George Richards remembered

Published 9:11 pm Thursday, February 22, 2018

Suffolk lost part of its family on Tuesday with the passing of George Richards Sr., but his memory will live on through the lives of his family.

Richards learned from his father, James Richards, to be an engaged parent no matter the circumstances. James Richards was a single parent after his wife, Anne, passed away during childbirth. James made sure he raised children that were educated and devoted to their faith.

George Richards was no exception, and his family remembered it on Thursday.

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“He was engaged in my life, and he didn’t send me anywhere,” said his daughter, Dolly Richards Bowden. “He was the parent that came to school conferences, and he was the parent at the games. He was always there sitting in the stands.”

“My sister and I grew up in what I described as a no-drama household,” said his son, George Richards Jr. “He had certain expectations of my sister and I, that we would go to and finish college, and he also encouraged us to be active and involved in our church and community. He set a fine example for us.”

Richards was an active citizen in the community. He spent 25 years on the Suffolk Planning Commission, served as a board member of the Suffolk Chapter of the American Cancer Society, served as president of the Tidewater Fair and was a lifetime member of the NAACP.

But his family could never tell what a busy man he was, because he made time for them.

“It didn’t affect our family time, and he was always there for dinner,” Bowden said. “If he had a meeting to go to or function to attend, he made sure it didn’t disrupt the family. He put us first. I don’t know how he juggled it, but he always made it work.”

The involvement continued into the lives of his grandchildren as they got older. Richards regularly attended their sports games.

“My brother and I all participated in sports and plays, and he was always at every single game. He drove down every weekend, whether we played or not. If we were in uniform he was there,” said his granddaughter, Deanna Richards Lipscombe.

Richards was dedicated to being active in his family’s lives. He would regularly pray with them, provide guidance when they needed and teach them to be kind to others. Those he left behind try to emulate that behavior.

“He was the type of man that loves his family and cared about his friends. He wanted to help people. He would give away his last dollar,” said his grandson, Del Lipscombe.

Throughout his life, Richards was a humble and gentle man. There was never a moment where he raised his voice at his children growing up, and he made sure his children grew up with those same values.

“He was so very humble and appreciated things. He instilled that in my brother and me,” said Bowden.

Jimmy Bowden, Richards’ son-in-law, appreciated the love he had for his family and the wisdom he had to offer.

“He was really more than father-in-law, and he was like my father. He shared so much wisdom with me about family and spirituality. He impressed me so much as I got to know him more,” Jimmy said.

Richards will be missed not only by his family but by the community. He was referred to as “Uncle George” by many.

“He was the wise voice in every room he walked in. He could provide guidance for any kind of situation,” said his grandson, George Richards III.