Ward Oakley Richards, 80, of Lake Park, Ga. died Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, at Langdale Hospice House in Valdosta, Ga. after a long illness.


He was born Dec. 5, 1939, in Port St. Joe, Fla., to the late Theodore Oakley Richards and the late Lorene Bradshaw Richards. He played on the Port St Joe Sharks high school football team and was a charter member of Highland View Baptist Church. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he worked for 37 years as a field engineer for the National Cash Register Co. He and his family moved to Lake Park in 1967. In his later years he attended Lake Park Christian Church.


He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Louise Richter Richards of Lake Park; two sons, Jack Westley Richards and his wife Keeley of Hillsborough, N.C., and Theodore Oakley “Terry” Richards II of Valdosta; two grandchildren, Penelope and Nicholas Richards of Hillsborough, N.C.; one brother, Billy Joe Richards of Gulf County, Fla.; numerous nieces and nephews.


He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Rudy, Randall and Douglas Richards; one sister, Helen “Cookie” Montgomery; and one sister-in-law, Brenda Richards.


The family would like to express its special appreciation to two close friends, Wilmer and Genice Deas of Lake Park, and Ward’s niece Donna McCroan and her husband Gene for their help in his final days.


Visitation in Valdosta was held from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, at Music Funeral Services, 3831 North Valdosta Road, Valdosta, Ga. Visitation in Port St. Joe, Fla., was be at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 1, 2020, at Holly Hill Cemetery with burial to follow at 2 p.m. ET Pastor Glenn Davis will officiate.


Flowers are welcome, and donations can be made in Ward’s name to the Lake Park Christian Church, 403 W. Cotton Ave., Lake Park, Ga., 31636.


The Richards family is being served by the professional and caring staff of Music Funeral Services, Valdosta.