On Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Henry Vokes-Mackey Richardson left us after 93 years of a full life. A published author, professor, naval aviator, prolific painter and loving father of four children, he approached life with vigor and a solid dose of humor.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 and served in World War II as a naval aviator in the Pacific. As the squadron leader he went by the nickname “Skip” and took bullets and survived air battles in service to his country. He then established a long career as a senior executive at Northwest Steel Rolling Mills before obtaining his Master in English from the University of Washington. It was at the University of Washington where he met Patricia Hagel Richardson, his wife of 26 years.
Mr. Richardson and his wife moved with their two baby daughters, Shasha and Kathrine (Lulley), to Walla Walla in 1968 where he joined Walla Walla Community College as a professor of English literature and philosophy. Soon after in 1969 twins were born, Frances (Fanny) and John (Jeb).
For almost 20 years as a professor at Walla Walla Community College he taught thousands of students, sharing with them a love and appreciation for literature and philosophy. From childhood and into adulthood he was always an avid horseman teaching both Western and English riding to students.
He was an acclaimed writer of historical fiction. His first novel Not All Our Pride was published in 1969, a story based on his memories of his childhood home in the South. Two more novels followed and became New York Times Best Sellers, Skarra in 1975 and its sequel in 1978.
He lived all over the world as a child. His father was a Naval Commander and also a graduate of Annapolis. His mother was a successful equestrian who called England and Ireland home. After living in Panama, southern France and Asia he returned with his parents, older brother and younger sister to the place of his father’s birth in Tennessee. He was always at home in Tennessee riding his favorite pony Peanut across the fields.
He is survived by his daughters Shasha Richardson O’Dea and Kathrine Eileen Richardson, his son John du Bruyere Richardson, his grandson Evan Richardson O’Dea and his son-in-law Julian O’Dea. He is preceded in death by his daughter Frances Haines du Bruyere Richardson, his mother Eileen Vokes-Mackey Richardson, his father William Augustus Richardson, his brother William Augustus Richardson II and his sister Maureen Richardson Martirano.
He had much to share and everyone enjoyed his company as well as the great stories and entertaining knowledge of history, culture, art and people. He had a great life and will be missed and remembered by many.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church by Father Birch Rambo and Father Ernie Campbell. Viewing & visitation will be held on April 24 from 4 – 7 p.m. at Herring Groseclose Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Blue Mountain Humane Society through the funeral home.