By William C. Sexton
In 1966, I moved to St. Joseph, Missouri to work with the 10th and Lincoln street church of Christ. Shortly thereafter, I learned that a couple of families had moved to Beatrice, Nebraska. Upon my inquiry, I found that one of them was Bob and Viola Richardson, one son and two daughters. These families tried to worship with the congregation in the city, but found that their views relative to institutionalism, centralized control and social gospelism were too far apart to work together in good conscience. A new work was started, meeting at first in Richardson’s home. Over the years I preached for them several times. I saw them rent a small building across town and, a few years ago, purchase a building at 7th and Bell. Bob was a “rock” in the foundation, so to speak, of the work; he never gave up; he was always pushing onward and upward. They had another boy named Matthew.
Sunday morning he suffered a massive hemagogue, passing away around 1:00 p.m. Monday morning, February 23, I received a call,,brother David Odom telling of his death. Wednesday I was present and participated in the funeral services with David Odom, who works with the congregation, and Leon Odom from Midland, Texas conducting the services.
Brother Leon called him a “rock,” in the foundation, pointing to his contributions to the work and his influence in the community: the building was full of people, indicating his influence over the sixteen years in the community. Brother Leon has held a number of meetings over the years there and has known the family well. He pointed to the need for some one to pick up where Bob has left off and carry on – since neither Bob nor any of us are indispensable!
Hearts were sad to be sure, for the loss of a beloved, dedicated, faithful brother. There were no tears of hopelessness, however: we believe that he lived a faithful life. Of course, we do not know the real spiritual condition of any person’s heart and we do not mean to imply that we do; but he died in hope, and he left an example that we hope his children, wife, and friends will find worthy of reflecting on favorably and trying to live a better life.
Yes, a saint is dead. but we do not “sorrow” as those who “have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13ff). We are pleased to have had the opportunity of knowing and working with him, such a dedicated brother in this life. His passing is just a reminder that we all, too, shall pass and we do not know when. Let us labor then in hope, knowing that our labor is not in vain. Bob will be missed in Beatrice, Nebraska.
Guardian of Truth XXV: 20, p. 306
May 14, 1981