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James E. "Rick" Richardson

December 31, 2023

James Richardson Obituary


James E. Richardson Jr., 88, of Moravia, NY, passed away peacefully on December 30, 2023.  James, also known as “Rick” and affectionately by his daughter and grandchildren as “Pops,” was born in New Straitsville, Ohio on June 21, 1935 to Madge and James Richardson. He was a storyteller extraordinaire and a friend to all he met, and he will be so very missed.


Rick is survived by his daughter Celeste; son-in-law, Jeff; his three beautiful grandchildren Anna, Cara and Jeffrey; nieces Deb, Michelle and Carmen; and goddaughter Sarah (Albino) Diamond. Rick was previously deceased by his wife Margaret (Peggy), infant son Billy, parents and a brother Bill.


Rick grew up in Barberton, Ohio. His family remembers him as an entertainer — singing, dancing and serving as the drum major for the Barberton Magic High School Marching Band.  After high school, Rick joined the Air Force where he was recruited as a linguist, learning many languages and using his unique written and verbal communication talents of listening to and talking to people. While in the military, Rick was sent to Syracuse University to study Russian.  It was in Syracuse that he met his wife —  they fell in love dancing the jitterbug and they got married on June 10, 1961.  They spent their first years of marriage in Tokyo, Japan.  


Following active duty, Rick and Peggy returned to be near Peggy’s family in Syracuse.  Rick held several manufacturing jobs during his career, including at Prestolite, Miller Brewery and Chrysler, all in the Syracuse area. He was almost always active with labor unions during that time, again practicing his unique communication and negotiation skills. He made many friends and practiced purposeful work with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) union, where he held many offices, including serving as the first union president at Miller Brewery. He also rejoined the Air Force Reserves in the 174th Division in Syracuse in the Civil Engineering Squadron, retiring in 1990 as a master sergeant.


After retiring, and following a number of family health challenges, Rick moved to Moravia to be closer to his daughter's family. He quickly became a part of the community, joining the Methodist Men’s Club at Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC), helping with the SCAT van, volunteering at Northwoods Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and enjoying all of the local pizzerias for food and conversation. He also enjoyed attending and cheering on his grandchildrens’ sporting and musical events, and spending time with family, friends and neighbors. 


Throughout his life, Rick enjoyed a good conversation, reading, playing cards, laughing, sharing a smile with others (which often included an eyeroll), talking politics, and watching football and basketball. Any football or basketball game would do.


About a year ago, Pops had a stroke that resulted in him becoming a resident of Northwoods nursing home, the very place where he used to volunteer. True to his nature, he made the best of it.  Despite his new physical limitations, he enjoyed the camaraderie of other residents and staff. 


Wherever you are, please join us in recalling some Pops stories, enjoying good conversation, eating good food and watching a ball game — any ball  game. A celebration of life will be held in Rick’s honor at Christ United Methodist Church of Locke and Moravia, 36 Church Street, on Saturday, January 6.  

10-11am - visitation

11 - noon - service and storytelling

12-1pm - reception

A graveside service will be held at a later date at Assumption Cemetery in Lyncourt, New York. 


Plans are emerging for a tribute to Rick’s love of reading — which will include pop-up little free library kiosks around Moravia. Contributions are welcome and can be sent to Rick’s daughter, Celeste, 174 N. Main St., Moravia, NY 13118. Memorial contributions can also be directed to the SCAT Van program, the United Methodist Men at CUMC or Northwoods Nursing Home’s recreation program.

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