Dr. John William Richter, 62, of East Jordan, passed away Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at his home. He was born Dec. 2, 1951 in Clare to Charles and Addie (Popp) Richter, and graduated from Midland High School in 1970. John then graduated from Michigan State University
as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1979.
He partnered with his brother, Dr. Tom Richter, at Freeland Veterinary Clinic in Freeland from 1979-84. In 1984, John moved to East Jordan with the dream of living "Up North," and to pursue his love and respect for the Jordan Valley. At that time, he started the Jordan Valley Animal Clinic, where he provided thirty years of compassionate care to thousands of animals and their beloved owners.
In his first years of business, John served on the East Jordan Family Health Center Board, became a member of the East Jordan Chamber of Commerce and served on the committee of the East Jordan Freedom Festival.
In 1990, he helped to found and become a devoted member of The Friends of the Jordan River Watershed. Serving as its President, he was instrumental in preventing drilling for oil and gas in the Jordan Valley, and fighting successfully the Alba Well injection of leachate from Bay Harbor into Antrim County. Dr. Richter was passionate about the preservation of the Jordan Valley, educating the community about bio-mass fuels and fracking, and educating the youth about the environment.
In 2008, he was chosen as East Jordan's Citizen of the Year. He was proudest of his accomplishments in earning the Environmentalist of the Year in 2008 with the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, and receiving its Clarence Kroupa Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, and the Friends of the Jordan "Honor Award" in 2009.
John is survived by his children, Lisa Christine (Kevin) Dunson-Richter of East Jordan, and Nathan Jarad Richter of Clare; grandchildren, Alicia (Mike) Whiteford, John Richards, Karlee Dunson, Karah Dunson and Katlynn Dunson; great-grandchildren, Alexis and Parker Whiteford; brothers, Charles Richter of Traverse City and Thomas Richter of Onaway; nieces and nephew; and significant other, Brenda Kirkpatrick of East Jordan. John is also survived by his former wives, MaryJo (Peacock) Richter of East Jordan, and Kerry Ovaitt of Clare.
John's parents preceded him in death.
John also leaves behind many close friends, including the staff and clients of the Jordan Valley Animal Clinic, and board members past and present of his beloved Friends of the Jordan.
His family thanks Hospice of Northwest Michigan, and its team of nurses Cindy and Julie and social worker, Bob.
Please join in a celebration of Dr. John W. Richter's life, from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, June 14, at the Friends of the Jordan Watershed Center, 101 Union Street, East Jordan.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, P.O. Box 412, East Jordan, Mich., 49727.
The Penzien Funeral Home in East Jordan is assisting the family.