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Joseph Thomas Richardson

May 4, 2022

Joseph Thomas Richardson, 93, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours on April 24 from COPD. His last week was spent with various members of his family as he transitioned to his heavenly home. He was playful, loving and gentle during this transition. It was very much a reflection of who he was throughout his life. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

During the last few years of his life, dementia robbed him of many of his familiar characteristics but left the best most lovable qualities that defined the true Joe. In the days leading to his death, he remained at home with family at his side. He was always quick with a joke and this remained part of him until the end. His passing included stories, laughter and lots of love.

He was born September 15, 1928 in St Louis, Missouri to Bessie (Uselton) and Thomas Dewey Richardson and lived in Quincy, Illinois, until his parents' divorce in 1933 sent him to a number of different orphanages with his brother Harold. Prior to being sent to an orphanage, his family moved frequently and at one point he lived in a chicken coop. Water had to be strained and then boiled before consuming. Joe's childhood was challenging in many ways. After spending four years in and out of various orphanages, he and his brother went into the foster care of Mr. and Mrs. Lopahs, where they remained until graduating from high school. As challenging as his childhood years were, his adult years saw him overcome those many early tragedies and obstacles to be the fun, loving, caring individual known by many.

He grew up in Chicago, graduating from Farragut High School in 1946. He then joined the Army and served as a medic in the Japanese Occupation. After a medical discharge, he met Julianne Kramer and they were married on August 13, 1949, in Chicago. They were married just shy of 72 years until the death of Julie in May of 2021.

He was an avid fisherman and duck hunter and after a vacation "out west," his desire to live there and leave the city life resulted in a cross country journey with three kids, one a newborn, two cats and a hamster. In 1961, Joe completed his training to become a hospital administrator. He began his 30 year career in Buffalo, Wyoming, in June of 1961. In 1964 he moved his family to Cut Bank, Montana, to serve as the administrator there until 1967. He was called to facilitate the opening of a brand new hospital in Silverton, Idaho. He was the Administrator of East Shoshone Hospital in Silverton from 1967-1977. Opening a brand new hospital was one of the highlights of his professional career.

He moved onto Boundary County Community Hospital in Bonners Ferry in 1977. In 1983 he then became the CFO for Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint and eventually retired to Coeur d'Alene in 1995.

Joe and Julie moved to the Garden Plaza Independent Living in Post Falls in 2018. After Julie's death, he moved to Moran Vista in Spokane to be closer to his son. At Moran Vista, he continued in his role of a fun loving, kind man in the way he interacted with the staff that helped with his care. His family enjoyed bringing him coffee concoctions and filling his candy bowl numerous times a week almost as much as he enjoyed their company. Visits with grandpa were always filled with a sense of love and excitement in being able to spend time together.

Throughout his life, he was a member of Toastmasters, Kiwanis, and performed on stage in numerous community theater plays as well as singing in his church choir. One of the highlights of his life was when he was awarded as an Honor Flight recipient in 2013.

He had a wonderful sense of humor. He was always the entertainer where ever he went. With a twinkle in his eyes, earning a laugh seemed to be one of the greatest gifts he could give to others.

He and Julie were active in the Lutheran Church in every community they lived, most recently Lutheran Church of the Master in Coeur d'Alene.

He is survived by daughter Kathy (Mark), Golden, Colorado, son John (Gretchen), Spokane, grandchildren Tom, Paul, Ashley and Maddie, and great grandchildren Briley, Nellie, Nora and Penny. He was preceded in death by his wife Julie, teenage son Tom in 1969 and infant daughter Carol in 1958.

Memorial contributions may be made to Southside Christian School, 401 E 30th, Spokane WA. 99203.

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Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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