Samuel Elliott Richardson, who flew for the Navy from 1962-66 and held a variety of career pursuits that included retail sales, real estate development, farming and landscaping, died of a stroke June 27th in Syracuse, NY. He was 78 years old.
Born in Richmond, VA on October 21, 1939, Sam was the son of Elliott and Elizabeth Richardson. He grew up in Urbanna, VA, and was a 1962 graduate from the University of Richmond, with a BA degree in Psychology.
In 1966, Sam moved to Tappahannock VA, where he ran a Ben Franklin general store and lived on the banks of the Rappahannock River for 12 years. In 1978 he and his family moved to Brevard, NC to live in the mountains. He moved to Hendersonville in 1991, and was a resident of Mills River at the time of his passing.
Sam pursued numerous interests. One of them was the ancient practice known as dowsing. Dowsing involves the detection and exploration of energy fields, with applications that range from finding the best place to dig a well to clearing negative energy from one’s home. He was also a skilled labyrinth builder. Sam built and designed labyrinths in four states, including the one on the grounds of Unity of the Blue Ridge in Mills River where he attended church services and served as a chaplain for several years.
Sam had many volunteer endeavors as well. He went on several humanitarian missions to Honduras with Missions of Hope to help deliver heavy medical supplies. On his last trip, he dowsed a well for the Hogar de Ninos orphanage in Santa Barbara, which provides clean water for the children to this day. He once drove a school bus down through Central America to deliver it to a small community in Guatemala. He was a longtime volunteer for Hospice at the CarePartners Solace Center in Asheville, and donated numerous second hand teddy bears – which he “adopted”, cleaned and repaired – to Hospice patients across the region. He delivered food that went to feed children through the Boys and Girls Club in Henderson County. And he spent countless hours knitting hats (over 100 each year) for veterans in need through Knitters and Crocheters for Others in Western North Carolina.
Friends describe Sam as easy going (except when playing cards) and soft spoken (except when he wasn’t). He was active in his community and always ready to help a person in need, be they friend or stranger. He was generous with his time and resources. He was a skilled carpenter and stone mason. As a young man he was an accomplished rifleman and sailor. He loved to hike in the mountains that surrounded the place he called home. He was addicted to chocolate. He was addicted to ice cream, especially chocolate. And while he greatly enjoyed companionship he didn’t like long drawn out good-byes. When someone was taking just a little too long to leave he would often say, “I promise to miss you if you’ll just get gone”.
We wish Sam had taken a little longer to leave us. Now that he’s gone, he will be greatly missed.
Sam is survived by his three children Karen Wright, Diana Corbin and Bill Richardson; Suzy Greene of Brevard, who was his wife for 25 years and is the mother of his children; his companion Peggy Miller, who was with him in Syracuse when he passed away; his brother Charles Richardson and his sister Agnes Kimbell; his dear friends Corliss Bakanas and Edward and Romella O’Keefe, who were as close to family as people can be without being blood; and his seven grandchildren Alexi, Ashley, Bain, Adam, Suzanne, Celia and Brooke.
Sam’s memorial service will be held at the United Methodist Church in Mills River on July 11th, at 2:00 pm. There will be a reception afterwards at the River Oak Clubhouse in Mills River. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Sam’s name to CarePartners Foundation, P.O. Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813 or donate online: www.carepartnersfoundation.org