Ronald K. "Ron" richey was born on June 16, 1926 as a proud native of Erie, Kansas. His early years were spent in school and working in his father's drug store. After serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he went on to graduate from Washburn University in 1949 and the Washburn University Law School in 1951. After graduation, he served as an attorney with the Kansas Insurance Department and later as Legislative Manager for the American Mutual insurance Alliance of Chicago, Illinois. In 1964, he joined Globe Life and Accident Insurance Company in Oklahoma City as Vice President and General Counsel until being appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1976. He served in that capacity until 1980 when Globe Life was purchased by Torchmark Corporation, a Birmingham, Alabama corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In April 1982, Ron was elected President of torchmark and added the title of Chief Executive Officer and chairman of the Board in later years. He retired CEO in 1998 and as Chairman in 2002. The Wall Street Transcript recognized Ron as the outstanding insurance executive in the industry for 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. In 1989, Financial World named Ron as the first Place Winner for Life and Health Insurance in the CEO of the Decade Competition. He served as Preident of the Association of Oklahoma Life Insurance Companies and as a director of the American Council of Life Insurance and the Health Insurance Associateion of America. He also served on numerous civic and cultural boards, including the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center. In 1993, Mr. Richey received the Distinguished Service Award from Washburn Alumni Association, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas. He was named "Kansan of Distinction-Business" in 1987 by the Topeka Capital Journal. Mr. Richey received the honorary Doctor of Commerce Degree, as a distinguished alumni from the Washburn University in May 1989. Ron is survived by his wife of 60 years, Florence, whom he met at Washburn, three children, Linda Graves, the former First Lady of the State of Kansas; Robert, a retired insurance executive and founding member of the McHeadley Society, and Christopher, the CEO of Neosho Capital, as well as and six grandchildren from whom he derived great joy. He was an avid and devoted lifelong golfer and lover of dogs. Ron passed away peacefully in Colorado Springs, Colorado on August 25, 2010 surrounded by members of his family. He will be forever missed for his love, intellect, drive, loyalty, and renowned sense of humor. Services will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Topeka, Kansas, and birmingham, Alabama.
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Published in The Gazette on Aug. 27, 2010