OBITUARY: Patricia (Foley) Richards, 89

FAIR HAVEN, CT — Patricia Richards died October 22, 2018, in the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Ron Briere.

Before moving to Wilmington in 2016, Pat had been a long-time resident of Fair Haven, VT. Patricia Foley was born January 17, 1929 at the Homeopathic and Maternity Hospital, in Yonkers, NY, the daughter of Leo and Helen (Sweeny) Foley. She was the only one of her parents’ five children to survive into adulthood. Pat was educated in Yonkers public and parochial schools, and after short periods away from the city when her father’s employment took the family to Baltimore, MD and San Francisco, CA, she was graduated from Gorton High School in Yonkers in 1946. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education in June 1950 from Castleton Teachers College. After student teaching in Fair Haven, she taught elementary school in Bomoseen and Winooski, VT and Yonkers.

She married Robert S. “Stine” Richards on November 20, 1954, at Christ the King Church in Yonkers. In early 1955 they returned to Fair Haven, where they would raise their family. Stine Richards died in May 1970. She left teaching to have children, but she always believed her main job was raising her kids. Feeding, clothing, and educating eight kids was largely a one-woman job. In 1973, Pat went to work in the Fair Haven Union High School kitchen, eventually becoming Head Cook, and stayed there until 1986. In the late 1980s, Pat briefly ran a bed and breakfast, the 1880 House. She subsequently began a fourth career as Librarian at the Fair Haven Free Library, a position she held until her retirement.

Pat was active in the civic life of her home town. She was a member of Unit 49, American Legion Auxiliary for more than 50 years, and was one of its Past Presidents. She was a Justice of the Peace and a member of Board of Civil Authority. She was also a voluntary nonpartisan Election Day poll worker for many years. Pat was a communicant of Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church (OLSD) in Fair Haven from 1950 until 2016. Seven of Pat’s eight children were baptized in OLSD, all eight made their First Communion and had their Confirmations there, and her daughter was married there. Pat was a Lector for many years and became one of the parish’s first lay Eucharistic Ministers. She was a regular volunteer for the Bishop’s Fund, taught CCD, and served several terms on the OLSD Parish Council. She was a member of Court Isabella, Catholic Daughters of America, since the 1960’s, and past Court Regent. In the 1970’s she was active in the Catholic Charismatic Movement. In November, Pat would have celebrated the 35th anniversary of her profession as a member of the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO), eventually serving as Minister of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Fraternity and as Regional Councilor of the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Region. Just before moving to Wilmington, Pat was honored by OLSD’s pastor for her service to the parish, including hand-laundering and pressing the OLSD’s altar cloths from 1976-2016.

In addition to her husband, and her siblings, Frances, Anna, Mary, and Robert Foley, Pat was predeceased by her parents, a grandson, Greg Richards, and a granddaughter, Keisha Richards. Besides her daughter Kathy (Ron), of Wilmington, MA, she is survived by her sons Bob (Tracy), of Fair Haven, Dave (Catherine), of St. Albans, Kevin, of Greenland, NH, Mick (Peg), of Fair Haven, John, of Washington, DC, Leo, of Olmstead Township, OH, and Jeff, of Irving, TX, as well as eighteen grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

The family will receive visitors this Friday, October 26th, from 4:00-6:00 PM at Durfee Funeral Home in Fair Haven. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, October 27th, at 10:00 AM, at OLSD. The family would like to thank Allison and Emily, Mom’s Lahey Health at Home hospice nurses, and Nichols Funeral Home, of Wilmington, MA, for their assistance with local arrangements. Special thanks and a great debt of gratitude is owed to Kathy and Ron Briere, and their children, who worked with great compassion to make our Mother’s last years joyful and comfortable. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests you might make a donation to the charity of your choice in honor of Patricia Foley Richards.

(NOTE: The above obituary is from Durfee Funeral Home.)

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