John H. Harwood II, 74, of Washington, D.C. died Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, from pancreatic cancer.   

John leaves his wife, Corbin Crews Harwood, formerly of South Boston; a daughter, Clare; a son, Timothy, (wife Laura); and a granddaughter, Emma, all of Washington, D.C. He also leaves a sister, Nancy Smith, of North Falmouth, Massachusetts; and a sister-in-law, Peggy Harwood, of Fairfield, Connecticut.

A brother, Timothy H. Harwood, predeceased John in 2006. 

John lived life purposefully, responsibly, fairly and honestly. He loved his family and friends openly and without reservation. He loved his country far beyond lip service.   

Son of the late Sydney and Janice (Butler) Harwood, John was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, class of 1963, and from Harvard College, class of 1967, cum laude.

John joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1967. As a green second lieutenant, John served as an infantry platoon commander in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. For his 13-month combat tour in the DMZ, he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat V and the Purple Heart for his courageous service. John joined the Marines, not because he supported the war or wanted a military career, but because he thought it unfair that those with privilege could avoid service when others could not. That commitment to social justice defined John’s life. 

Mustering from the Marine Corps, John earned a law degree from Columbia Law School. In 1975, he joined the Washington law firm Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering, now Wilmer-Hale, becoming a partner in 1981 and retiring in 2007.

John and family relocated for three years from Washington to Brussels, Belgium, in 1990 to establish a European Union law and regulation practice for the law firm.

Always sensitive to the sacrifices of military service, John served for 25 years on the board of the National Veterans Legal Services Program, five years as chair. He was instrumental in establishing the Lawyers Serving Warriors program at NVLSP, which has helped tens of thousands of veterans obtain disability benefits to which they were entitled. In 2016, NVLSP honored John with the Sen. Daniel Inouye Award for his leadership.  

Much of John’s heart was in Westport Harbor, Massachusetts, where he was happiest with his family playing good tennis, so-so golf and salty sailing. He revered Buzzards Bay and served on the board of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, working tirelessly to preserve a healthy bay.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at the Washington National Cathedral.

Donations may be made to the National Veterans Legal Services Program https://www.nvlsp.org/contribute/donate-online or to the Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan organization that makes the American political process accessible to all citizens.

Contact JRubenstein@campaignlegalcenter.org.