Thomas J. Richards, 78, of Crystal/Brooklyn Park, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.
Tom was born and raised in Eveleth, Minn., where he grew up playing football and hockey. He attended college and played football at the University of South Dakota. After graduating with a Master’s degree in education, Tom began a 33-year teaching career with Edina Public Schools. He taught at Highlands and Countryside Elementary Schools where he was known for Krypto tournaments with Bub’s Daddy bubble gum for prizes, playing games during recess and sponsoring ambassador birds at the Raptor Center. He found joy in coaching his kids in multiple sports, including 15 years as a hockey coach with the Crystal Youth Hockey Association. He also enjoyed watching his kids and grandkids participate in the activities they loved, traveling with Bonnie across the state, country, and world to do so. Whether as a teacher, coach, father, grandfather, or husband, he found a way to impact many lives. He always stressed the importance of working hard and doing things the right way. These values are what his children and grandchildren live by today. Tom will be remembered for his sense of humor, tough yet sensitive demeanor, adoring love for his family and dogs, and die-hard loyalty to the Green Bay Packers.
Tom is survived by his wife of 55 years, Bonnie (Harris); children: Heidi (Kevin) Lindstrom; Todd (Maryann) Richards; Travis (Angie) Richards and Tracy (Chad) Mortenson; grandchildren: Thomas and Tyler Lindstrom, Zac and Justin Richards, Riley, Ellie and Kate Richards, Tanner, Jonah, and Lily Mortenson; sister, Elizabeth (Bill) Starcevic; brother, Kenneth Richards; niece, Leah (Bob) Lencowski; nephew, Ross (Barb) Richards; and furry companions, Angus and Otis.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth ‘Pop Bottle’ and Angeline (Ellersich) Richards; grandchildren, Tatum and Tucker Richards; and sister-in-law, Delores Richards (Revermann).
A celebration of Tom’s life will be held later this year.
Memorial donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Fairview Hospice.