Thomas Richards

Obituary of Thomas Richards

Thomas Richards, Sr., 80, of Port Crane, N.Y. and previously of Binghamton, N.Y., passed away peacefully on Friday, April 2, 2010 while listening to the sweet sounds of his bluegrass music. He was preceded in death by his wife of 29 years, Olitha Riley, who died in 1980. Born in Scranton, Pa., on October 6, 1929, he was a son of the late Evan and Mary Walsh Richards. Tom attended West Scranton schools. Tom's passion in life was bluegrass music. He was a member of Penny Bluegrass Association. When he was nine years of age, he taught himself how to play the pump organ. He could pick up any string instrument and play. He loved the Martin guitar, mandolin and fiddle. Tom taught all five of his children how to play an instrument and three children how to sing. The family of musicians was known as the "Richards Family Band," playing at benefits, festivals and weddings on a regular basis. Every Sunday, he packed his family up and took them to Sunset Park in Oxford, Pa. where they saw many great bluegrass and country bands. He instilled music in his children's hearts and a hard worth ethic at a young age. Throughout the years Tom was a member in the bands, The Back Mountain Boys and Spare Parts, as well as numerous others. He donated a lot of his time throughout his life to playing music for others. Tom retired in 2003 as a crossing guard for Binghamton area schools. He was known as the crossing guard on Bevier Street who played the mandolin. He loved camping, fishing, coffee, scratch of lottery tickets, casinos, Pittsburgh Steelers and his portable DVD player. He was also a die-hard New York Yankee fan, watching them on the television as well as listening to them on the radio at any given time. He was also preceded in death by six siblings; infant son, Alan; beloved son-in-law, Paul Merrill; brother-in-law, Harold Riley; a very dear friend, Elmer Hoover; and his African gray McCall bird, Frankie. Tom is survived by his wife, Cora Jane Richards of North Carolina; son, Thomas Richards Jr. and his wife, Nikki of Port Crane, N.Y., with whom he resided with; daughter, Kathy Olszewski and companion, Chris MacNamee of Greene, N.Y.; son, Paul John Richards and his wife, Sandra of Pheonix, N.Y.; daughter, Mary Alice and her husband, Mark Williams of Kingsley, Pa.; son, Terry Lee Richards and companion, Michele Rudolph of Port Crane N.Y.; grandchildren, Jennifer, Cassandra, Kimberly, Andrew, Gary, Jamie, Tabitha, Paul Jr., Jacob, Sarah, Emily, Molly, E. Zachary, Terry, Josh, Nicholas, Jay, Tiffany and Rachael; six great-grandchildren; sister, Jean Moskwa, Scranton, Pa.; sister-in-law, Mae Richards; three brother-in-laws, Richard and Allen Schrauger and David Riley. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and friends. A memorial service will be held today, April 5, at 1 p.m. at the Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home, 73 West Tioga Street, Tunkhannock, Pa., 18657. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Penny Bluegrass Association, c/o Gene Clayton, 910 Jeanette Road, Endicott, N.Y., 13760.
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Memorial Service

1:00 pm
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home Inc.
73 W. Tioga St.
Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, United States
Service Time: 01:00 PM