Times have been hard for those from my little home town recently – shortly after Christmas, a much-loved local passed away following a tragic accident; the weeks after saw the town lose two other beloved residents. This type of thing is hard on a community like ours – we all know each other, and while we may have our differences from time to time, we also love each other deeply and care so much about each other. So, losing one of our own is rough – and so far this year our grief has just multiplied.
There are some hard things about coming from a small town – limited options, lack of resources, no Starbucks, and a distinct lack of privacy. However, those are also some of the very best things, too – limited options make it a hell of a lot harder to get in trouble (although I tried….good Lord, but I tried); a lack of resources leads to a tremendous amount of creativity (you’d be absolutely shocked if I told you the way that my twisted little mind actually works! All that thinking? Honed in my small hometown ); we didn’t have Starbucks at home, but we had local coffee shop/arcade/restaurant/bus stop Sportsman’s Inn, which was 50 million times better than any frappucino could ever be (not to mention the egg salad they served….so yummy); and the lack of privacy could be a real blessing at times – while it was damn near impossible to get away with anything in my hometown (again, I tried), and the news of anything that you did do when you were out and about often made it home before you did (no joke), it was really kind of nice to know that an entire little community cared about you. It was kind of like having a whole lot of older brothers/sisters to watch over you (and laugh at your stupidity from time to time)…I’m glad I grew up in a place where I was raised by an entire community, where I could leave on my bike first thing in the morning and return many, many hours later following a fun-filled day at the pool, lunching at Chicken Delight (on onion rings…which I thought were the pinnacle of glamorous eating back in the day!), a quick visit to a friend’s house to watch TV, and back to the pool. When I returned home after swimming was over, my parents weren’t worried – they knew roughly where I was all day, and they’d probably had updates from different community members who had seen me zipping by on my bike, swim towel wrapped around my shoulders and flying behind me like a cape…there was nothing to worry about. I miss those simpler times, don’t you?
My community had another important person pass away recently – this man had been a teacher of mine, the Vice Principal of our little K-12 school for a long time…he later became my colleague, and my friend. I loved being in his classes because he was one of the greatest, most gifted teachers I have ever seen – his joy at working with young people was unparalleled. We always prided ourselves on being able to distract him, get him off topic, get him telling us stories – and getting out of doing work. We thought we were so sneaky! In hindsight, I learned way more about the world and life and important things like that from those conversations than I ever did from our actual lessons. He was a man of the world, an exotic creature brightening up our small-town lives with his tales of wearing Speedos on the beaches of Europe, his stint as a male model in London, and the zillions of other stories he had – there was no end. And I loved every second of it. When I became a teacher, he wrote a letter of recommendation that helped me get hired for my first job, and we ended up being coworkers for five years. I joined his carpool for a couple of years, and he and I had some of the very best conversations I’ve ever had in my life, driving up and down Hwy 6 in Manitoba. During that time, I picked up tons of tips and ideas for not only handling the ups and downs of the education business, but also about life. This man was a big believer in integrity, in doing what’s right, and good things happening to good people. He had very little tolerance for the bullshit game playing and politics that plague the education industry more and more these days, which is what ultimately led to his retirement from the profession he so dearly loved. Things were never the same after he left – the school felt different, and the vibe had completely changed. I left not long after he did.
I heard that Al passed away a couple of weeks ago, and my heart felt heavy and sad. I thought of his family, and their loss and sadness – one that is shared by every student that sat in front of him during his many years in the classroom. I looked up his obituary online, and read about his family and what they had written…and then I scrolled down to the guestbook, where people could leave tributes and remembrances. What I read there was pure magic – so many students from his many years had written beautiful words and stories of what he had meant to them. The stories were great, and a fitting tribute to a great man. I added my piece to the book as well. We should all aspire to live the kind of life that results in people thinking of you like this:
-Mr. Richardson was a truly remarkable person – a mentor, a teacher and a friend. Anyone who had the honor of being his student received a blessing.
-It’s been many years since high school, and memories indeed fade, but Mr. Richardson’s classroom and the lessons learned there remain with me forever. It was always exciting to be in his class, and he taught in such a way that few teachers can. He forever challenged our brains, and made high school learning fun. He was a kind man both in and out of the classroom. This loss is felt by the many, many people whose lives he enriched. God Bless!
-I have fond memories of Mr. Richardson. It was always fun to get him off topic in class. I think I learned more from those conversations than the lesson. My sympathies to his family.
