From the Silver City Sun-News
Justin “Jerry” Richard passed peacefully on May 30, 2015, at his home in Silver City, N.M.
Jerry was born in Pewee Valley, Ky., on Sept. 9 (according to the hospital) or Sept. 10 (according to his father) in the year 1920. With a fondness for celebration, he celebrated both days.
Jerry traveled abroad for the first time as a medic in World War II. He continued to travel throughout his life, visiting his relatives and friends from New Jersey to San Francisco and even all the way to Prague while he was in his 80s. After the war, he entered the monastery and became a Benedictine priest at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Ala., which would instill in him a keen sense of self-discipline and multitude of stories to tell.
Music was always a part of Jerry’s life, and it was at this time that he was able to get lots of schooling including degrees from Notre Dame and Oberlin College. This led to his work as a music teacher, a multitude of school concerts, years of running into past students at the supermarket, leading music at the 8 o’clock mass at the Newman Center, being choir director for the First Presbyterian Choir, and most importantly, leading years of evenings spent in song with his brother Charles, nieces, nephews, and their extended families.
After more than 20 years, he left the monastery when he realized he not only needed music, but also dance. Soon after, he met his life dance partner and wife Norma, who dramatically changed his life and sadly passed before him in 1995. Norma and Jerry had four children and contributed wholeheartedly to communities working for social justice.
In addition to leaving behind those four children, their partners and families — Stephanie & Eric Vasquez (Nica & Elia), Sundi & Daniel Lynds, John & Angelita Padilla (Alisha & Vincent) and Jeremiah — he left a strong impression on anyone who remembers his shining eyes and heard his stories.
For many years he was a CSJ Associate and worked closely with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia in Silver City.
His funeral mass will be at 10 am on Thursday, June 4, at St. Francis Newman Center following a rosary at 9:30 am. A reception will be held at the Silver City Women’s Club, 1715 Silver Heights Blvd., at noon.
Cremation will take place at Terrazas Crematory. To send condolences, visit www.terrazasfuneralchapel.com.