Visionaries: Richard Howey and Raleigh Fleming

Richard Howey and Raleigh Fleming
Richard Howey and Raleigh Fleming

While serving as a journalist in the U.S. Army in the 1940s, Richard Howey met fellow enlisted man Raleigh Fleming.  As fate would have it, for the next six decades they shared a zest for life and a taste for adventure. And after a lifetime together, they would ultimately choose to leave generous legacies to benefit the causes closest to their hearts.  For Richard, it was ending cancer, and for Raleigh, it was HIV research.

Born in 1925 and 1929, respectively, Richard and Raleigh were opposites. Richard was quiet and reserved; Raleigh larger than life. They complemented one another and were seen as a radiant and loving presence in the lives of family and friends.

“My uncle Richard had three sisters and a brother,” said Dr. David Snow, Howey’s nephew and estate executor. “And I know he was really loved, especially by my mother and aunts. They adored both him and Raleigh.”

Richard and Raleigh sought out the road less traveled and moved around to pursue their passions. After leaving the Army, their interests led them to the Hudson Valley where they lived in a house overlooking the river, across the country to San Francisco for a spell, and then to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they spent three decades.

They arrived in San Juan in the early 1960s, uncertain at first about what they were going to do. But they befriended a local locksmith, and ended up buying his shop. Before long they moved into a house up in the mountains.  At the time, it needed some tender loving care with only occasionally working electricity and no phone. But it had a pool with a waterfall, a glassed-in kitchen separated from the house by a breezeway, and a spectacular view overlooking Old San Juan and the ocean.

“Richard and Raleigh will be fondly remembered by their family and friends for the spirited lives they led …”

In the 1990s, they followed Richard’s lifelong passion for horses to horse country near Ocala, Florida. Raising, breeding, and showing horses proved to be a challenge that brought them joy for over a decade before their longing for the mountains took them up to Asheville, North Carolina.

Just three years before Raleigh passed away in 2015, they were finally able to get married after the ban on same-sex marriage was struck down.

After Raleigh’s death, Richard made sure that his husband’s wishes were carried out by directing Raleigh’s legacy gift to help amfAR advance its HIV cure research program. When Richard passed away in 2018, his will included a bequest to the American Cancer Society, his chosen charity.

“Richard and Raleigh will be fondly remembered by their family and friends for the spirited lives they led,” said Kyle Clifford, amfAR’s chief development officer. “Their memory lives on in their thoughtful and generous legacy, which is providing critical support for amfAR’s efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic through innovative research.”

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