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Exeter’s ‘Rich’ gave town pride, priceless memories

Francis Richard was not nicknamed Rich for a lavish lifestyle or for writing huge checks to local charities. But his community spirit gave his church, local youth and adopted hometown so much more than money could ever buy.

Graveside services for Francis Leo Richard of Exeter were held at the Exeter District Cemetery on June 25.

“Rich” went to be with the Lord on June 19. He passed away peacefully at home with his loving wife Frances and family by his side.

A humble man with a big heart, some in Exeter might not now how valuable Rich was to the community or his

country.

Rich was born April 12, 1926 to Frank and Clarina Richard.  He was the eldest of three children born to them in Portsmouth, N.H.

Rich grew up in New Hampshire attending Portsmouth High School, where his nickname was “Shorty” be

cause he was the tallest player on the basketball team.  He was looked up to by his two sisters and loved dearly by “Meme” and “Pepe.”

Rich was called to military duty to serve during Word War II.  After his service he came to Exeter and married his sweetheart, Frances I. Richard on November 30, 1946.  Rich and Fran made their home in Exeter where th

ey raised three boys, Mike, Steve and Mark. Many lifelong friends were made during the years spent in Exeter.  Rich was employed for 32 years and retired from Southern California Gas Co.  Above all else he was devoted to God, family and fr

iends.

Due to his selfless and caring nature, Rich was dedicated and committed to many spiritual and civic organ

izations.

He was the driving force behind the Knights of Columbus’ Community Service Recognition Dinner, which honors police officers, firefighters and EMTs/paramedics from Exeter, County of Tulare and surrounding communities. The event celebrated its 22nd year in March. Rich coordinated the event until taking a step back as he got older in 2006.

Rich also spearheaded the effort to organize Exeter’s Memorial Day Service at the Exeter Cemetery in 1974 an

d served as its general chairman for 20 years.

Closest to his heart were these following interests:  Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Monsignor Father Joseph Balker 9068 Knights of Columbus since 1951, past Grand Knight of Visalia, and Exeter-Farmersville Council.  Former District Deputy in 1990-1992.  American Legion Post Commander and Finance Officer.  President and Board of Director, Exeter Memorial District for 16 years, Board of Directors for Miller-Dofflemyer building for 13 years, Exeter Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year in 1981, Boy Scouts of America Co-Master Troop Chairman for 20 years, President of BACH, and a high school band booster in 1972-1973.

Survivors include his loving wife of 66 years, Frances Richard, son Mike Richard of Exeter, son Steve and wife Bonnie Richard of Visalia, and son Mark and wife Carol Richard of Exeter, sister Joan Royal of North Carolina, man
Francis Richard’s commitment, dedication and resolve will live on.  Any remembrances or donations please send to Sacred Heart Building Fund, Optimal Hospice, American Legion or your favorite charity.y grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Our caring friends at Smith Family Chapel have arranged funeral and memorial services with military honors at Exeter Public Cemetery.

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