Sept. 5, 1920-Feb. 17, 2019
Ernest Charles Richards went to be with his Maker surrounded by his loving wife and beloved son on February 17th at the age of 98.
Dad was the only child of Maude and Ernest Richards and was born in Butte, Montana on September 5, 1920. He had cousins who lived next door whom he was close to.
He married the love of his life, Estella Jones, on October 20, 1945. He always said “he chased her until she caught him".
Chuck joined the U.S. Marine Corps in July of 1942 and left in 1946 where he served 18 months of that time in the South Pacific Theater.
He was a member of the United Methodist Church, a life member of Fidelity Lodge Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a life member of the Marine Corps League, a member of Mount Moriah #24 AF & AM, a member of Scottish Rite, served 56 years on the board of Mount Moriah Cemetery Association, Past President of the Butte Executive Club, past president of the Butte Uptown Association, past member of the Butte Kiwanis Club, and the first chairman of the Toys for Tots in southwestern Montana (a position he held for many years). He was awarded the Butte Rotary Club Good Citizen Award which was a very distinguished honor.
These are some of the facts but what about the essence of this man? He lived a life of loving and caring about others — quiet and unassuming providing for his family through employment at Town Talk Tailor Men's Store with a weekly salary of $28.70. Eventually he bought the business from Jim Spier and with a partner (Remo Rochelle) it became known as Richards & Rochelle Men's Store. Eventually his son Ernie, much to Dad's delight, became a partner and owner. The store went out of business just short of 100 years of existence. Customers loved shopping with them because of the wonderful service offered. They were known not only by name but by size and preferences.
He gave of his time and resources, generously expecting nothing in return. He was actively involved in the leadership of Mt. View United Methodist Church. The many volunteer hours spent on setting up, collecting, storing, and dispersing Toys for Tots toys are off the charts. He was tending to the least of his brothers and sisters. For those who were hungry he helped feed making a sandwich for another while making his own lunch.
When he saw a need to cloth someone, he quietly took care of it. His life exemplified the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. It was in the many small acts of kindness that made him a quiet but faithful servant. He was a role model that we would all benefit to follow.
Family was very important to him. He relished those times when we could all be together. Even though we were small in number we would enjoy playing games. He was a master at pretending like he didn't know how to play and end up winning. The kids would get a kick out it. He would just give them that smile of his and they knew they had been played.
If we visited in Butte and were there on a Sunday morning we were treated to his famous French toast. He didn't know much about cooking (as Mom can attest to) but this was his gift.
Chuck is survived by his wife, Estella; his two children, Rena (Wayne) Bucher and Ernest (Ernie) Richards, as well as, two grandchildren —Timothy Mullette, Julie Mullette, and a great-grandson, Kyle Mullette. Nieces and nephews include Jim Jones, Mary Anne Jones, Patty Armstrong and Robert J. Jones.
The family wishes to offer special thanks to the staff of Big Sky's Memory Care Unit for the loving and compassionate care provided. Also let us not forget the bananas. Dad's potassium levels must have been off the charts.
Chuck's cremation has taken place and a service of remembrance will be held at Wayrynen-Richards Funeral Home at a date yet to be announced with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers dad requested that memorials be sent to the Shriners Hospital for Children at 911 W 5th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204 or any charity that aids young children. Express condolences at www.wayrynen-richards.com.