Norma Jean Richardson, 93, of Hillsboro, Texas, died Monday, January 17, 2022, at Homestead Nursing Home in Hillsboro. She was born August 21, 1928, in Salina, Kansas, to Arthur Joshua and Tena Olivia Holmquist Olson. Jean was raised on the family’s Valley View Farm near Assaria, Kansas, confirmed at the Assaria Lutheran Church and graduated in 1946 from Assaria High School. In 1950, Norma Jean earned a Music Education degree from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas, with the trombone as her principal instrument. Her first teaching position was in Cawker City, where she met her future husband, Robert Jasper Richardson. Jean also taught music and English in elementary schools in Ellsworth and Manhattan, Kansas.
Bob and Jean were married on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1954, while Bob was on leave from the Marine Corps. Upon Bob’s graduation from Kansas State University in 1957, the couple settled in Cawker City. Bob joined the family business, Richardson Manufacturing Company, Inc., and Jean’s passion was raising the couple’s three children, Heidi, Natasha, and Steve. Jean was an avid reader and gardener, she led choir and vacation Bible school, served as District President of Kansas Federation of Women’s Clubs, and she supported Christian missionaries around the globe. Jean led a Child Evangelism Fellowship meeting in her home in Cawker each week for many years, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Upon Bob’s retirement, the couple traveled extensively, and in 1997 they moved their primary residence to Hillsboro, Texas. After Bob’s diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis, Jean served as Bob’s caregiver and travel partner until his death on January 15, 2008.
In Hillsboro, Jean was active in Esther Class of First Baptist Church, Monday Review Club, Hillsboro Garden Club, and she served as President of Hill County Republican Women. Her participation in the Senior Circle exercise class of Hill Regional Hospital led to weekly coffee meetings full of conversation and laughter with several dear Hillsboro friends.
Norma Jean was preceded in death by her husband and parents, sisters, Betty Louise Hanson and Doris Kathryn Park, brother, Robert Dean Olson, and son in law, John Speasmaker.
Survivors include her children, Heidi Speasmaker of Round Rock, Texas, Natasha Sawyer (John) of Hillsboro, and Steven Richardson of Cawker City, her grandchildren Alex Speasmaker, Elizabeth Speasmaker Andrews (Joshua), Walker Sawyer and Allison Sawyer, and her great-grandson, Emmett Lee Andrews.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church of Hillsboro, P.O. Box 271, Hillsboro, TX 76645, and the Cawker City United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 125, Cawker City, KS 67430.
A visitation will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Thursday, January 20, 2022, at Marshall and Marshall Funeral Directors in Hillsboro, Texas.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, January 24, at 10:00 a.m. at Cawker City United Methodist Church, 608 Lake Drive, Cawker City, Kansas. Burial will follow at Prairie Grove Cemetery in Cawker City, Kansas. Roberts Family Funeral Home of Cawker City, Kansas, are in charge of arrangements in Kansas.
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