The Duncan Banner
Many in Duncan have said they had never known a man of such many talents as Bobby Richardson.
Richardson passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 77 in Duncan. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church.
“Bobby was part of anything good that happened in Duncan,” said Patsy Garner, a childhood friend.
“He touched so many people in so many areas. I never knew anyone who said anything negative about him. Everybody liked him.”
Richardson never passed a chance to play and sing “Smile — Sing a Song” to open a Duncan Rotary meeting. And Wednesday during the noon meeting, Arnold Nelson, local chapter president, led members in the song to honor Richardson.
“It fit his personality because it’s cheerful, it’s positive and it’s encouraging,” said Nelson. “You can’t sing it without a smile.”
Richardson will always be remembered for several aspects of his life. A lifelong resident of Duncan, he graduated in 1954 from Duncan High School.
An accomplished golfer, he was on the DHS golf team all four years of high school, which won the State Championship his junior and senior years. Richardson also won the Individual State Championship his senior year. This led to four letter years on the University of Oklahoma golf team that won two Big 6 Championships.
While in college following his father’s footsteps by getting a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy, Richardson, who was already a musician on the piano, discovered a talent and a passion for singing. Barbershop Quartets and choirs became an integral part of his life.
Richardson graduated from OU in 1958 and then returned home to Duncan to help his father in the family business. Richardson’s father, Robert, started the R&S Drug Store enterprise in 1945.
“He was a guy who was willing to help anybody in town and just a good all around guy,” said Shaun Lockstone, pharmacist at R&S Drug #1. “He was instrumental in the downtown area and a good friend and partner of mine.”
He married Shirley Oakes in 1961 and they had one son, Randy. Richardson became a significant leader within Duncan, serving in many roles on boards throughout the city.
“There’s just not many places in the world like Duncan,” Richardson said in an interview for the March 2011 issue of Duncan ... the magazine. “Duncan means an awful lot to me.”
Richardson looked at co-founding Main Street Duncan in 1986 as one of his biggest accomplishments. He said when it was started that Main Street “really looked like death warmed over,” however, it is now thriving.
“There is really strong leadership in Duncan. There always has been,” Richardson said in that interview. “Duncan’s future is what we will make it.”
Longtime friend Ed Apple said he believes Richardson has left behind an excellent example of what a community leader should be.
“He led not by a bullwhip, but in a gentle, affirmative way,” Apple said. “He figured out a way to get things done and his legacy lives on in the work he has done.”
Richardson and Tommy Jones were business partners because their fathers were friends and business partners.
“I called him Junior,” Jones said. “He was a dyed in the wool OU fan and may have cared almost as much about Main Street. He loved the Sooners and he was always hustling people, trying to get them to move into empty buildings.
“You could always count on him. He was always honest and caring. He meant a lot to me. Because of his illness, I’ve missed him long before this.”