November 17, 1924 - March 8, 2021
A LIFE WELL LIVED: Charles Ray "Pete" Richards, also affectionately known as "Pappy", 96, of Villa Hills, KY, passed from his earthly home and entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Monday, March 8, 2021. The love of Pete's life for 68 years, Patricia Jeanne Richards (nee Tuttle), preceded him in death in 2012. Pete was born and raised in Covington, Kentucky, in the home his father built, at the beginning of the 20th Century. He was a lifetime member of Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside Park, KY; and, he was baptized in the church's original location in Covington, KY, sometime in the mid-1920s. Pete was also a lifetime volunteer, for many worthy causes; and, it all began in July, 1943, after enlisting in the US Army, in order to serve in WWII. Pete trained in Ft. Collins, Colorado, as a part of the Army's Mule Pack Battalion, to train for combat in Alpine conditions, then into the 71st Infantry Division, 609th Field Artillery Battalion, C Company.
In January, 1945, Pete boarded a troop ship and sailed out of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with hundreds of other soldiers, heading to war in Europe. Arriving in La Harve, France, in February, he was assigned to General George S. Patton's 3rd Army, and in 49 days fought his way across France, Germany, then finally into Austria by May,1945. It was there that the 71st liberated a Nazi concentration camp in Gunskirchen-Lager, Lambach, Austria, which would deeply impact the remainder of his life. Following the war, new beginnings, a growing family and hard work would fill all the years to come. Pete worked over 30 years as lead welder with Westinghouse Electric; a prolific gardener, he built a greenhouse for growing some of the most beautiful flowers, plants, and an amazing variety of vegetables in a city setting, all year round; as a craftsman of many trades, he built furniture, repurposed appliances, utilized recycled materials for woodworking projects, completed electrical upgrades in his own home, as well as for other family members; and, created accessible seating in Immanuel Methodist's church sanctuary, where he also served as a choir member and Sunday School teacher for many years. As a member of the St. Elizabeth Hospital Volunteer Organization, in Covington and Edgewood, KY, Pete wonderfully created the original "Lizzie the Lion", an official mascot for St. Elizabeth Hospital, in the 1980-90s, visiting Pediatric patients, conducting hospital tours, visitations to area NKY schools and appeared at local community events, all with his wife, Patty, as his docent and guide. In his down time, Pete built his own reflecting telescope, as he loved astronomy; was a member of the Masonic Golden Rule Lodge #345 F.&A.M., in Covington, KY; and, as an avid jitter-bug dancer, he loved dancing with his beloved Patty. Following years of devotion to family and community, Pete requested that his final act of giving would be to donate his earthly remains to the University of Cincinnati Medical College and Mortuary Sciences, thus continuing to aid the living, even in death! Pete is survived by daughters, Bonnie (Bill) Meiman, Pam Taylor, Terri Cook; and, son, Chuck (Patti) Richards; 9 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren; many loving nieces and nephews; as well as, dear friends and caring staff of Madonna Manor, Villa Hills, KY.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Charles Ray "Pete" Richards will be held at Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside Park Campus, 2551 Dixie Highway, Lakeside Park, KY, 41017, on April 10, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. The service will be live-streamed via Immanuel United Methodist Church on the Church website, immanuelumc.org, Worship Live Stream online resources. Due to Covid restrictions, a gathering following the service will NOT take place.
In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made in Pete's name to the following:
Madonna Manor, Employee Assistance Fund, 2344 Amsterdam Road, Villa Hills, KY, 41017-3712;
Hospice of the Bluegrass, 1733 Harrodsburg Road, Lexington, KY, 40504, or online at www.bgcarenav.org, through the Donate Now link;
Immanuel United Methodist Church, 2551 Dixie Highway, Lakeside Park, KY, 41017;
American Heart Association, www2.heart.org, Donate Now link.
Connley Brothers Funeral Home, Latonia, KY is serving the family.