Joseph Elmer Richardson II passed from this earth Nov. 27, 2017, at Texas County Memorial Hospital at the age of 91 years. He was born to Elmer and Jennie Crawford Richardson on Oct. 15, 1926, on a farm in Raymondville, Mo. He was the youngest of three children by 13 years.
It was in Salem, while visiting his oldest sister, that Joe met Ted Ziske who would become and remain his dearest, lifelong friend. Joe and Ted’s excursions were facilitated by Ted’s long bicycle ride on the dusty road from Salem to Raymondville and Montauk. Together, they ignited a passion for the outdoors and honed a lifelong habit of hunting and fishing.
It was Joe’s intent to continue those activities after his graduation from Houston High School and Southwest Missouri State that led to a life in business. He was owner of Houston Insurance Agency in the 1950s, and he and partner, Andy Stoops, acquired Houston Wood Treating in the 1960s. Joe had many decades of involvement in the timber and land industry.
For decades, Joe spent nearly every weekend in a cabin on a bluff overlooking the Big Piney River. It was his sanctuary where he collected memorabilia and artifacts of local characters and history, of which he became a memorable part.
But Joe’s greatest and most successful adventure began in 1942, when he accepted Katy Ross’s invitation to accompany her to a 4-H party. She was in the eighth grade and Joe was a sophomore at Houston High School. It was a first date for both. The 1948 marriage took place in St. Clair, Mo., with best man Ted Ziske buying a round of four milkshakes at the nearby soda fountain for the reception celebration. The 69-year marriage produced two sons and provided Joe a life of adventure, freedom and independence that covered more than nine decades.
Joe was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Jewel Jackson and Georgia Castleman.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Kathleen (Katy); and sons Joe Elmer Richardson III and Ross K. Richardson. Other immediate surviving family members include daughter-in-laws, Kathy Kelly Richardson and Linda Kleager Richardson; grandchildren, Noah and Kelly Richardson Dorrance, Mike and Katy Richardson Dieckhaus, Dwayne and Leah Richardson Biddinger; and great-grandchildren, Remy, Zoey, Eleanor, Reeve and Evelyn.
Services were 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, at Evans Funeral Home with the Rev. Terry Lippstreu officiating. Burial was in Allen Cemetery in Raymondville, Mo. Pallbearers were Steve Hutcheson, Scott Gettys, Paul Smeltzer, Mike Dieckhaus, Rick Ichord and Dwayne Biddinger. Honorary pallbearers were Ted Ziske and Dewayne Rees.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made either to Piney River Covey of Quail Forever (15768 Hwy. N, Licking, Mo., 65542), Allen Cemetery or the Houston Education Foundation (HEF, P.O. Box 102, Houston, Mo).