A Century of Memories: A celebration of the life of Mr. E.D. “Dudley” Richard
By Brittany Smith
Mr. E.D. “Dudley” Richard passed away on Friday, July 1, 2011.
He was the son of Eugene Franklin Richard and Minnie Pearl Moore Richard. He is survived by four daughters and four sons. Richard had 24 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren, and 14 great-great-grandchildren.
He celebrated his 100th birthday on January 9th.
In a story titled “The Good Life” published in the January 5 issue he stated that he was born in the Owl Creek area during a bitter winter storm, and according to him, it was a wonder that he made it through the night, much less lived to be 100.
“I probably weighed less than two pounds when I was born,” said Richards.
Mr. Richard experienced many historical events in his 100 years.
“I was already high school age during the worst of the Great Depression,” explained Richard. “That whole year, I only had $7.50 to my name.”
One of the proudest achievements in Mr. Richard’s life came in 1932 when he joined the first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in Unicoi County.
After serving in the CCC for 11 months, Richard returned home to McNairy County and married his wife, Mai Del.
Richard moved to Memphis around 1937, where he worked hauling lumber for contractors and attended the William R. Moore School of Technology, studying machinery and woodworking.
“I stayed there ‘till the War came on, then I went out to MacDonald Aircraft in Memphis. I was in charge of maintenance over the whole building. I was one of the first ten people hired there, and the last to leave after they moved the factory out, so I reckon I done my job during the War,” said Richard.
Richard moved back to McNairy County in 1948, where he spent most of his years working as a contractor.
He was a charter member of the Selmer Rotary Club.
He also built many finely-crafted pieces of furniture, established a scholarship at Union University in memory of his late wife, and even penned and self-published an “unofficial” history of McNairy County titled “The Yarns and the Cloth.”
When asked how he had managed to live so long and accomplish so much, his answer was short and simple: “I just see what I want to do and do it.”
As the owner of a blueberry farm, he also attributed his long and healthy life to the blueberry saying, “ They’re the best health food in the world.”