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Obituary Stories

Man built life, friendships through carpentry

Jeff Himler
| Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, 11:00 p.m.

Family members had to coax Doug Richardson to interrupt work at his construction business long enough to take a vacation.

“He was the hardest-working man I knew in my life,” said his wife, Ruth. “If he wasn't working, he was in the basement, in the workshop, building me furniture or garden swings or anything I wanted.

“He would say, ‘I am the luckiest man in the world. Every day I get to go to work and play in the wood.'”

Before he retired several years ago, the Derry man operated Richardson Construction for more than 40 years. Self-taught in his trade, he offered internships to students at the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center, where he served as a substitute carpentry teacher for a few years.

“When they graduated, he would hire them, and he would train them,” his wife said. “Several of them went on to be union carpenters.”

He also taught evening carpentry classes for adults.

Douglas V. Richardson, 72, of Derry died in his sleep, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, at the winter home he shared with his wife on Merritt Island, Fla.

Born Oct. 29, 1945, in Latrobe Hospital, he was a son of the late Vaughn and Yolanda Richardson.

A 1963 graduate of Derry High School, Mr. Richardson began his business in 1970 by painting houses and soon learned such skills as drawing architectural plans, installing aluminum siding and fashioning stained-glass windows. Favorite projects included remodeling houses, including Adelphoi Village group homes, constructing the chapel at Coles Cemetery in Derry and installing a swimming pool as a Make-A-Wish gift for a local child.

Mr. Richardson has served as a volunteer firefighter. With his wife, he helped spearhead renovation of Derry's community swimming pool and playgrounds. The couple also operated the 2nd Floor Family Recreation Center at Chestnut Street and First Avenue in Derry.

“Some kids didn't have a real good start,” Ruth Richardson said. “That was their place to be to feel safe.”

A member of the Latrobe Elks and of a local youth commission, Mr. Richardson mentored troubled youngsters and matched them with community service opportunities.

Displaying finesse at billiards and dancing, Mr. Richardson delighted in outdoor activities such as hunting and boating. When he was younger, he served on the ski patrol at area resorts.

“He loved to do anything daring and athletic,” said his daughter, Nicole Bongard of San Francisco. “He would dive off the second floor of a hotel into their pool.”

In addition to his wife of 50 years and his daughter, Mr. Richardson is survived by a granddaughter, Riley; and his sister, Denise Swarner of Arizona.

Friends will be received from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday in the McCabe Funeral Home, 300 W. Third Ave., Derry, where a service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday. Interment will follow in Coles Cemetery.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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