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Robert Richmond

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Robert Richmond Obituary
Robert Richmond

Robert (Bard) Lewis Richmond, 67, passed away at home in Magnolia on December 20, 2017 surrounded by his wife and three sons after an awe-inspiring 3-year battle with multiple myeloma.

Bard pursued and achieved a life of excellence and joy. His accomplishments as an entrepreneur and business leader were vast, as were his philanthropic contributions. He personified the spirit of carpe diem. All of this served as the foundation of his devotion to his family, the deepest and greatest pride of his life.

Born in Boston, MA in 1950 to Martin and Miriam Richmond, he grew up flying with his dad, and became a licensed pilot at age 16. This passion continued throughout his life and has been passed on to his three teenage sons. Bard attended Belmont Hill School, and went on to MIT. He "dropped out" to play the electric bass in the band The Road Apples, which had a Top 40 hit in the mid-70s. Returning to MIT, Bard graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering.

Drawn by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Bard moved to Seattle and in 1983 co-founded Active Voice, a software company that would become the world's leading independent developer of PC based voice mail systems for enterprises. He was the CEO from 1983 to 1999 and under his leadership, Active Voice was recognized by both Business Week and Forbes Magazine as one of the "Best Small Companies in America" for 1994, and was among Inc. Magazine's "Top 500 Private US Companies" in 1992 and 1993. In 1990, Teleconnect Magazine named him "Telecom Person of the Year" and in 1994, he was named "Northwest Software Entrepreneur of the Year." Active Voice went public in 1993 and when sold to Cisco Systems in 2000 had over 400 employees, and offices worldwide.

During this time, Bard helped start Community Voice Mail, a nonprofit that helped 500,000 disadvantaged people find jobs and housing. As Chairman, Bard was awarded the prestigious Point of Light honor by President Bill Clinton in 1999 for "outstanding effort and commitment to bettering the lives of tens of thousands of poor and homeless."

Bard was a generous philan-thropist, donating to areas in which he, as a scientist, was well-versed, including MIT's McGovern Center for Brain Research, the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, the UW Institute for Learning and Brain Science, the UW CSE building, Seattle Academy, and others.

Along the way, Bard met Julie (Johnson) Richmond. They were married in 1998 and had identical twin sons (Eli and Max) one week after Active Voice was sold and Bard retired. Two years later, their son Owen was born. Over the next 15 years, Bard continued to pursue his interests in technology. But most of his attention was directed to travel and family - a time of adventure, learning and beauty that we are so grateful to have had.

He was fascinated by many subjects, from brain science, to space travel, to evolution, to quantum physics, to AI. Once diagnosed with multiple myeloma, he became expert on the disease, participating in medical trials and supporting research and development.

He had a profound love of the outdoors, hiking and camping (never car camping - always a long hike in and out!). He skied, snowboarded and snow-shoed. He loved kite boarding, doing tricks and jumps, having a blast with the sport until the last months of his life.

Bard was preceded in death by his parents, Miriam and Martin Richmond. He is survived by his sons, Eli, Max and Owen Richmond; his wife, Julie Richmond; his sister, Wendy Richmond; and many friends and relatives.

A celebration of his life will be held in 2018.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jan. 7, 2018
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