May 14, 1932 – Jan 30, 2015
Dick has fought the good fight, and is ready for new experiences. The second of nine children, he was born at the Old Dee Hospital, in Ogden, Utah, to Blaine Boyden and Violet Geneva Williams Richards on May 14, 1932. He came to earth with remarkable talents that would give him remarkable opportunities. He graduated from Weber High School in 1950, and attended Weber Junior College in 1951 until he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He met his wife, Annette Bott, while attending Weber College. They were married January 15, 1954 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. He attended Officer's Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia; followed by a tour of duty in Japan as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Following his three years in the service, he worked for his dad as a sign painter while attending the University of Utah Law School, graduating in 1961. He practiced law in Ogden for twenty years, but his primary interest was politics. He had a unique sense about the political scene and it served him well. He started out at the grass roots level and served as Utah Young Republican Chairman while he was still in Law School. While practicing law, he worked on a number of congressional campaigns for Douglas Stringfellow, Henry Aldous Dixon, and Laurence Burton, Congressmen from the First District. He had a keen organizational mind that took him to Washington D.C. as both a Legislative, and then as an Administrative Assistant to Congressman Burton for two years. In his return to Utah he served two terms as Utah Republican Chairman.
Because of the success the Republican Party experienced in Utah while he was Chairman, he was invited to join the Republican National Committee as Political Director under Chairman Rogers Morton. He worked on both of Richard Nixon's campaigns; overseeing the entire Western States region with the exception of Texas and California. In 1975, he served a third term as Utah Republican Chairman, while serving on Ronald Reagan's committee during his initial run for the presidency in 1976. He continued working on the committee in preparation for Reagan's campaign in 1979-80. Extremely knowledgeable of the Western States politically, he headed up the campaign in the Western States, including California, helping to improve the Reagan campaign organization.
With the election of Ronald Reagan as President of the United States, he was asked to serve as Republican National Chairman, serving faithfully from 1980-1982. He was a Senior Advisor in President George H.W. Bush's campaigns.
As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in many callings: including Teacher, High Councilman and as Bishop of the McLean, Virginia First Ward. In 1995, as a former Republican National Chairman, he was given a special Church assignment to travel throughout Australia and New Zealand, co-sponsored by the National Press Clubs of both countries and the LDS Church. There was a great interest in the U.S. political arena, but it was important to introduce the Church's "Family Proclamation" to the leaders and people of these nations. It was a successful tour and it was reported that the proclamation had been accepted and was being used. Dick and his wife also served as full-time missionaries for the Church in the Rochester New York Mission from 2000-2002.
Twenty-eight years ago, he developed some serious heart problems, yet it never stopped him from doing what he felt he needed to do. He had many open-heart surgeries over the years, but he survived because of a strong will to live, an amazing heart, and the excellent medical care he received.
Dick served on the Board of Trustees, as Chairman of the board at Weber State University, and established "The Richard Richards Institute on Ethics." Each year, scholarships are presented to senior high school students chosen from high schools in Weber, Davis, Morgan and Box Elder Counties for writing the best essays on Ethics. His concern for others and the ability to help when it was needed, were two of his greatest qualities. He never turned down anyone who needed help. Often they had problems no one else had been able to solve. He will be sorely missed.
He is survived by his wife Annette, five children, Julie Dockter (Gary), Richard A. Richards (Rita), Jan Stevenson (Tom), Amy Hartvigsen (Darren), Brian Lee Richards, one granddaughter, ten grandsons; with the seventh serving an LDS mission in Chile; fifteen great grandchildren, his brother James (Maurine), sisters, Jackie Palmer (Darrell), Diane Dillingham, Joan Richards, Michele Richards, Rachel Richards, Sally Garner (Bryce), and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Louise.
We wish to thank "Hospice for Utah" for their wonderful supportive care; and for the excellent care he has received from his doctors; Dr. Michael Diehl, Dr. Richard Hall, and Dr. Peter Forstall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the "Richard Richards Institute of Ethics" at Weber State University.
Viewings will be held Friday, February 6th, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Myers Mortuary, 845 Washington Blvd., in Ogden, UT and prior to services at the church from 9:30-10:30am
Services will be held Saturday, February 7th at 11 a.m. at The Burch Creek 3rd Ward, 5161 S. 1300 E., South Ogden, UT.
Interment will be at Washington Heights Memorial Park.