Mr. Richards died Monday at Community Memorial Hospital in Cheboyan, Mich. He and his wife Mary had been spending the summer at the family's vacation home at Mullett Lake, Indian River, Mich., when he suffered a massive heart attack. He was 69.
Dick Richards was born in Kent in 1928 and he spent his entire life in the city, where he started to work for his father in the family business
when he was only 15. His was a lifetime characterized by active family, business and community participation . He was student at Theodore High School when, in 1943, he started to work full-time for his father in the floral business.
The founding of the Richards business is a fascinating story. Father Richard M. Richards was born in Cornwall, England in 1888. He was deciding whether to go with a friend to Australia or to the United States to seek their fortunes when they flipped a coin and the United States won out. The senior Mr. Richards left his native Penzance, England in 1910 for the United States. He had intended to come to the United States on the Titanic but left earlier. The younger Dick Richards said many times, "It's a good thing. If he had been on the Titanic I wouldn't be here."
For a time the elder Richards lived in Akron, where he worked on a private estate. It was in Akron that he met and married his future wife, Anna M. Tschantz, his helpmate for many years in the floral business. He then came to Brimfield, where he grew wholesale flowers, and in 1921 he purchased the Standing Rock greenhouse property from Mr. and Mrs. George Braybon .
For many years after the father's death the flower shop was operated by the second Dick Richards and his brother, Jim. In the 1980s, Dick bought out his brother's interest. In the 1950s, a gift shop was added to the floral business. In addition, Dick for the past 27 years owned and operated Futura Enterprises, which manufactures pressure-sensitive labels.
Now Dick and Mary's son, Richard (Dick) P. Richards and his wife, Kim, are owners of the business. And the fourth generation of the Richards family, Anna M. and Lena N. Richards, work part-time. Despite their retirement, Dick and Mary continued to take an active interest in the business.
Despite his busy business life , Dick Richards found time to contribute to community affairs. He was president of the Men's Garden Club of Kent in 1956; he served as district representative of FTO in 1971-72 and he was active during his younger years in the Kent Jaycees. He was a member of the Kent Lions Club for 40 years and he served the organization as King Lion and was particularly active in the club's annual Carnation Day. Twice he was honored by the Kent Jaycees as the "Boss of the Year." He was a member of the St. Patrick Church in Kent and Twin Lakes Country Club.
Surviving are his wife of 49 years, Mary M. (Bissler) Richards; son, Richard (Kim) Richards of Kent; daughter, Mary Ann (John) Brown of Twin Lakes; grandchildren, Anna M. and Lena N. Richards; John R., Paul C. and Kathleen L. Brown; brother, James A. of Indian River, Mich.; sister, Gladys Durlin of Petoskey, Mich.;
Calling hours will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Bissler & Sons Funeral Home in Kent. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Patrick Church in Kent. Burial will be in Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent.