John F. "Jack" Richards
1928 - 2021
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John F. ("Jack") Richards, an all around good soul, joined the Church Triumphant on Christmas Eve in Colorado Springs.

Born June 23, 1928, in Port Huron, Michigan, Jack graduated from Port Huron High School and Hillsdale College, before teaching junior high school for a year and then attending Iliff School of Theology at the University of Denver, where he was ordained as a United Methodist minister. He served as pastor to Johnstown United Methodist Church in Colorado before being called to active duty as a Chaplain in the United States Air Force. The love of Jack's life was his dear wife of nearly 60 years, Phyllis. They married August 23, 1953 and spent their lives sharing love, laughter, ministry and adventure courtesy of the Air Force.

Jack retired from the Air Force as a Colonel after thirty years on active duty, having served at bases throughout the United States, as well as in Madrid, Spain; Berlin, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; and Ankara, Turkey. As a boy, when Jack was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would say "preacher, teacher or diplomat" – and he ended up being all of those things, and more.

Jack ended his career where he started it: in Colorado, near his beloved Rocky Mountains. His final assignment for the Air Force was at Peterson AFB. He then was asked to help found Wilson United Methodist Church which originally met in the little ranch church at The Flying W Ranch in Colorado Springs, before fully retiring from active ministry.

The sermon his children best remember him preaching was entitled "I Am Third." His priority in life was God first, others second and himself third. Everyone who knew him will remember him for his kindness and compassion. He smiled constantly and anyone coming to care for him would leave with an encouraging word, because he cared deeply about every person as a child of God. Through his words and actions, he consistently demonstrated to all the meaning of unconditional love.

Jack was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis. He is survived by his sister-in-law Marge (John) Fountain, his children, Kent (Jody) Richards, Marie (Cal) Swartz, Brad (Amy) Richards and Mike (Laura) Richards, as well as eleven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. A memorial service for him will take place in 2021. To honor Jack's memory, you may donate to Pura Vida Ministries, a mission focused on promoting health and education to communities in the highlands of Guatemala, at

As the esteemed patriarch of his family, Jack gets the last word -- he asked only that he be remembered as one who loved people and gave himself to God.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Gazette on Apr. 7, 2021.