Obituary: Thomas Richardson

May 13, 1956 – July 10, 2019

information provided by the family

Thomas (Tom) Richardson, 63, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on July 10, 2019, in Spokane, WA. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tom was born on Mother’s Day, May 13, 1956, in Chicago, IL, to Raymond and Barbara Richardson, the second of eight children. As an infant, he moved with his family to Lansing, IL, and completed grade school and high school there. He was a member of the Class of 1974 at TF South High School, where he lettered in three sports. Tom began college at Western Illinois University and finished at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN, where he played football and was a nationally ranked power lifter. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education. His studies continued at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD, where he received a Master’s degree in exercise physiology, the first in his family to receive a graduate degree.

Tom’s career took him all over the western United States. He was an assistant strength coach at Stanford University before being named head strength coach at the University of Wyoming and later Colorado State University. As his coaching career ended, he moved to Spokane, Washington, to become the Athletic Director at the Spokane Club. He was often a consultant for fitness facilities and collegiate weight rooms all over the country. At his passing, he was extremely excited about a new project in Greeley, CO.

Tom loved all sports all the time. As a coach, he trained athletes from the football team to the rodeo team and everything in between. Tom loved motorcycles, with a special penchant for Honda Gold Wings. He also loved going on trips to Sturgis, SD, with his Harley friends. With his family scattered throughout the country, Tom created a family of sorts with his friends and co-workers wherever he was. They loved making fun of Tom’s refusal to replace anything he had if the old version still worked.

Tom was pre-deceased by his parents, grandparents, and sister, Ann Marie. He is survived by his siblings: his sister Kathleen Petrikin and her husband Ron, of Tulsa, OK; brothers Daniel of Tampa, FL, Kevin of Tulsa, OK, Bob and wife Libby of Lowell, MI, Ed of Fort Collins, CO, and Bill and wife Jeanne of Lansing, IL. He is also survived by seven nieces and nephews and a host of friends and co-workers.

A celebration of Tom’s life will be held at a later date.

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13 thoughts on “Obituary: Thomas Richardson”

    • Dear Lynn,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a thought on this page. It means a great deal to me and my brothers.

      Kathy Richardson Petrikin and Dan, Kevin, Bob, Ed and Bill Richardson

  1. We just want to express our sympathies and condolences to the Richardson family and all those touched by Tom’s friendship and love. This was a very poignant piece on Tom’s life. Carl and Kathleen Larsen, ILLoda

    • Shocked to hear this! Tom was a great guy and hung with my oldest brother, Mark. Tom helped my dad with his electrical knowledge when my dad wanted to finish our basement at our Lansing home! My prayers and love to the Richardson Family.

      • Dear Scott,

        We are shocked as well and are trying to cope with this very unexpected loss of a sibling. Thank you for sharing your memory of our brother. It helps us to see all the different sides of Tom.

        Kathy Richardson Petrikin; Dan, Kevin, Bob, Ed and Bill Richardson

    • Thank you Carl and Kathleen! Your comments about our brother touched our hearts. Please continue to keep Tom in your hearts!

      Kathleen Richardson Petrikin; Dan, Kevin, Bob, Ed and Bill Richardson

    • Dear Judy,

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. We appreciate that you took the time to convey your sympathy. Such kindness lifts our spirits more than we can tell you.

      Kathy Richardson Petrikin; Dan, Kevin, Bob, Ed and Bill Richardson

  2. My dear friend Tom, you were my touchstone in this life. I will forever be thankful for your abundant kindness, warm smile, and treasured friendship. My Colorado State T shirt has now become my
    most prized possession. I will miss you.

    My sympathies to the Richardson family.

  3. Dear Debra,

    Thank you for leaving us a treasured memory of our brother. Tom touched many lives in many different ways and we are just beginning to understand that the sibling we knew is only part of the story. Thank you for expressing your thoughts so beautifully.

    Kathy Richardson Petrikin; Dan, Kevin, Bob, Ed and Bill Richardson

  4. Dear Kathy and all the Richardsons:

    Just got the news about Tom today. I’m stunned and deeply saddened by his loss. I had just seen him a couple years ago when he and Joe Slattery made it a point to come to a fundraiser for my brother, Ron, at the Legion in Lansing. It was wonderful to catch up with him then!
    Tom was one of my best friends in high school: we went for lunch almost every day during senior year and would help each other navigate through the angst and issues of 18-year-olds…and laugh a lot, too. I always respected his advice. We continued to stay in contact throughout college and I’m proud to say I was the only girl in my strength training class at Augustana because of Tom’s assurance that strength training doesn’t make you bulk out, it only makes you strong! Was so happy when he was named a strength coach at Stanford. He was one of the earliest pioneers in strength training, a training regimen that today is a regular part of every sport at every level!
    I also remember very well when the Richardsons started at Sunnybrook. My dad told us his childhood schoolmate, Ray Richardson, was moving into Oakwood Estates and like our family, Ray had a lot of kids–some of whom were our ages. I thought it was so cool that our parents were friends and then, their kids.

    Thank you for writing the beautiful obituary. I am so sorry for your family’s loss and hope to be able to attend the memorial!

  5. My heart hurts to know Tom has passed. Though he was my sister Sharon’s age, every child in Oakwood Estates was part of one extended family. We Trick-or-Treated, watched the Sunnybrook Puppet shows and suffered through driver’s ed together. We looked out for one another…and still do. Please know that all of us Zuk’s will remember Tom as our brother. He and the rest of the Richardson family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Dear Zukleys–Sharon and Karen–,
    Ah, yes–We remember all of the Zukleys! It seemed as if we matched up fairly well in ages almost all the way down the line. Every time we turned around, there was another Richardson or Zukley. Quite frankly, we are all stunned too. Thanks to both of you for remembering our brother. I know that many families wouldn’t understand how hard it is to say that “there are only six of us left.” It’s such a big number, but I know that the Zukley’s would get it. Much love to all of you!

    Kathy Richardson Petrikin, Dan, Kevin, Bob, Ed and Bill Richardson

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