Commander David P. Richardson

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Obituary

Commander David P. Richardson, United States Navy, Retired, age 85, of Stafford, VA received his eternal orders on Monday, January 8, 2018. Forevermore, Cdr. Richardson shall stand watch over his devoted family, friends and brothers on the sea.

Born in Boonville, MO on November 16, 1932, his hardscrabble upbringing instilled in him a work ethic that was unmatched. Cdr. Richardson graduated from Boonville High School and then attended the University of Missouri before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1953. Prior to enlisting in the Navy the largest body of water he had ever seen was the Missouri River. He became an aviation electronics technician and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. One of his most unique tours was as an air crewman in a lighter-than-air (blimp) anti-submarine squadron. Upon acceptance into an active duty college program, he returned to the University of Missouri where he received a BS degree in physics and a BA in math. After graduation, Cdr. Richardson attended Officer Candidate School at Newport, RI, where he was commissioned as an ensign. He received an MS in oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. Subsequent tours included the USS Ranger (CVA-61), the USS Bronstein (DE-1037) and command of the USS Hampshire County (LST-819) in Vietnam. Cdr. Richardson was first the executive officer and then the commanding officer of the USS Epperson (DD-719) and he was the commanding officer of the USS Peoria (LST-1083), from which he retired after 28 years of distinguished service. His decorations include the Bronze Star with combat V, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Anchor.

His most cherished accolades were not the ribbons and medals but the admiration and respect shown to him throughout his life by the sailors he commanded. As recently as 2017, Cdr. Richardson was a regular attendee and honored guest at ship reunions. “Cdr. Richardson was different” one of his sailors commented at a recent reunion. “We came to the Navy as boys and he taught us how to be men. He commanded respect, not because he demanded it, but because he demonstrated it.” Upon retirement, Cdr. Richardson obtained his Coast Guard masters license and worked for several years in offshore operations. He then worked for ISA, Inc. in Arlington, VA as a program manager and technical director.

Cdr. Richardson became a dedicated member of Lions International, first in the Lake Ridge, VA club and then with the Aquia Harbour Host Lions, serving on numerous committees and as club president. He received the Melvin Jones Fellow award for dedicated humanitarian services from the Lions Clubs International Foundation. He was also active in the Aquia Harbour homeowners association and served one term on the board of directors. Cdr. Richardson found tremendous joy and satisfaction in helping others. He gave freely of his time, talent, and resources to the causes he cared deeply about. He was a dedicated driver of cancer patients to their treatments for many years. Cdr. Richardson spent thousands of hours navigating the sea but some of his greatest hours on the water were found in the countless trips with friends and family, cruising the Inter Coastal Waterway and the Potomac. Trips to Coles Point, Colonial Beach, the National Harbor on July 4th and a solo crossing to the Bahamas, among many others, all brought him immense joy for the time those trips afforded him with his family. He loved jazz music, good ham, rare steak, fine gin, a long drive, avoiding traffic, being busy, fishing, visiting, and above all, his family. Cdr. Richardson was a voracious reader, a student of history, an accomplished craftsman, a sailor, an excellent chef, a civil war buff, a patriot and a volunteer. Most importantly, he was a devoted and loving husband, father, Papa, brother, uncle and friend.

Cdr. Richardson is survived by his wife, Dottie of the home; daughter Becky Wales (John) of Danville, VA; step-daughters Cheryl Serpe of Westford, MA; and Lynda Kraxberger of Columbia, MO.; grandchildren Jenny Wales (Jim), Patrick Wales (Ashley), Lindsay Serpe, Nicholas Serpe, Madeline Serpe and Lily Kraxberger; and great-grandchildren Pearson Wales and Helen Grace Wales. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ida Lee Adair Richardson; his parents, Jesse and Margaret Richardson; his sisters Marian Dye and Jackie Nixon; and his great-granddaughter Molly Wales.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that donations be made to the Aquia Harbour Host Lions Club, P.O. Box 304, Stafford, Va. 22555 or God’s Storehouse, P.O. Box 48, Danville, Va. 24543.

A funeral service will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 16, at Covenant Funeral Service 1310 Courthouse Road, Stafford, Va. 22554. Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m. until 11a.m. prior to the service. Interment will follow at noon at Quantico National Cemetery 18424 Joplin Road, Triangle, Va. 22172.