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Obituary: Robert K. Richards

Robert K. Richards, 87, of Three Rivers, passed away Tuesday, December 13, 2022. Bob was born in Hancock, MI, the son of Robert and Ruth (Sanborn) Richards and lived in the Upper Peninsula until moving to Ann Arbor for graduate studies at the University of Michigan. Bob completed a mid-life Ph.D. and spent the remaining years of his career in Medical Education.
He worked for the University of Michigan for several years. In 1978 his book on Continuing Education was published and he moved to Grand Rapids to become Executive of the Grand Rapids Area Medical Education Center and Assistant Dean for MSU’s College of Human Medicine. Bob provided leadership on the state and national level for several organizations. Even in retirement he worked part time for Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids.
In his first marriage he became the father of Robert and Adriane. In 1987 Bob was married to Ethel Stears and his family expanded to include her two children, Mike and Debi. Remaining to cherish his memory are his wife, Ethel Stears; his children and step children, Robert (Eleanore) Richards, Adriane (David) Sibley, Mike Stears and Debi (William Macauley) Stears. Bob was thrilled with his role as grandpa and thoroughly enjoyed all 10 of their grandchildren: Meg, Grace and Will Richards; Joshua, David and Joseph Sibley; Zoe, Phoebe, Liam and Thomas Stears. He is also survived by two brothers, William and John and their families and by a Godson, Jeffrey Hudson.
Bob’s family was the center of his life, and he enjoyed nothing more than experiencing the growth and development of his grandchildren. In addition to family, his passions in life included letter writing, researching family history, reading, watching Michigan Wolverine sports and his homeland of the Upper Peninsula. Bob was a man of faith and sang in church choirs from his teenage years on into his 80’s. Music brought much joy to his life.
A memorial service will be held Monday, January 2, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1100 Lake Dr., SE, Grand Rapids. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. An additional time of visitation will be held the following day, January 3, 6-8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 320 N. Main St., Three Rivers.
Donations in Bob’s memory may be directed to Trinity United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be shared at

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