Arthur B. Richards Jr. dies

May 19, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM


Arthur B. Richards Jr., 67, of Hagerstown, who probably was best known for his dedication to the area's neediest children, died Thursday morning after a 10-year battle with cancer.

Richards was president of Richards World Travel, a company he started 31 years ago.

He founded Children In Need Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides children with clothing and school supplies, and was instrumental in starting Dream Come True, a local volunteer group that grants wishes for terminally ill children.

In October, Richards was present when the Children In Need building was named "The Art Richards Center." The organization he founded in 1998 was serving 2,500 area children, he said.


"He led a life of good deeds," said Lieba J. Cohen, director of institutional advancement at Hagerstown Community College. "We all hope to be remembered for that."

Cohen is executive director of the Hagerstown Community College Foundation, of which Richards served as director for eight years.

Richards' daughter, Karen Moulton of Williamsport, said her father was first diagnosed with cancer 25 years ago. Since then, he's suffered from several different types.

"It would go into remission and then become very aggressive," she said.

It wasn't until last fall that Richards stopped working. Moulton said her father became extremely ill earlier this year, and over the past few weeks his illness became worse.

She said it was work, family and especially his faith that kept him strong even toward the end of his life.

"You never heard him complain," Moulton said. "I think he was content these last couple of weeks. He was not afraid of the unknown."

Richards was married to Connie Richards for 36 years and had three children, several grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Richards was proud that he was born in Hagerstown and raised a family here, Moulton said.

"He was a community man," she said. "That meant something to him, that he was born and raised here and was helping to build a community."

Richards also was enthusiastic about his work at the travel agency. He loved traveling, and began his career as a bookkeeper at a travel agency, Moulton said.

"It just sort of grew on him," she said. "He got into sales, and later down the road he started his own travel agency."

Richards didn't take a vacation unless he was escorting a group trip. Moulton said her father traveled everywhere, mostly with his wife and grandchildren.

When asked about her father's favorite places to visit, Moulton said, "The whole world."

She said it was important to Richards that the business remain in the family. His son, Charles Wesly Yates, will be the company's new president. Moulton will be vice president.

"It will remain in the family with the same tradition and the same service," she said. "This was his blood. This is what kept him going. It will always be Richards World Travel."

Cohen said Richards brought the same drive he had for his business to his work with Hagerstown Community College.

"He was very involved in the college for a long time," she said. "His heart was helping young people."

The Hagerstown Community College Foundation primarily raised money for scholarships, and Cohen remembers specifically a fundraising campaign in 1995 when Richards alone raised about $150,000 for student scholarships.

"He really cared, and he helped many, many students with all that he did," she said. "It's a real loss for the community."

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