-I was very sad to hear about Mr. Richardson’s passing. Erin and I had just been talking about him on the Friday before. He was our Computer Science teacher as well. Like many other students, we thought we were pretty clever to get him talking about something unrelated to our class and having a great debate. I specifically remember being in his class (working on our little TRS-80 computers) learning to write basic code when we were interrupted by Mr. Mackie with the news that the space shuttle had exploded. He made a very positive impact on a lot of people, his family should be proud. My condolences to his family.
-Great teacher, coach and friend. Condolences to the family.
-I had the pleasure of having Mr Richardson for a teacher for 3 years and gained so much knowledge from him. I looked forward to every class he taught until we moved from Lundar in 1974 at the end of my grade 11th year. He encouraged me to expand my knowledge and to never let up on learning. He was the best teacher I ever had and I was so very fortunate to have him add to my learning. Thank you Mr Richardson for all you brought to our lives.
-I only had Mr. Richardson for Computer Science, but he was always amazingly patient and kind with his students. There were more than a few classes where we would get him off topic and he would start telling stories, which were awesome. RIP and condolences to his family. He was a great guy!
-My sincere condolences to Christine and all of the family. I first met Al shortly after he started teaching in Lundar. He taught both of my kids. We became colleagues when I started working in the Lundar School Library. Al and I had many interesting conversations in that library. Al was a very intelligent man, with a great sense of humour. He was wonderful to work with and was a great friend for many years. I have thought of Al so many times since he left Lundar School. Rest in peace, my friend.
-My dearest sympathies and condolences go out to Mr. Richardson’s family and friends. He was an awesome teacher and will be missed by many students who he left so many fond memories with.
-Mr. Richardson was one of my favourite teachers. I always loved hearing his stories of backpacking through Europe. I’ll never forget the first time he brought us burgers from the burger factory. He brought a lot of spirit and fun to Lundar school. He was a good man and he will truly be missed. My condolences to his family. My heart is with you at this time. R.I.P Al Richardson
-I had Mr. Richardson as a teacher in Lundar, in fact I am the youngest of 5 girls in my family and we all had him and enjoyed his classes. He was a great teacher. We also had the pleasure of living next door to the Richardson family for a few years when they moved to Lundar. Later in high school when he and his family moved to Winnipeg me and my friend Angie would catch a ride into the city on Friday’s after school with Mr. “R” because we just had to get into the “Big City” and we’d all chat the entire way about family and what we all had planned for the weekend. Thank-you Mr. Richardson for being such a wonderful teacher, making class interesting, a good friend and neighbor. My condolences to the family, he will be sadly missed.
-Al was vice principal when I taught at Lundar. Friday after school every Christmas and March break, Al would drive me to the airport to catch my plane to Ontario for the holiday. He would never take any money for gas for the favour because that’s the way he was, thoughtful and kind. What he would take was the bottle of Ottawa Valley maple syrup I’d bring for him. My sympathy to Christine and family.
-My sincere sympathy Christine and family on the loss of your beloved husband and father. Lundar certainly benefitted from Al’s years here and my three sons were lucky to have had him as a teacher and mentor. His quiet manner, encouragement, and sense of humour made him a very special teacher. We will always remember him with respect and affection.
-A great man that left wonderful memories in the hearts of countless students in the Lundar/Eriksdale area. RIP Mr. Richardson. My sincerest condolences to the Richardson family.
-I had Mr. Richardson from 1977 to 1980 at Lundar School during senior high. He was the best teacher I ever had and there was never a dull moment in his class. He would ask us what we were interested in learning, we told him and he taught us. His stories made us his friend. My condolences to his family.
-My deepest condolences to all of the family – Al was a fantastic educator, person, and friend. I had the pleasure of being his student for years, and then I was lucky enough to teach in the classroom next to him (and be a passenger on the carpool ride to Lundar). This sweet, kind man had more knowledge, compassion, and humor in him than I could possibly express. I think of him often – as I know all of us kids from Lundar School do. Rest well, my friend – and thank you for everything.
-Al was such an awesome teacher. Without his support I don’t think I would have finished high school. He was always thinking of new ways to get us involved in his classes. He was greatly missed after retirement and will be missed even more. Another great man has been taken from us.
-Al was a wonderful Teacher. He always had a great story to share from life experiences. Mr. Richardson always looked for the good in our class, when nobody else would take us on a field trip, because we misbehaved sometimes, Mr. Richardson believe we still deserved one and took us on a field trip not once but twice. I will alway have good memories from his class. Condolences to his family, he will be missed by all.
-Condolences to the Richardson family, he was an awesome teacher and a good man. I feel blessed to have known him and have had him as my teacher.
