RICHARDS, BOBBY JOE RICHARDS - was born on April 5, 1938, at King's Mountain Memorial Hospital in Bristol, Virginia, to Allie Louise (nee Shoecraft) and Clarence William Richards. He lived on the Tennessee side of Bristol and attended Bristol Tennessee High School until April 1955, when he joined the United States Air Force and went off to see the world. He served 21 years as a USAF Air Traffic Controller and retired at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, on June 1, 1976, where he had been assigned to the Air Traffic Control Division of the Communications Computer Programming Center since 1972. He served at numerous state side Air Force installations and overseas in Iceland (1958) Philippines (1963-1966) and the Republic of Vietnam (1968 Tet Offensive). After retirement, he made his home in the Oklahoma City area, and in May 1978 married Elizabeth 'Beth' Pitesa of Hueytown, Alabama. Bobby owned and operated several businesses before selling all of them and retiring in 2003. After retirement, he dedicated his life to making the landscape into a beautiful flowerbed. He planted anything and everything that made the surroundings more desirable to look at. He loved gardening with a passion found only in the eyes of God. He was a graduate of the Oklahoma State University Extension Service Master Gardener Program, class of 2006. He took great pride in giving advice to other gardeners to help them beautify tile countryside. Bobby was the oldest of four children and was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Elizabeth 'Beth' Pitesa; son, Robert Gregory of Moore, Oklahoma; daughter, Pamela Louise Lowe and her husband Tom of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; sister, Verna Gail Thomas and her husband Hartsel (Shorty), of Bristol, Tennessee; sister, Mary Jane Chowning and her husband Guy of Toledo, Ohio; brother, Randall Lee of Houston, Texas; grandchildren, Brice Andrew Cook, Schuyler Danielle Cook, and Alyssa Ann Duncan; great grandchildren, Ethan Nathaniel Cook, Elijah Jerome Williams, and Charlotte Casey Duncan; and many nieces and nephews. Bobby had many friends on FaceBook that he communicated with daily. He will be greatly missed by all. Bobby wanted to offer a special thank you to Optim Oncology for all the special care. Bobby was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Family and friends will meet at Berry Funeral Home, 3704 Chapman Highway at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 7, 2013, to go in procession to East Tennessee Veterans Cemetery for a 9:30 funeral service with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church of Guthrie, Oklahoma's Building Restoration Fund or the
. Local arrangements by Berry Funeral Home, Chapman Highway. Condolences may be offered at www.berryfuneralhome.com.
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Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on Nov. 7, 2013