George Thomas Richards, 87, of Simsbury, Connecticut, died Jan. 7 with family at his side after an extended illness. Born in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 3, 1932, he learned early on the value of hard work and perseverance, traits that served him well with various part-time jobs throughout his childhood and on into an adulthood that was marked by success by virtually every measure of human achievement.
He was the son of the late Barton and Elizabeth (Weingartner) Richards and attended New Castle public schools. A 1950 graduate of New Castle High and a 1954 graduate of Penn State University, he served our country honorably in the United States Army with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea from 1954-56 and then transferred to the inactive reserve until 1962. After his service in Korea, he went on to study business and marketing at Harvard Business School and earned his MBA in June 1958. He met his future wife, Ann, while he was studying at Harvard and he married her on Nov. 29, 1958. The two later settled in Connecticut, where they raised their family and established roots in the community together.
He lived a life of exemplary integrity and honor and expected the same from those around him. He was known for his sense of humor, his strong will and his eternal optimism. He pursued his professional dream of owning and running his own business and grew his company, Vitex Packaging, to be a world leader in packaging for tea and other goods, and he served on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Tea Association. He enjoyed traveling the world, history and, most especially, spending time with his family and friends.
He is survived by his four children: Thomas Richards of Simsbury, Connecticut, Barbara Karpiniski of Greenville, Rhode Island, Sally Lehr of Wayland, and Nancy Richards-Cavanaugh of Hopkinton, as well as their spouses: Kimberly Richards, Frank Karpinksi, Michael Lehr and Neil Cavanaugh; his 14 grandchildren, and a sister, Ann Brooks. He is predeceased by his parents and by his wife of 54 years, Ann (Stiegler) Richards.
A celebration of his life was held at First Church of Christ in Simsbury, Connecticut, on Jan. 18. Burial was to take place at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make donations in his memory to Simsbury Public Library (simsburylibrary.info), 725 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, CT 06070 or to Simsbury Land Trust (simsburylandtrust.org), P.O. Box 634, Simsbury, CT 06070. Visit George’s “Book of Memories” at vincentfuneralhome.com for online tributes.