December 15, 1943 - March 2, 2022
Harold Richardson, 78, died suddenly March 2 of a heart attack. A long-time resident of Memphis, he was a retired school teacher and school librarian who was passionate about theatre and especially musical theatre. He was a dedicated supporter of Theatre Memphis where he and his wife, Cathy, were enthusiastic volunteers, but he also attended productions at other local theatres and when traveling. Harold Lee Richardson was born in Memphis on December 15, 1943 but spent many of his childhood years in Walnut, Mississippi and attended Walnut schools before his family moved back to Memphis. He remained close for the rest of his life to his many cousins and other family members in Tippah County. He and his brother James quickly adapted to Memphis and his warm personality soon made him numerous friends at Humes High where he graduated in 1962. After graduating from Memphis State University, as the University of Memphis was then named, he worked at William Bowld Hospital. His administrative work there did not excite him nor lead to a career, but it nonetheless played a major role in his life as he met his wife, Catherine Austin, there in January, 1966. The couple looked forward to celebrating their 50th anniversary this coming September 1st. Harold found his life’s work in teaching and was joined in this choice by his wife Cathy. He began his career in Monroe, Georgia but soon moved back to Memphis. Harold chose to work with young children and did not hesitate to accept assignments in inner city schools where he was both a positive male role model and an effective reading teacher. A shortage of librarians prompted him to move from the classroom to the school library, but he remained committed to promoting literacy and reading. He enjoyed helping young readers find the right book and saw the library as a vital ally to the classroom teachers. He loved Broadway musicals, classic movies, television sit coms and live theatre at all levels. At home he built an impressive collection of vinyl records, cassettes, DVDs and other recordings and linked his televisions and VCRs to a sound system that local movie theaters might envy. He could remember the names of supporting players in bit parts from black and white films found only on Turner Classic Movies even as he kept track of the careers of his favorite Broadway actors. Not a performer himself, Harold was happy to do all he could to share his love of theatre. By volunteering at Theatre Memphis, he helped make it possible for some to perform and for many others to enjoy live performances. He and Cathy especially liked working at auditions which they have been doing for almost forty years. During this time they formed many close friendships with local actors, Theatre Memphis staff and fellow volunteers. In 2008 Harold shared an award with Cathy as Volunteer of the Year and a second in the 2013-14 season for behind the scenes services to Theatre Memphis. He is survived by his wife, Catherine Austin Richardson, a brother James C. Richardson of Oakland, Tennessee, numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces. He leaves many close friends and was especially close to two first cousins, Malcolm L Richardson of Washington, D.C., and Gwen Ray Erwin of Olive Branch, Mississippi. Donations in his memory can be made to Theatre Memphis or a charity of your choice.
Harold Richardson, 78, died suddenly March 2 of a heart attack. A long-time resident of Memphis, he was a retired school teacher and school librarian who was passionate about theatre and especially musical theatre. He was a dedicated supporter... View Obituary & Service Information
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