News and Tribune

August 15, 2013

Errol Adolph Richardson

84; Crandall

— Funeral services for Errol Adolph Richardson, 84, Crandall, will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19, at Kraft Funeral Service, Spring Street Chapel, New Albany, with burial in Bethlehem Cemetery, Crandall. He died Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services.

He was born Dec. 2, 1928 in Louisville, to his late parents, Hugh and Laura Johnson Richardson, the proprietors of The Richardson Coal Company. He was a graduate of St. Xavier High School, Louisville, and although he was recruited to play ball for the University of Kentucky, he was such an avid "U of L" man that he declined. He went on to receive his BS in Business degree from the University of Louisville in 1950. He was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and stayed a "brother" his entire life. Errol also loved to read. He even taught himself how to fly aircraft from books he had borrowed from the library. He read until he felt ready, got tested and received his license after his "first effort" from the famous William "Hap" Happell at Clark County Airport. He owned several different aircraft over the years, but was partial to his old Stinson "taildragger." He was also a sports lover and enthusiastically followed the Kentucky basketball and football teams. He was himself a great bowler and enjoyed league play with his wife and friends. He was also a sharpshooting pool player and simply could not be beaten. In addition to sports, he was also an enthusiastic supporter of children's charities, donating generously.

Entrepreneur, philanthropist, family man, pilot, yachtsman, fisherman, oil painter "prolific", and auto-biographer, he was extremely well-rounded, was genuinely liked very much by all who knew him and never had an unkind word to say about anyone. He started his career working with the Logan Company of Louisville and very soon after, in his 20s, became National Sales Manager. Three years later, with his astute business acumen, he was able to buy out the Fireplace Division of Logan Co., thus creating the Louisville Fireplace Corporation. Several years later he bought out the Carolina Fireplace Corporation and soon became the world’s largest manufacturer of fireplace equipment, primarily dealing in brass, copper, steel and cast iron. In the 70s, he merged his company with WC Bradley Co., makers of CHARBROIL grills, thus giving both companies complementary seasonal products. He became overall Vice President of Purchasing, taking a million dollar company to the billion dollar range. It was during this period in his life that he moved down South and would eventually make more than 35 roundtrips to Asia, establishing himself as an early pioneer in global marketing. During his travels around the world, he reportedly rode on camels, elephants, donkeys, horses, goats and dolphins, but the main thing he liked to ride on was his yacht "The Big Toy". He was an enthusiastic boater and had "The Big Toy" custom built for him in Asia. He spent years entertaining family and friends aboard her.

When Errol was just 19 and a member of the Jay Cees, he started a lucrative plate painting business. He didn't know at the time that he would one day become a prolific portrait painter with a total of more than 230 oil paintings rendered of family members, friends, US Presidents and beautiful Asian faces. In 2002, his work was displayed at the Louisville Public Library in a show titled "A Man, his Wife and his Mother", which showcased more than 50 paintings. In 2007, he was part of a show at the Twin Oaks Gallery titled "Four Generations of Artists" featuring his work and work by his mother, his wife, his sister, his daughter and four of his grandchildren. On Dec. 2, 2008 more than 130 paintings were collected and hung at the Locker Gallery in New Castle as a birthday party surprise for Errol, the start of an eight week show. Errol usually gave his paintings away, however, he was commissioned once to paint a portrait of his friend Dinwiddie Lampton, which was to be a gift to Mr. Lampton's wife.

After nearly 15 years retirement in Florida, he and his wife moved to Corydon, where he started writing his autobiography. In addition to his writing, he also enjoyed gardening and canning vegetables, as well as his bi-weekly meetings with old childhood friends for either breakfast or lunch. Errol also continued his life-long love of reading and learning by taking courses on a wide variety of subjects. He truly enjoyed moving closer to his native Louisville where he could be near family and friends again. The world was a better place for having Errol in it.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara Rawlings Richardson; children, Barbara Ann Richardson Callahan and her husband, Jim, Stephen Cole Richardson and his wife, Leslie, Karen Lee Richardson Zurschmeide and her husband, Bill, John Hugh Richardson, James Kenneth Richardson and his wife, Helen, Debra Morgan, Richard Rawlings, Sheila Sweet and her husband, Rick, and Steve Rawlings and his wife, Angie; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews who live all around the world.   

 In addition to his parents, he is also preceded in death by his sister, Martha Ann Richardson Hall Crush and first wife, Elaine Current Richardson. 

Visitation will be from noon to  6 p.m. Sunday and after 9 a.m. Monday, at the funeral home.

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