Graveside services and burial for John Homer Richards, Jr., 87, of Madison will be held on Saturday, May 15th at 11:00am at the Coalville Cemetery in Biloxi, MS. He passed away on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at his home. Arrangements are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home, Greenville.
John Homer Richards, Jr. passed away May 5, 2021. He was born on September 26, 1933 at the Richards’ family home in Lorraine, now part of Gulfport, Mississippi. He was the son of John Homer Richards and Mamye Fairley Richards. He graduated from Gulfport High School in 1951 and Mississippi State College in 1956 where he majored in Petroleum Geology. While at Mississippi State he was a member and officer in the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He received a commission in the Army artillery through ROTC at MSU.
While on active duty as the missile platoon leader at the first nuclear capable Hercules Missile site west of the Mississippi River, he received a regular army commission. He then served 30 years in the army with tours of duty in Germany, Vietnam, Korea and Italy plus Maryland, California, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia with four tours in the Pentagon on the Army General Staff where he served in research and development, finance and personnel. While serving as an artillery advisor in Vietnam, he devised the “Turkey Shoot” with the help of the 25th US Division Artillery. This later became known as an “Artillery Raid”. He attended the Army Command and General Staff College, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and George Washington University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Financial Management. He also attended the Executive Management course at the University of Michigan’s Graduate School of Business. The Army then assigned him to manage the Army military pay, travel, and recruiting budgets. His last assignment was as the Director of Army Foreign Military Sales for all NATO countries plus Canada and Israel. He retired from the army in 1986 as a Colonel and was proud of the fact that he had commanded and served in Army units that had every artillery weapon the army had in its inventory at that time. His decorations included the Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star, The Commendation Medal, and the Air Medal: all with several clusters.
After retiring from the army. He worked for the JAYCOR Corporation as a senior logistical analyst specializing in safety and configuration management. He devoted much time to the Annandale United Methodist church in Virginia where he chaired several committees and was an usher for 28 years. He was a member of the John Wesley Society. He was a member of and served on the Board of Directors as treasurer for many years at The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Virginia Methodist Homes for developmentally disabled persons and his condo association at Hilton Head, his favorite vacation spot. He received the Cross of Military Service from the UDC in appreciation for his patriotic devotion to Flag and Country. He was selected as the 2017 Alumnus of the year for the College of Arts and Sciences at Mississippi State University.
He played the French horn and enjoyed classical music. He loved golf and tennis, was an avid MSU Bulldog fan and loved going to football games at MSU. He was a charter member of the “Wait Till Next Year Club”.
He was a member of Madison United Methodist Church and played a key role in establishing two educational scholarships for young men of the church. He also established five endowed scholarships in special education, geology, and math at Mississippi State University.
His first wife, Patti Cargill Richards, his mother, father and brother and step grandson predeceased him. His wife, Norma Neill DeLong Richards; daughter, Amanda Catherine Richards; sister, Judith Richards Bostwick; stepson, Fred Cole DeLong, III (Amy), stepdaughter Holley Neill DeLong Burrett and one step granddaughter survive him.
The family request that in lieu of flowers, memorials be given to Madison United Methodist Men’s Scholarship Fund at the Methodist Foundation, PO Box 2415, Ridgeland, MS 39158 or the Amanda Catherine Richards Special Education Endowment fund at MSU, State College, MS 39762.