John A. Richard

John A. Richard

EAST HERKIMER – John A. Richard, age 79, passed away Saturday, June 8, 2024, of a heart attack, after battling kidney disease, bladder and liver cancer, with the love and support of his devoted family at his side.

John was born on September 4, 1944, in Herkimer, a son of the late Ross and Mary (Kowalski) Richard. A lifelong East Herkimer resident, he graduated from Herkimer High School with the class of 1962. In 1965 he was drafted into the US Army, where he quickly rose to the rank of Sergeant. John was a born leader. He was responsible for teaching the Pershing Missile to our allys. He was quickly recognized for his no-nonsense common sense and intelligence. He was employed on his family farm from an early age, a place he was proud of and lived his entire life. As he got older, he was employed as a school bus driver, along with his two brothers, for his father’s bus company, Ross Richard Bus Company, where he lives on in the memories of so many Herkimer students who rode his bus. He loved to tell his stories of how he settled kids’ grievances on the bus. He bought his own mechanic shop, Patterson’s Garage, in East Herkimer. His last employment began in 1970, one he embraced as a commitment that he was proud of being reelected every two years for 44 years as the Town of Herkimer Highway Superintendent. He was committed to this position and held many leadership positions within the state organizations.

On October 7, 1967, he married the love of his life, Giovina ‘Jean’ (Natarelli) Richard, a devoted union of 57 years, until his passing. While they lived down the road from each other growing up, they met for the first time at Moffitt’s Beach, in Speculator, NY, when Jeannie and her friend Linda Comstock’s tent was ruined from pouring rain. John and Jeannie never left each other’s side after that day. He went into the Army the following week and proposed to Jeannie through the mail. He sent a catalog in the mail from the barracks in Oklahoma and she circled all of the rings and mailed it back to him. From this happy union, they had four children, John, Ross, Jason and Cheryl. John created a life for his family full of laughter and love. He was the person everyone called to help solve any problem, whether it be a serious real-world issue or a puzzle. He was analytical and had a boat load of common sense. When he spoke, everyone listened. He was an amazing story teller and over the years he had gathered quite a few of his own stories to tell. No one went without with Dad, he always came through no matter how big or small the problem was.

He was a member of the American Legion, Life Member of the East Herkimer Fish and Game Club, an Honorary Life Member of the Herkimer County Town and Village Superintendents Association, an Exempt Member of the East Herkimer Fire Department, a Life Member of the Salisbury Ridge Runners Club and a member of the Lake Pleasant/Speculator/Piseco Fish and Game Club, as well as the Town Superintendents Association of the State of New York. He loved to gather and have a good time. His family get togethers are legendary, and Christmas Eve at the Richard house was particularly memorable over the years. He enjoyed sports of all natures. When he was younger, he was on many bowling and softball leagues, but he smiled biggest at the fourth of July Speculator Softball tournament rivalry. Moffitt’s Beach was his place of peace and joy. He loved to sit on the porch and talk to everyone who stopped over to visit. He was able to visit one last time on Memorial Day weekend. John was never happier than being surrounded by his loving family and enjoying life! You could find him at every sporting event of his ten grandchildren, Hunter, Alexis, Rory, Giovanni, Jesse, Marcella, Avery, Ross, Braysen and Gunnar, always present and interested in supporting their success, he was immensely proud of his grandchildren.

While in and out of the hospital in the last days of his life, when folks mentioned to him his devoted family, he would simply reply “Family is everything”. He taught his entire family this important lesson. He was immensely important to his family and will forever be in their hearts and minds.

Surviving is his wife, Jean Richard and their children, John (Gina) Richard, of Barneveld, Ross (Stacy) Richard, of East Herkimer, Jason (Jeanne) Richard, of East Herkimer and Cheryl Richard Venettozzi, of East Herkimer; ten grandchildren, Hunter, Alexis, Rory, Giovanni, Jesse, Marcella, Avery, Ross, Braysen and Gunnar; as well as several special sister and brothers-in-law, Rose and Dave Grubner, Louie and Raeann Natarelli, Harold Sudakow and Patsy and Chris Weeden; nieces, nephews and cousins; extended family; and special friend, Oscar Slack. If you were his family, his heart was like a blanket that kept you safe and warm.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his two brothers, Charles and Ross Richard; his sister-in-law, Joann Sudakow; and his best friend, Steve Kucerak.

Calling hours at the Enea Family Funeral Home, 220 North Washington Street, Herkimer, will be on Friday, June 14, 2024, from 1- 3 p.m. and 5 – 7 p.m. Members of the East Herkimer Fire Department will pay their respects, in a body, at the funeral home, on Friday evening, at 6 p.m. The Funeral Service will follow on Saturday, June 15, 2024, at 11 a.m., at St. Mary’s Cemetery, East Herkimer, with full military honors. A Celebration of Life will follow at the VFW in Herkimer, following the interment at the cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, as an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Arrangements have been planned with the Enea, Ciaccia & Applegate Funeral Directors (315) 866-1011.

An online memorial page is available at