kids almost as much as it delighted all his kids' friends. 

Stewart is survived by his wife Susan, sister Lori, his first wife Gretchen and their three children Alisa, Craig and Ashlie, eight grandchildren Ella, David, Grace, Jack, Henry, August, Oliver and Sasha, two step kids Rhys and Devon, and a whole host of addicts in recovery whom he loved dearly and believed in with all his heart. If heaven is, in fact, a real place, Stewart is undoubtedly playing with the three dogs he had over the course of his lifetime and preparing for the joys of becoming a scratch golfer—something that eluded him here on earth. 

Rest in peace, Stewart Thurston Herrick. Drive fast and take chances up there, but don't drink and leave the cigarettes alone, too. Just to be safe.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, May 3rd at 12:00 p.m. at First Church located at 37 High Street, Marlborough, MA, 01752.

Stewart's ashes will be spread off the coast of Rockport, MA.

Please omit flower and tree donations and please consider a donation to the Addiction Referral Center. Click here. Checks may also be mailed to Addiction Referral Center, P.O. Box 225, Marlborough, MA, 01752.

Never give up. Never give in. It's never too late to better yourself and improve your weaknesses. The gifts are worth the work.


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Celebration of Life
May 3, 2024

12:00 PM
First Church (Marlborough)
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