With utmost sadness we inform you of the passing of our beloved friend, mentor, and past president Howard Twiggs. Howard passed away this morning in Raleigh, NC. Our AAJ hearts are breaking.
A lawyer’s lawyer, a legislator’s legislator, a leader of leaders, we mourn the passing of a seeker of justice and one of the world’s sweetest people. Howard’s joy of life infected everyone he ever met. He made us better because he believed we could be better. Howard’s passion for service and his absolute commitment to the justice system had no rival.
Howard served the people and the law. He served as President of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (now American Association for Justice) in 1996–97, and served as President of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (now North Carolina Advocates for Justice), where he was a member of the Board of Directors for 34 years. He was a director of Roscoe Pound Civil Justice Institute in Washington, D.C. for 20 years and served as president for two years. Howard began his practice in his hometown of Raleigh in 1957, establishing his own firm, now Twiggs, Beskind, Strickland & Rabenau, P.A., in 1960.
In the North Carolina legislature Howard was a champion of persons whose voices often are not heard. His major legislative accomplishments included improving protection for the disabled and injured citizens of North Carolina, rewriting the laws relating to mental health, and, in 1969, removing all references to race from state laws. He served in the North Carolina House of Representatives from 1966 to 1974, serving as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in 1973–74. During his time as chair of the State Building Code Committee, the North Carolina Building Code was rewritten, making buildings, sidewalks, vehicular parking, and other areas accessible to the handicapped.
Howard's love for his alma mater continued to play an important role in his life. He served as the past president of the Wake Forest University Law Alumni Association and as chairperson of the law school's Board of Visitors. His service to the University as a whole was recognized when, in 2002, he received the Wake Forest University Distinguished Alumni Award.
Howard received the three highest awards of the American Association for Justice, only the second AAJ member to receive all three: the Leonard Ring Champion of Justice Award (2001), the Harry Philo Award for commitment to individual rights and leadership in the pursuit of justice (2000), and the David Shrager President's Award for visionary leadership, support, and service to the cause of justice (2008).
Howard is unforgettable, and will be greatly missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family during this sad time.