SHELBURNE - Donald S. Richardson, 86, passed away on April 23, 2014, after a period of failing health. He died at the family homestead where he was born on Dec. 16, 1927 to Rose Alma (Beaulieu) and Clarence (Jim) Richardson. The homestead is located in the Fox Town section of Shelburne.
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Donald attended Arms Academy and married his wife, the former, Dorothy Crimmings on Feb. 16, 1951. As a young married couple, they built their family home and raised their children not far from the homestead which they later purchased from his mother in 1974.
As a young man Donald worked for Northeast Utilities, Bond Bread and Hathaway Bread. During the 1960's he worked for Rucki's Tires in Greenfield where he was lead tire salesman selling tires to garages and dealerships in southern Vermont and western Massachusetts.
In 1968, he achieved a lifelong dream of owning his own business. He purchased the former Archie's Luncheonette on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls and after some renovations reopened on Feb. 29, 1968 as the Foxtowne Coffee Shoppe. He later joked that he purposely opened on the 29th of February so that he only had to give away free anniversary coffee once every four years.
As a businessman, Donald was generous to those around him. While his children were attending Mohawk and for many years after he let the senior class "take over" the shop following the senior play to provide a safe and sober place to celebrate. He gained national notoriety when he held a 4th of July celebration over the Christmas holiday in 1971 to protest the commercialization of Christmas.
Despite his oft said "when I learn to cook" Donald was a great cook and his family will always hold a special place on their plates for his macaroni and cheese and creamed chipped beef. In the later years of owning the Foxtowne, he regularly held a "Sunday night supper" for many of the older, unattached members of the Shelburne Falls community. These eventually morphed into Thursday family night meals at the homestead that were held right up until the week he died.
Donald was known for his dry sense of humor, a willingness to help out people in need and the ever present cigar in his mouth.
In the mid-'70s he became a temporary, fill in mail carrier for the Shelburne Falls Post Office delivering mail for the rural route that covered Shelburne and parts of Buckland and Ashfield. Following the retirement of the regular postal worker, the position became full time and he continued to work for the postal service for 25 years while still owning and operating the Coffee Shop. After retiring from the postal service and selling the store he continued to work as a registry runner for Mirick Insurance until his final retirement in 2000.
Donald was involved in the community and helped form the Shelburne Falls Lions Club during the '70s and served as the club's Charter President. He was often found on the streets of Shelburne Falls selling the brooms, Claxton Fruit Cake and chocolate bunny rabbits which were the main fund-raising efforts for the club. When the club disbanded in 2009, he encouraged the club to give the majority of the remaining funds to local groups to benefit the people who for so long had supported the endeavors of the Lions Club. One such organization was the Shelburne Falls Military Band which was able to purchase a new PA system for use at their performances.
He was predeceased by his wife, who died in March 2014.
He is survived by his four children of whom he was very proud and their spouses: H. Russell (Paula) Richardson of Crummies Creek, WV, James (Nancy) Richardson, Juanita (Sabino) Epiceno, and Donna (Jim) Fitzpatrick, all of Shelburne; seven grandchildren: Alyssa (Sean) Collins, Jacob (Kristen) Richardson, Amber Richardson, Sabino (Brooksan) Epiceno, Jr., Angelina (Jim) Bragdon, Matthew and Amanda Wright; five great- grandchildren: Alvin and Cyrus Richardson, Seamus and Malakai Collins and Brianna Epiceno; two step-grandsons and four step-great-grandchildren.
Calling hours will be Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home, 40 Church St., Shelburne Falls.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at the First Congregational Church in Shelburne Center. Burial will follow in Hill Cemetery, Shelburne.
In lieu of flowers, it is suggested that memorial contributions be made to the Shelburne Free Public Library.
To send a message of condolence to the family, please visit:www.smithkelleherfuneralhome.com.
Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home Inc
40 Church St
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Published in The Recorder on Apr. 24, 2014