Henry Richard

Obituary of Henry Richard

Henry Samuel "Hank" Richard Jr. went to meet his Jesus face to face on March 11th, 2018. A lifelong Akron resident, Hank lived a full life and was devoted to his family, his work, and his relationship with Jesus.

Born on September 7, 1939 to Henry and Eleanor Richard, Hank grew up in the Firestone Park Area of Akron. The second of six children, he attended St Paul's Elementary School and was in the first graduating class of Archbishop Hoban High School ('57). Though he was born into an academic family, Hank learned that his strengths were in working with his hands. His mechanical aptitude made him renown in the drag racing areas of Akron and gave him "the Baddest Studebaker running." Joining the Army after graduation, Hank served in 101st Airborne Division was eternally proud of his service. Upon discharge, he worked at Goodyear Aerospace and in several shops, ultimately buying his own gas station and service center on Waterloo Rd in 1970.

Hank's own father was Director of Racing for the Firestone Tire company and passed away in 1961 while Hank was overseas. Hank returned to Akron and never left. He took great pride in the development of his family as they grew to become vibrant men and women. He stood in for his father by walking his sisters Susan, Margret, Kathy, and Ellen down the aisle and served as his younger brother George's best man. Hank was beloved by his 19 nieces and nephews including serving as celebrant at several of their own weddings.

Hank married, the love of his life, Judith "Judy" Klodt in 1963. The stayed together through wind and weather and she soon became his partner both in life and work as they built the gas station on Waterloo to the most productive and successful dealership in the Exxon Oil Company. Elected to the dealer council a record four times, Hank helped shape the oil company's relationships with its 22,000 dealers. Their single station grew to add two more, including Hank's instance that Judy become the first female dealer in Exxon history. The services Hank and Judy provided kept cars and trucks running in Akron throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's and forged a bond between himself and the community he served.

Hank's father's passing made him aware of the hole that can open in a person's life when they don't have that father/husband/mentor to look to. This idea drove all he did. His truck plowed countless driveways for the elderly and shut-ins. His skills as a handyman became in such demand that he founded the St Paul's Parish Skills Bank where he mobilized an army of volunteers that mowed, painted, and repaired houses for people who did not know where to turn. At its peak, the Skills Bank completed over 2,000 service projects with Hank providing leadership and inspiring others to come to the aid of anyone who needed it.

In 1994, he joined the Boy Scouts of America Troop 74, sponsored by the Firestone Park United Methodist Church where he impacted the lives of hundreds of young men as leader and as the troops chaplain. A loyal member of Knights of Columbus Council 3410, Hank lived his life as a servant never looking for recognition or reward.

Hank's outreach and love of the Lord grew from a direct contact with the Holy Spirit on March 3, 1981 and he devoted his life to help men come alive in their faith and put that faith into action. His desire to spread the word led him to be an original ambassador for the Promise Keeper's in the Greater Akron area. He started the first men's bible study at St Paul's and in his own home that grew and grew and is still going strong at its new home at Perry Clark's Truly Reaching You (TRY) Ministries on Baird Street some 22 years later.

Putting faith in action was a mantra that Hank lived by. He became active in the Hope Café on South Street where they serve meals to the homeless and give lost souls a place to recharge. After being given the former Croatian Club on Grant Street he saw its potential to serve the community. That building currently houses the South Street Ministries and Front Porch café where they reach out to people in need providing food, fellowship, and a place to worship. Most recently, his work helping men transition from the criminal justice system back into society was his passion and where he felt most empowered.

Hank co-founded the Kingdom Builder's Ministry, a 501(c)3 non-profit to encourage men of all denominations and races to do together what cannot do alone. His leadership on the National Day of Prayer led to a round the clock Bible reading and prayer marathon that finishes annually on the first Thursday in May. Last year over 900 people attended this event as Hank and his team read the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation in the heart of Downtown Akron.

Hank is survived by his wife of 55 years Judy (Klodt); son's Henry III (Christina) and their children Abigail, Margret, Caroline, and Victoria of Pittsburg, Oscar(Traci) and their children Joshua, Nicole, and Oscar Jr of Chicago, Joseph and his children Joseph Jr. and Allison of St Pete Beach FL, and John (Alayna) and their children Isaiah, Annika, Malachi, and Levi of Pittsburg, as well as one great grandchild, Stella Jane.

At this time of celebration, the family would like to thank the nursing staff at Summa Health System Akron Campus, particularly those on the ICU and hospice floors and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center Wade Park Campus Pulmonary and Rheumatology departments for their care and patience these last few years.

A funeral mass of Christian Burial will be held at Queen of Heaven Catholic Church 1800 Steese Rd. Uniontown Oh on Monday March 19th at 10:30 am. The family will receive friends on Sunday March 18th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm and 6:00 to 8:00 at the Kucko-Anthony Funeral Chapel, 1990 South Main Street Akron, Ohio 44301. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Queen of Heaven Labre Ministry, Truly Reaching You Ministries 587 Baird St, Akron, OH 44311, or The Hope Café c/o Akron Bible Church 783 Brown Street, Akron Ohio 44311.

To best honor Hank's life, we can think of no better tribute than taking a minute to go out in to your community and do something for someone else. Big or small, it makes no difference, but do it in the memory of a man larger than life. (Kucko-Anthony, 330-724-1281, http://anthonyfh.com/)