Paul Karl Richards |

Paul Karl Richards


A celebration of life will be announced for Minden resident Paul Karl Richards, 74, who died at home on Aug. 29, 2010, of brain and lung cancer.

Born May 18, 1936, in Buffalo, N.Y., to Harry and Sarah Keller Richards, he was raised and celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in 1949 in Buffalo, N.Y., attending P.S. 81, Bennett High School and the University of Buffalo. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, returning to the University of Buffalo for a year of graduate work in math and physics.

He worked as a programmer, manager and vice president in the aerospace industry from 1960 to 2002.

He started out with General Electric/Aerospace, traveling for GE to Wiesbaden and Messtetten, West Germany, in 1964 and 1965. He also worked for Pillsbury, Academy Computing, Logicon, Technical Development of California, Zero One, Martin Marietta and retired from Lockheed Martin. He then went to work for a private company, Woodside Summit Group, in Palo Alto, retiring from there as vice president in 2002.

Mr. Richards had a musical background from Klesmer-playing ancestors. His dad was a self taught violinist, his mother played piano and his brother was a professional oboist for more than 60 years.

He started playing and competing with the violin when he was 8 years old. He switched to clarinet in the Buffalo Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, also the University of Buffalo Orchestra and band. After 50 years he picked up his violin again to play in the Carson Valley Pops Orchestra in Minden until his illness. His hobby instruments were the ukulele, recorder and piano.

Work and school took him from Buffalo N.Y., Champaign-Urbana Ill., Pt. Arguello, Lompoc and Santa Barbara, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., back to San Diego and San Jose, Calif., finally settling with his wife in Minden in 2002.

Mr. Richards collected old time radio programs, big band music of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, stamps and coins. He had a passion for reading and computing, traveling and in recent years cruising.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Bonnie Harries-Richards; daughters Richelle (Doug) Gonelli of Round Rock Texas, Sarah Richards (Patrick Wokurka) of Colorado Springs, Colo., and son Robert Richards of Minden; grandchildren Justin Richards, Anthony Gonelli, Nicole Gonelli and step-granddaughter Savannah Wokurka; aunts Esther of Ohio and Marion of Rhode Island; a niece Debbie of Israel; nephews Michael in Hawaii and Danny in Massachusetts and numerous cousins.

Cremation is by Walton’s Chapel of the Valley of Carson City.