Dennis Richards, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather passed away on Sept. 12, 2019, in Brigham City, UT. He was battling prostate cancer at the time, but an abdominal aneurysm led to an early and unexpected yet, quick and peaceful passing.
Dennis was born on July 7th, 1938 in Garland, UT to Elmer and Mildred Richards. He was the youngest of six children, and will now be joining his parents and his siblings once again. Dennis graduated from Bear River High School in Garland. While in school, he was an excellent student, was active in drama, and participated in the Boy Scouts of America program. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and enjoyed hiking and camping with his fellow scouts. Dennis also participated in student government, prom committees, and the yearbook staff. While in school, he also worked in the library (which was foundational for his future career.) He was the valedictorian of his graduating class, as well as seminary class president.
After high school, Dennis lived with his sister Beth in Tremonton while he worked at the creamery to save money for college tuition. He attended Utah State University for two years, and was able to fully support himself through his work. During this time, he met his sweetheart and future wife, Judy Hess. In their early courtship, they spent much of their time dancing together. Dennis was an accomplished ballroom dancer, which was one of the qualities Judy had admired in him. They dated for six months before he received his mission call, leaving his beloved Judy with a "promise pin." Dennis served his Savior Jesus Christ for two years as an LDS missionary in the New England states mission.
After his mission, Dennis and Judy were sealed as husband and wife for time and eternity on June 12th, 1961 in the Logan, UT LDS Temple. He returned to Utah State where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree. After graduation, Dennis and Judy moved to Tallahassee, FL where he continued his studies at the Florida State University. He received his Master of Arts degree in Library Science. After spending five years in Terra Haute, IN working for Indiana State, he received a job offer from the University of Montana in Missoula. Dennis spent the next 35 years as head of the government documents department for the state of Montana. During his professional career, he authored a published book entitled Montana's Genealogical and Local History Records. He also made a registry of deceased Montanans in the Missoula City Cemetery, a project that occupied all of his spare time for months.
Dennis was a lifetime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in numerous callings over the years, including Branch President, Stake High Councilor, Stake Clerk, and Counselor to several Bishops. He was also a dedicated home teacher and minister, frequently caring for elderly widows in the wards in which he lived. In his free time, Dennis enjoyed gardening, reading, playing games, stamp and coin collecting, working on genealogy, and doing puzzles, but spending time with his family brought him the most joy. He enjoyed being the center of attention with his "Dad Jokes" and sometimes colorful apparel, and loved to smile and laugh with others. Dennis enjoyed good food of all kinds but especially loved desserts. Friends and acquaintances always remembered him as a gentle, kind person with a great sense of humor (even when the joke was on him!)
Dennis is survived by his eternal companion Judy Richards, his children: Denise Harmon (Roger), Galen Richards (Heidi Gale), Lori Hayden (Brian), Sheldon Richards (Nicole Walker), Paul Richards (Stacie Tucker), Julie Holyoak (Aaron), and Vicki James (Tyler). He also left behind 32 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren (with number 25 soon to arrive)—a posterity of 72, and increasing! Dennis loved to spend time with his family, and in fact, it's hard to find many pictures where he isn't holding one (or two) of them in his lap!
Dennis was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer Thomas Richards and Mildred Elizabeth Johnson, and his siblings: Eleanor Munns, Mary Beth Rees, Lamont Richards, Florence Richards, and Milo Richards (stillborn).
Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, September 21st at Brigham City Utah North Stake Center at 2:00 pm. There will be a public viewing from 12:00 to 1:30 pm on Saturday preceding the funeral. In lieu of flowers please donate to the Missionary Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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