May 31, 1939 – November 18, 2020
Bonham “Bon” Churchill Richardson peacefully passed away on November 18, 2020, at Foxdale Village in State College, Pennsylvania, with both daughters by his side.
Bon was born on May 31, 1939, in Houston, Texas, to Carl and Lourene Richardson. His childhood was spent in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Tucson, Arizona, he graduated from Tucson’s Catalina High School as valedictorian in 1957. Bon attended the University of Arizona and was an active member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in Geography. After serving in the U.S. Army for two years and working for General Electric for a year in Chicago, he returned to academic pursuits, earning both his M.S. (1968) and Ph.D. (1970) in Geography at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He held faculty positions at California State University at San Bernardino and Rutgers University until he joined the Geography Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 1977, where he remained until his retirement in 2003. Bon and his wife, Linda, moved back to Tucson, Arizona, in 2003, where he became an active member of the St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church. When his health began to decline around 2015, Bon moved to State College, Pennsylvania, where both daughters reside with their families.
In his academic career as a cultural geographer, Bon received major grants from the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation supporting his field and archival research in Guyana, Grenada, St. Kitts, Barbados, London, and Washington, D.C. These grants and research experiences resulted in a fruitful career replete with publications and professional presentations. He authored five books based on his cultural and historical research in the Caribbean. During his tenure at Virginia Tech, he was also a visiting research fellow in the Department of History at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Geography at University College, London.
Bon married Linda (Buchholz) Richardson in 1968 and together they had two daughters, Eliza and Lucy. The family of four experienced several years abroad both in the Caribbean and in England. Notably, Bon and Linda received a research grant from the Ann U. White Fund of the Association of American Geographers that supported their spousal research partnership over the summers of 1996, 1997, and 1998 in England. This joint work contributed to Bon’s last published book, Igniting the Caribbean’s Past.
Bon was preceded in death by both his parents, his sister, Mary Helen Richardson, and his wife of 39 years, Linda (Buchholz) Richardson. He is survived by his youngest sister, Lucy Masterman of Tucson, Arizona; his older daughter, Eliza Marone (Chris) of State College, Pennsylvania; his younger daughter, Lucy McClain (Casey) of State College, Pennsylvania; and countless friends, students, and colleagues spanning multiple states in the U.S. and countries across the globe. Grandpa Bon and his “School of Sports” will be missed by seven grandchildren, Victoria, Daniel, Linda, Constantino, and Massimo Marone and Conary and Eamon McClain. Bon’s family would like to thank the fantastic professionals at Elmcroft of State College and Foxdale Village for their years of care, compassion, and love provided to Bon. A heartfelt thank you to Tyson Daniels, Bon’s caregiver and best friend over the past five years in State College. Bon will be remembered as someone who was an avid sports fan (especially of the St. Louis Cardinals), quick-witted with a great sense of humor, an intellectual and worldly experienced storyteller, and a loyal brother, husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many.
To send online condolences go to www.bennettandhouser.com.
Published by Roanoke Times on Nov. 23, 2020.