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Lonn Richards

d. November 8, 2018

Hillsboro – Lonn Richards, 87, died November 8, 2018 at Hillsboro Community Hospital.  He was born May 14, 1931 at Caldwell, Kansas to Porter and Ella (Balaban) Richards.  He married Beverly Kliewer July 24, 1965 in Henderson, Nebraska.  Survivors include: wife, Beverly Richards of Hillsboro; son, Brad (Stephanie) Richards of Springdale, Arkansas; daughter, Arlene (Leigh) McGonigle of Wichita; 2 grandchildren.  Celebration of Life Service 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at Parkview M.B. Church in Hillsboro.  Family will receive friends from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro.  Committal service 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at Gnadenau cemetery rural Hillsboro.  Memorials to Tabor College Music Department in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063.  Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com

Life Sketch Taken from the Funeral Bulletin

Lonn Edward Richards was born May 14, 1931, in Caldwell, KS to Porter and Ella Richards. He attended 1st through 8th grades in a 2-room school in Corbin, Kansas. He started taking piano lessons at age 9. He attended high school in Caldwell, KS and drove a 1931 Model A Ford to school. As a sophomore, he started playing clarinet and played in the band; he also accompanied the Boys Glee Club on piano. Lonn attended Emporia State Teachers College (now known as Emporia State University) for 2 years, then was drafted in the Army during the Korean War. He played in the 101st Airborne Division Band and later moved to Fort Monroe, Virginia where he played bassoon with the Norfolk Symphony. Lonn then returned to Emporia State after 2 years, where he directed the Men’s Glee Club of the Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity and they received first place in competition for 2 years. He also composed the “Sweetheart Song” of the Fraternity, which has become the national sweetheart song. He graduated in 1956 with a major in music education. His first teaching position was at Decatur Community High School in Oberlin, KS and taught 5th through 12th grades for six years. In 1961 he earned a Master’s degree at Wichita State University, attending only in the summers. In 1962 he moved to Buhler, KSf and directed band grades 9-12. He taught 13 years there and met his future wife, Beverly Kliewer, who also taught at Buhler High School. They were married in 1965 in Henderson, Nebraska. Son, Brad Allen, was born September 2, 1968 and daughter, Arlene Kaye, was born December 15, 1971.

It was while in Buhler Lonn asked the Lord Jesus to come into his life. His salvation verses were John 3:16, John 3:3, and Ephesians 2:8. Proverbs 3:5-6 also meant a lot to him. He was later baptized at Parkview M. B. Church after later moving to Hillsboro.

The family moved to Hillsboro, KS, in 1975 when Lonn accepted the call to come to Tabor to serve as Assistant Professor of Music Education/Director of Bands and retired after 23 years of teaching. During this time he also played clarinet in the 5-piece Schnigglefritz German Band at local events and also composed the “Schnigglefritz Polka.” After retiring from Tabor, he was privileged to perform in a couple of chamber recitals at the College, playing clarinet. Music was his passion and he enjoyed working with his students, encouraging excellence and musicality on their instruments. He loved his family and contributed to the work of the church and being involved in the community, such as the Kiwanis Club.

Lonn was a resident of Parkside Homes for his last several years. He was promoted to heaven November 8, 2018. He is survived by his wife, Beverly; a son Brad Richards (Stephanie) of Springdale, AR; a daughter Arlene (Leigh) McGonigle of Wichita, KS and two grandchildren, Alyson McGonigle and Braden Richards.

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9 thoughts on “Lonn Richards

  1. My deepest sympathies to the Richards family. Lonn holds a special place in my heart. I greatly cherish my years spent at Tabor, playing in the Symphonic and Pep Band, and my lessons with Lonn. He will be greatly missed. I think of him often as I’m teaching MY Band students. So thankful that he’s now playing in God’s Heavenly Band.

  2. Lonn was a very talented musician and a great story teller. But above everything in his life he had great faith and a wonderful testimony. Brother-in-law, you will be greatly missed.

  3. My condolences to the Richards family. He tried so hard to get me to play the piano even a little well. His bands were always fun to play in, a quick wit and always pursued excellence in the ensemble and each of the instrumentalists.

  4. My condolences and prayers for the family. Lonn was a great influence in my life, first at Buhler, then later at Tabor. I have played under many conductors, but Lonn’s ability to produce feelings and tonal variations were unmatched by any other. He was a good friend and a cherished mentor. We will all miss him.

  5. Karen Richards- Sister-in-law
    I and my family were so sorry to hear of Lonn’s death. We spent many holidays with Lonn, Bev and their children. Thank you for that memory. Although Lonn and I had some differences in beliefs and
    view points, I respected him for his views and hope he did the same
    for me. We will miss him at family reunions, We love you, Bev, and
    give you our condolences at this time.

  6. Lonn started me on tuba in the spring of 1961; I have continued playing for 57 plus years. I owe much to him and am sorry to learn of his passing.

  7. As a colleague of Lonn’s for five years, I was blessed by his positive attitude, delightful sense of humor, passion for music (performance and education), and his humble dedication to the Lord. I will remember him with fond admiration.

  8. When I moved to Haven to teach, Lonn was in Buhler and making beautiful music with the Buhler Band. Because it was close I used Lonn as a resource for my growth as a band director. He was such a support. Full of wisdom and willing to share with band directors in the area. When he moved to Tabor he continued to be in touch and was a constant when I needed help or advise. He is another of the wonderful band directors that has made a big impact on the band music of Kansas. He will be missed.

  9. I am so blessed that Lonn and Beverly were my instructors while I was a student at Buhler High School 1961-65. I played tuba in the Buhler HS band, and Beverly was my piano instructor. I remember being so amazed at his clarinet skills. Both Lon and Beverly were a major influence toward my decision to become a music educator, and to eventually earn a doctorate in vocal performance. Lonn was a fine band director, always pursuing excellence and demanding musicality.
    He made a tremendous impact on the students who were fortunate enough to have him as an instructor. Blessings and condolences to the family.

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