MISSOULA – Edwin “Eddie” Richard, 74, a longtime Ronan resident, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, with his loving and caring wife, Gina, by his side.
Eddie was the third of four children born on July 1, 1940, in Ronan to Glenn and Angela Richard. He was raised on a farm outside of Ronan in Round Butte along with his brother, Joe and his sisters, MaryAnn and Louise. He helped out on the farm, caring for cattle and sheep but his favorite task was caring for the Suffolk sheep. He started school in Round Butte and graduated from Ronan High School at the age of 17. While attending school, he participated in 4-H and band, playing the trumpet, French horn and piano. After graduation, he worked for many years in construction, even building homes along Flathead Lake. He worked for the Ronan/Pablo School District 30 for 18 years prior to his retirement at the age of 65.
Eddie was a man of a many talents and could have pursued careers in art, music or farming. Instead, he chose to use his many God-given talents to help others learn about his God, Jehovah and his purposes for the earth. In 1958, Eddie attended an International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York where because of his love for Jehovah he was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He was determined to serve Jehovah faithfully for the rest of his life, which to him meant caring for the spiritual needs of others. Although he enjoyed caring for literal sheep as a young man, his whole life was centered around his spiritual shepherding. In fact, he even attended a special school in New York at the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses to help him to be a better shepherd. His many other skills were used in the construction of Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout Montana. He also enjoyed the privilege of participating in construction work at the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses with his friend, Peter, and later with his son, Anthony. His construction and artistic skills were put to use in designing and constructing stages for assemblies and conventions. He really enjoyed listening to music as well as playing instruments. Many recall him directing the orchestra at large gatherings of Jehovah’s Witnesses in years past. All of these activities were done as a volunteer with the self-sacrificing spirit that so characterized Eddie.
While attending an Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses as a teenager, he met a cute, 12-year-old Italian girl in braids working in the kitchen preparing the noon meal. She would years later become his wife of 48 years. Eddie and Gina were married on June 18, 1966, and would go on to have two children, Anthony and Michelle, enjoying a very happy family life. Eddie was willing to do everything that he could to help out his family and friends. He and his wife, Gina, stayed in their Ronan home until 2012 when Eddie’s battle with Alzheimer’s required that he and his wife move closer to their daughter and her family in Missoula.
All of his family and friends loved him and cared for him during his illness. He was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. His love and devotion for his God, Jehovah, will stand out as a wonderful example to help us all to do the same. He will be greatly missed. We are longing for the time when very soon we will be reunited with Eddie again in much better conditions here on earth where there will be no more sickness, pain, suffering or death. “Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Glenn and Angela Richard. He is survived by his wife, Gina Richard; his children, Tony (Tonicae) Richard and Michelle (Michael) Miller. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Anselmo, Daunte, Julian, Tonsina, Michaela and Matthew as well as his siblings, Joe (Mickey) Richard, MaryAnn (Jerry) Teeter and Louise Dean and their children.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 3, at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Missoula, 1115 S. Reserve St.
Funeral arrangements have been made with Foster Funeral Home & Crematory of St. Ignatius, fosterfhandcrematory.com.
The family would like to thank all for the care, concern, attention and prayers extended in behalf of Eddie and his family.
The family would also like to express sincere appreciation to Kate and her staff at Rosetta’s Assisted Living and to Hospice of Missoula for all of their help in caring for Eddie during his last days with us.