-Our condolences to Mr. Richardson’s family. He was well loved by all……
-MR.RICHARDSON was my home room teacher and he always had a great sense of humor. there was never a dull moment. he will be greatly missed
-From kindergarten to grade 12, mr richardson was by far my favorite teacher….i always looked forward to his classes especially in high school…he was a very interesting, intelligent man… I have so many memories of him!!!! Rest in peace mr richardson, god bless….
-Mr. Richardson aka Al classes were always unique. He was a great teacher. Condolences go out to his family.
-Mr. Richardson had a way of drawing his students in to wanting to learn. He gave his heart and soul to teaching and he cared about his student. My sincerest condolences to Christine and family.
-Mr. Richardson was a one of a kind teacher. I will never forget the memories we shared in his classes. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
-It’s a sad day! Mr. Richardson was one of the great educators. Of all the teachers I had in school he was one of the teachers I remember the most. Of all the years that passed (and there is a few) I still remember him making class interesting and exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed his class. He was always willing to help when needed and very dedicated to his students. Thank-you Mr. Richardson for making my high school years great. You will be truly missed.
-Mr. Richardson was the best teacher in Lundar. There was never a dull moment in his classes, our goal for the start of his class was alway trying to get him off topic. He loved to share all his exciting stories with us. He will always be rememberd as he touched so many of us Lundar students!! My condolence to his family and loved ones.
-Mr. Richardson was not only a great teacher but a great listener, role model and a great person. He was always positive and had great patience with all of the teenagers he had to put up with. RIP and condolences to the family
-The man must have been a prophet, because well before we all could undestand the impact his teachings would have on us, he knew the course of our future would be hugely influenced by what his class was preparing us for. I came across his name at my work but I did not have the opportunity to see him face to face, to thank him for the great job he had done in showing us the way forward and how great an influence he was in showing us the future that is now our reality. Maybe it is fitting that we all gather here on the internet to remember and immortalize him in the 1′s and 0′s that he first introduced us to many years ago, with his great vision. Thanks AL.
-Al was an awesome teacher, everybody liked him, and he always made it to work despite road conditions, we always enjoyed hearing his life stories when he travelled in his younger years. He is a great man and will never be forgotten. Condolences to the family. Rest in piece Al (Mr .Richardson)
-I feel blessed to have known Mr. Richardson, he was an amazing teacher….and great person. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.
-I remember when Mr. Richardson started teaching in Lundar, he was my Grade 10 teacher. He was always my favorite teacher, could always go to him and he always took the time to listen, He also taught my daughter, we have many good memories of him. Sending my deepest condolences to Christine and his family…Rip Mr. Richardson
-Mr. Richardson was a great teacher!! He was the first teacher to let us call him Al, and make us younger kids feel like high-schoolers. He was one of the best! Sympathies and condolences go out to his family.
-A great teacher, so dedicated to the students of Lundar School. Rest in Peace Mr. Richardson (Al). Condolences to his family
-I have been finished school for many years but Mr. Richardson was always a man to bring your spirits up and I looked forward to being in his class. as well he used to drive us to hockey in his Mini Cooper because the Camaro didn’t have enough room!!!! RIP Mr. Richardson and my deepest condolences to all of your family!!
-My sympathies go out to Mr. Richardson’s family. Mr. Richardson taught me many subjects throughout jr high and high school, he was a great teacher!
-mr. richardson, was a great teacher, always had a story to tell to help the class go by faster
-Mr. Richardson was an awesome teacher. There was never a dull moment in his classes. He will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his familly. God Bless You All.
-My deepest heartfelt condolences to Mr Richardson’s family and loved ones. Have alot of great memories of Mr Richardson, he was one of a kind.
-Mr. Richardson was a favourite teacher of mine, and my mother’s as well. He brought humour and joy to every class. Great guy. My thoughts are with his family at this time.
-One of the best people I’ve ever come across in my life. Always had a smile even when dealing with us rotten kids lol. So many good memories so many great life experiences. Rip Mr. Richardson. You will always be remembered and thought of with highest regards.
-One of my favorite teachers. He did a lot for the school and community of lundar. Always seemed so dedicated, to us the students
-Please accept my heartfelt condolences. Mr. Richardson leaves us with fond memories. Praying for peace and strength at this time for his family and friends. God Bless.
-It was an honor to be his student. Always enjoyed his stories in geography about his travel days. He was a fabulous teacher. Rest in Peace Mr. Richardson
-Please accept my heartfelt condolences, Mr. Richardson leaves us with many fond memories, praying for family and friends to have peace. God bless.
-I always enjoyed his classes!!! He was a great man and teacher. Condolences to his family
-Mr. Richardson was a teacher of mine. He instructed me in Computer Science and Law. He was a great teacher and it was my honour to be his student.
May we all find a way to leave behind a legacy like this. Rest in peace, friend.