The siblings of the Salt Lake City lawyer who passed away a year ago have painted the Highland High School H Rock with the Roman numeral ‘III” to honor their late brother, John Richards III, according to friends who contacted The Salt Lake Tribune.
The H Rock — a large boulder that overlooks the Salt Lake Valley and is often decorated with an “H” in school spirit — was painted in a white ‘III’ over the weekend.
A friend of Richards passed along a message from his father who noted Richards’ siblings painted the rock to mark the one-year anniversary of his passing. Richards was student body president at Highland High School and graduated in 1988.
Richards, according to an obituary, died unexpectedly on Aug. 11, 2021, and was a graduate of Highland High School.
“John could find joy even in life’s most challenging times, and he could make an ordinary moment become a unique adventure,” the obituary says Richards.
He was the founder Richards Law, a Salt Lake City-based real estate firm.
“His infectious personality, relentless enthusiasm,and welcoming presence will be sorely missed,” the firm wrote on their founding attorney.
H Rock, and the area around it, are owned and managed by the Salt Lake City Public Lands Department. They did not respond to a request for comment about the rock being painted.
The H Rock has sometimes been painted to show signs other than Highland High School’s “H.” During the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, the rock read “I can’t breathe,” a reference to George Floyd. The rock has also been changed in recent years to a peace symbol and a pro-marijuana message.
Correction • The Salt Lake Tribune reported in an earlier version of this story that it appeared H Rock has been painted with the logo of the anti-government militia the Three Percenters. This story was changed after hearing from friends of Richards.