Will Richardson passed away surrounded by loved ones on Oct. 19, 2018.
He was born in Ottawa, Kansas, in 1930, the son of Hazen and Nita Richardson. After high school, he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated with a degree in engineering and was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1953. He had a distinguished Air Force career, flying over 250 combat missions in Vietnam as a navigator in the B-57 fighter-bomber. His military career included tours of duty as a strategic planner and educator, with tours at the pentagon and on the faculty of the Air War College.
He had an MBA from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree from George Washington University. His military awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit. After retiring from the Air Force as a Colonel in 1980, he taught Management at the University of Texas and was a management consultant in Austin, Texas. Will was an active volunteer in the community and was instrumental in successful efforts to enhance the availability and accessibility of public libraries in the state of Texas.
He married Jean Stith, also from Ottawa, Kansas, in 1953, and for 62 years they were together before Jean’s passing in 2016. They spent their time traveling the world and enjoying a full life. They spent much of their retired life in Austin, Texas before moving to Charlottesville, Virginia in 2014. They raised two children: David Richardson of Charlottesville, Virginia, married to the former Victoria Takara; and Linda Richardson Smith of Huntsville, Texas, married to Brian Smith. Will has five grandchildren: Emma, Claire and Rose Richardson; and Riley and Murphy Smith.
Will was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. His impact on the lives of many will be long remembered. He was a life-long member of the United Methodist Church. He applied his talents to help others as a Stephen Minister and through the Kairos Prison Ministry. He was loved and admired; his impact has been significant and enduring. His was a life well lived. He will be missed.