March 4, 1949 - December 29, 2016
Date of Service: January 4, 2017
Funeral Home Oliver Shifler & Scotchlas Funeral Home, Inc.
John Joseph Richards, 67, a resident of Throop, succumbed to complications of Cancer Thursday night, surrounded by love and support of family and lifelong friends, at Hospice of the Sacred Heart, Dunmore. John lived in Archbald, and most recently followed his son’s family to live in Throop, but his greatest connection was always to his hometown of Carbondale. His wife is the former Carolyn Golden. The couple celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary in June.
Born in Carbondale, he was the son of the late John Thomas and Kathryn Zaharlick Richards. He was a graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and enlisted in the Air Force and served in the Vietnam War. After completing his service and returning from the war, John was the long-time manager of the J.S. Raub Shoe Store, Carbondale. He was later employed by the Tobyhanna Army Depot, where he was employed for 25 years, until the time of his retirement, four years ago.
John was a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Archbald. John’s greatest passions in life were his family, service to others, and playing and watching sports. John was a volunteer youth sports coach for much of his adult life. John coached youth basketball, as well as High School Baseball, but his most outstanding service was as a Carbondale Little League Baseball coach for 15 years. In addition to coaching, John was an accomplished athlete. John was a charter member of the famed 1970-1980’s Carbondale Softball League, as well as a player in the annual Labor Day Big Ball Charity Tournament; having consecutively played for 40 years. In recent years, John participated in a variety of over 50 year old Softball Leagues, as well as participating as a member of All-Star Travel Teams. In 2004, John was a member of the Amateur Softball Association of Pennsylvania State Champion over 50 softball team, as well as being a member of the 2006 International Senior Softball Association World Champion over 50 softball team. John played in two softball leagues each week, until June of this year. In addition, as recently as this past winter, John played full-court basketball, weekly, with a core group of friends throughout the winter months for over 40 years in places including Heart Lake, Fell School, and the Jermyn Recreation Center. John was also an avid Penn State Football and Syracuse Basketball fan.
John always considered himself to be an advocate for the disadvantaged; a champion of the underdog. John did not begin life with many privileges and he always strived to help others. John was active in delivering holiday meals to needy and homebound families and individuals. John was a long-time volunteer for the Tobyhanna Army Depot Operation Santa Claus Program. John was a mentor and father-figure to many, providing opportunity, support, and anything that anyone ever needed, even if people didn’t ask. John gave of himself, expecting nothing in return, in a way that is beautiful and rare. John would often ask family members to forgo giving him gifts for birthdays and holidays, often asking them to make charitable contributions to veterans’ organizations and soup kitchens. John built a wonderful life for himself and his family, but honestly stated; he really didn’t care if he had any worldly possessions of his own.
The greatest joys of John’s life were his grandchildren Gavin John and Mackenzie Lee Richards. Papa loved his “kidses” more than could ever be imagined or understood. Upon his retirement, Papa went to his son’s house every morning to wake the kids, make breakfast, and ensure that everything necessary was done to get the kids off to school. He met them each day at the bus, completed homework, practiced basketball, baseball, swam and did everything and anything his grandchildren asked him to do. Papa loved attending all of the kids’ events and games, especially Gavin’s football and basketball games and Mackenzie’s softball and basketball games. Despite our loss, Gavin and Mackenzie know that Papa will Always be their greatest fan, rooting for them and guiding them throughout their lives. John was the greatest father and grandfather that has ever walked the face of this Earth.
John is also survived by two sons, John Thomas and wife Christine Lee, Throop and Justyn, Throop, two grandchildren, Gavin John and Makenzie Lee, three sisters, Kathryn “Mitzi” and husband William Demyan, Bayville, NJ, Barbara and husband Edward Walsh, Binghamton, NY and Catherine Krizauskas, Carbondale, four nephews, David, Roy, Edward and James, three nieces, Karen, Tina and Elaine.
John was preceded in death by a sister, Joan Molesky.
The funeral will be Wednesday from the Oliver Shifler & Scotchlas Funeral Home, Inc 62 N. Main St., Carbondale with Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 AM in St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 411 Church St., Archbald. Interment will be in St. Thomas Cemetery, Archbald with military honors. Friends may call Tuesday from 4 to 8 PM. Friends attending the mass are asked to proceed directly to church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: The V Foundation for Cancer Research, 14600 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513 or www.jimmyv.org
For directions or condolences visit: www.scotchlasfuneralhome.com