Jon Richards: 61 Years Young

Jon Richards (on the right, of course) Waves Sine Die. Photo by the AJC’s Ben Gray

Jonathan Blair Richards, (November 27th, 1955-March 26, 2017) died today after a brief battle with cancer. In this overview of his life we ask that you not focus on the years cut short, but the fact that Jon made the most of the years he had with us.

Jon was born the son of the late Glenn Richards and Caroline Richards, now of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the brother of Amy Richards of Pasadena, California and Anne (Andrew) McFall of Sarasota, Florida. He was most proud of being the uncle of Cal, Matthew, and Stuart McFall, for whom he was often the designated pumpkin carver and the official distributor of presents found under the tree on Christmas morning.

Uncle Jon and Matthew, as official distributor of Christmas Presents found under the tree.

Jon graduated from Indian Hill High School in Cincinnati, OH and then went on to Allegheny College in Allegheny, PA where he graduated in 1977 with a degree in Communications. Shortly thereafter, he followed a friend who had advised him Atlanta was the place to be, and he eventually settled in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He had the good fortune to move next door to Pat and Danny Dobbs. They began Jon’s long history of amassing Georgia friends and planting roots now firmly entrenched in Gwinnett and Georgia civic and political circles.

Uncle Jon & Stuart, circa 2010-ish

Jon’s career began with Samna, which eventually became LOTUS, which eventually became part of IBM. Somewhere along the way he got ahead of the tech bubble and began creating web-based businesses which he grew and eventually sold. He operated one of the first online weather services, Lawrencevilleweather.com By all tangible measures, Jon was a successful independent and self-made businessman.

Jon, the family’s pumpkin carver, and oldest nephew, Cal

Jon was an active member of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Republican Party, and various other civic, social, and political organizations. He wasn’t “active” in the “member in good standing” meaning of the term. Jon was active in that he was always moving, always doing, always contributing. There was a constant theme in everything Jon did: Always helping.

Jon had a love of photography and was the semi-official photographer of many Georgia civic and political groups. His ubiquitous presence at Georgia GOP events and subsequent photo albums landed him an invitation to contribute to the Georgia-focused political website PeachPundit, where he quickly became the Front Page Editor. When his contributors reorganized into GeorgiaPol.com, Jon led the new publication as Editor-in-Chief.

Jon was a bit of a contrarian in political circles, as he was someone that eschewed the limelight, but instead preferred to remain behind the scenes. He strove to ensure that events were well planned and professionally executed. While having strong beliefs of his own, his overall goal was that the political processes and systems he participated in to be fair, transparent, and productive.

Jon with some of the young leaders he’s worked with.

Perhaps Jon’s most lasting achievement was his mentorship of dozens of teen and college age students interested in politics. Jon devoted countless hours developing meaningful relationships with those desiring to be future leaders, helping them understand the current role of politics and politicians. He, in turn, spent as much time listening as he did teaching. As such, he learned about them, and is one of the state’s foremost experts on millennial trends affecting Georgia Republican politics today.

Jon has passed at the all too young age of 61. While many of us will experience a great void created by our loss, we are grateful for the quiet and steady leadership of Jon Richards who made the most of his time and talents to make Georgia a better place to be.

We anticipate a Celebration of Life service for Jon this Wednesday evening, in Gwinnett County. We will update here as plans are finalized with time and location.

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Jon Richards honored in Georgia House as ‘powerful force for good’ | Political InsidergcpGeorgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2017 - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections - GaPunditComments R UsNoway2016 Recent comment authors
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gaexpert
gaexpert

So long John…you can rest knowing that you made the world a better place. See you on the other side.

buzzbrockway
buzzbrockway

Sad news. Jon was a good guy. I’m glad I had a chance to know him.

Charlie, thank you for being such a good friend to Jon. I’m sure he appreciated it.

xdog
xdog

I knew Jon from these pages and noticed early on that he was always informative and helpful.

I’m very sorry for the death of your friend.

IrishPat
IrishPat

Jon, a life well lived.

Charlie, thanks for all you have done to help Jon through his last days.

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RIP Jon Richards, a conservative chronicler of Georgia politics | Political Insider

[…] Our friend Charlie Harper at GeorgiaPol.com wrote a touching tribute to Jon here. Among the most stirring passages was this one about his legacy: […]

Noway2016
Noway2016

Godspeed, Jon. Condolences to Charlie and Jon’s family.

Tom Krause
Tom Krause

Recently on this site, someone posted that Jon was always good for a conversation. I will miss those greatly. I first met Jon in 2010 when he was working for Sam Olens and I was working for Max Wood — running against each other for A.G. I had just left the newspaper business and was breaking into politics via campaigns. A few years later, reading his missives on this site, I found that he had an uncanny ability to break down difficult topics into simple English. Yet, he never lost the context or complexities and always managed to see the… Read more »

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Georgia Politics, Campaigns, and Elections for March 27, 2017 - Georgia Politics, Campaigns and Elections - GaPundit

[…] From Charlie Harper at GeorgiaPol: […]

gcp
gcp

A very knowledgeable voice particularly in regards to the workings of the legislature. He will be missed by all.

trackback
Jon Richards honored in Georgia House as ‘powerful force for good’ | Political Insider

[…] Our friend Charlie Harper at GeorgiaPol.com wrote a touching tribute to Jon here. Among the most stirring passages was this one about his legacy: […]