Dr. Claiborne Turner Richardson, a member of First Baptist Church in Petersburg, VA, from an early age, transitioned quietly and peacefully into eternal life on Friday, June 12, 2020. Dr. Richardson was born on September 25, 1927, to the late Eugene A. Richardson, Sr., and Ella Mae Taylor Richardson. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Lillian, Ernestine, Eugene Jr., Otelia, Louis, Charmaine and Taylor; and his daughter, Flora.
Dr. Richardson graduated from Peabody High School in Petersburg, VA, in 1945. He attended what was then Virginia State College and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education in 1949. He received a Master’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1956; a Professional Certificate in Music Education and Supervision from Columbia University in New York in 1968, and a Doctorate in Education Administration, Supervision and Human Relations from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., in 1976. In 1980, he received the Fulbright-Hays Program Award for Post-Doctoral Research. His subject was U.S. Army Col. Walter Howard Loving, Director of the Philippine Constabulary Band.
Highlights of Dr. Richardson’s career included serving as a research and evaluation specialist in the Office of Research and Evaluation with Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools; Senior Associate and Team Leader with the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Education, in Washington, DC; Assistant Dean of Fine Arts at Howard University in Washington, DC; the First Director of Instrumental Music activities at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Fairfax, VA; Director of Bands at Virginia State College in Petersburg, VA; and Band Director at Maggie Walker High School in Richmond.
Dr. Richardson was a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as First Vice President and Chair of the Political Action Committee of the Fairfax County Branch, NAACP. He also served for eight years on the College Board of Northern Virginia Community College. He was elected board vice chair in 1994, and chairman of the board in 1996. In 1992, Dr. Richardson co-founded the Reunion Music Society, Inc., a nonprofit organization designed to serve the community through music. In 1994, he founded, and was the first conductor of the Northern Virginia Community College/Annandale Symphony Orchestra, which was officially named the “orchestra-in-residence” of the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center at the college.
He was the recipient of the following selected awards: the Community Service Award, 1998, Fairfax County Branch, NAACP; the Undine Smith Moore Appreciation Award, 1997, Virginia State University; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, 1996, Black Women United for Action; the Human Rights Award, 1993, Fairfax County Government; and the Alumnus of the Year Award, 1993, Virginia State University.
His work at Virginia State was notable as he directed the famed “Marching 110,” which had a standing invitation to play halftime shows for NFL teams including: the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. These shows were nationally televised. Dr. Richardson played trombone and percussion with several bands, orchestras and jazz groups, often playing with notable musicians.
He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Elizabeth Olivia Jackson Richardson; his two children Cheryl Richardson Stephenson (Melvin), and Claiborne T. Richardson II, (Sharon); his grandchildren, Tamara Stephenson (Margaret), Toneka Stephenson, Lauren Richardson and Olivia Richardson; and his great grandchildren, Xavier, Hanna, Jordan and Joshua. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, Bernice, and many nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
Service will be held 5:00 P.M., Saturday, June 20, 2020 in the Chapel of J. M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc., 102 South Avenue, Petersburg, VA, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Tillman, Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White, Sr., and Rev. Dr. Clyde Johnson, officiants. The interment to follow at Blandford Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Capital Caring Health, Philanthropy, 3180 Fairview Park Drive, Headquarters/Suite 500, Falls Church, VA 22042 or to the Reunion Music Society, Inc., c/o Jeannie Perron, Treasurer, 422 N. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, or visit the website: www.reunionmusicsociety.org.
Please follow the CDC and State of Virginia guidelines.
J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc., 102 South Avenue, Petersburg, VA, (804) 732-8911, watch the funeral services live online at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.