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Patrick James RichardsMarch 22, 1926 ~ January 9, 2018 (age 91)
Patrick James Richards of Mishawaka, Indiana left us on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. He is survived by his nephew Mike Gilliam and Mike’s sister Diana Snyder, and the five step-children of his second marriage to Margaret T. Coyle: joHn Kennedy Jr., Eileen (Terry) Maxey, Peggy (Gordon) Norquist, Rosemary (Pat) Ladewski, and Kathleen Kennedy as well as the many grandchildren and great grandchildren upon whom he doted so lovingly. He celebrated the whimsy of childhood, and created memories and stories that are cherished and will be told and retold for another hundred years. Everyone remembers The Chief.
Patrick was born March 22, 1926 in his beloved hometown, Mishawaka, Indiana, to Harvey and Louise Richards. An only child, his father passed away when he was still a boy, leaving his mother, an immigrant from Belfast, Ireland, to raise Patrick alone through the Great Depression Patrick was preceded in death by his two wives, Evie Troupe and Margaret T. Coyle. A man of deeply held, simple principals, he cared for Evie at home through her cancer. When Margaret was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Pat again cared for her at home until he suffered a stroke and was no longer able to do so. The residents and staff of Southfield Village remember Pat visiting her every day, often twice a day during those long years. After Margaret died in 2012, Patrick continued to visit Southfield every Tuesday right up to last week, bringing chocolate for the staff who had cared for her. He was like that.
A steelworker, a welder, and proud member of Local 1191, United Steelworkers, Patrick reveled in the ribald humor of the shop floor. One story that he would tell to explain life among working men occurred while Pat was running for a union election. A fellow worker came to him and said, “I hate your guts, but I voted for you because I respect you.” During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Pat organized on behalf of black workers, something for which some of his fellow workers, people he grew up with, never forgave him.
In 1941, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Patrick lied about his age and enrolled in the Navy. He served in the Pacific Theater, on the USS Rankkin, a combat veteran, and recipient of the Purple Heart. He took part in four beach assaults. He reenrolled after the war and did a tour of service in post-war China and Japan. He believed deeply in and lived the participatory democracy that he fought for.
Pat never met a stranger, never judged another human being, and he never complained. He was considerate, decent, and kind. He was also as tough as an old tree root. Throughout his life he supported many friends in need. He volunteered for Hospice, the Salvation Army, the Food Bank, and the Chapin Street Clinic. He helped to establish Phoenix House in our community, the first half-way house here for woman recovering from alcoholism.
A wake for friends and family will take place from 3:00-7:00 PM on Sunday, January 14, 2018 at Palmer Funeral Home River Park, 2528 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, IN 46615 with a rosary to be held at 6:30 PM. A funeral mass will be held at 12:30 PM on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 225 S Mill St, Mishawaka, IN 46544. Father Chris Lapp will officiate. Memorial contributions in honor of Patrick may be given to the Women’s Care Center, 360 N. Notre Dame Ave., South Bend, IN 46617 or Center for Hospice, 501 Comfort Plc., Mishawaka, IN 46545. Condolences may be given online at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com
Women's Care Center
360 N. Notre Dame Avenue, South Bend, IN 46617,
Center for Hospice Care - Mishawaka
501 Comfort Place, Mishawaka IN 46545