Lydia "Jean" (Gordon) Richards

September 11, 1936 ~ December 29, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old

Lydia "Jean" Richards Obituary

Lydia Jean Richards, known fondly as Jean to her family and friends, passed away at home in Cowden, Illinois, on December 29, 2023, at the age of 87. Born on September 11, 1936, in Dry Point Township, Cowden, the daughter of the late Everett and Louester (Giles) Gordon. 

Jean, a 1953 graduate of Cowden High School, embarked on a life of service and dedication that touched many lives within Shelby County. On June 19, 1954, she married the love of her life, Merlyn "Pete" Richards, and together they built a life filled with joy, hard work, and an ever-growing family. Jean's legacy includes her beloved husband, Pete; their children, JR (Tina) Richards, Bob (Mona) Richards, Sherri (Jim) Kenworthy, and Tim (Marsha) Richards, all of Cowden; her cherished 12 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren, with two more blessings on the way and brothers, Gary Gordon and Jimmie (Christine) Gordon of Beecher City.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents and brothers, Stanley, Leroy, Morris, Dale, Frank, and Larry.

Jean dedicated 34 years to public service at the Shelby County Courthouse, retiring in 1998 as the Shelby County Clerk. Her commitment to her community was further exemplified through her active membership in the First Christian Church in Cowden, where she was a beacon of faith and fellowship. 

Beyond her public service, Jean was a devoted farmer's wife and a cornerstone of her family. She expressed her love and care through her exceptional skills in quilting and crocheting, her talent in the kitchen as an excellent cook, and her joy in sharing her life with her large extended family, especially her grandchildren. Jean's hands were rarely still, as she created beautiful quilts and crocheted pieces that not only served as tokens of her love but also as heirlooms for the generations to follow. Her culinary skills were legendary, and family gatherings were always an opportunity for Jean to share her love through her delicious home-cooked meals.

Private family services will be held.  Memorials made be given in Jean’s honor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and mailed to Lockart-Green Funeral Home, 302 W. Main St., Shelbyville, IL 62565.  Lockart-Green Funeral Home in Cowden is assisting the family.

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Private Family Services will be held

Mound Cemetery
300 N
Cowden, IL 62422


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105
Tel: 1-800-805-5856


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