Alice Richards
Alice Richards

Obituary of Alice Richards

Alice Leta Dawes Richards passed away peacefully in Mukilteo, WA on January 22, 2018. Alice Leta Dawes was born the only daughter of Clarence Clifton Dawes and Alice Alberta Williams on June 11, 1926 in Bellingham, WA. She had five brothers: Francis, Bill, Robert, Merlin, and Eugene. She attended Sunnyland Elementary School from 1932-1938, Whatcom Junior High School from 1938-1941, and Bellingham High School from 1941-1944, where she graduated salutatorian. She was a member of Pep Club and Rainbow Girls, editor of her senior yearbook, and lettered in speedball, baseball, archery, and volleyball. She attended Success Business College then enrolled in classes at Western Washington College of Education where she studied from 1944-1945. She returned to her studies at Western later in her life where she earned a bachelor's degree in human services, graduating cum laude in December 1976, and then earned her master's degree in cultural anthropology in June 1986. 

Alice met her future husband, LeRoy Richards, when both were students at Bellingham High School. Following the end of WWII, they were married on February 21, 1947 at First Christian Church in Bellingham, the church she had attended with family and friends since her birth. LeRoy and Alice honeymooned in Vancouver, British Columbia, returning to their home on Iron Street. Their first child, Nancy Ann, was born October 2, 1947. Alice and LeRoy's second child, Keith Allan, was born January 13, 1952. Their third child, Robin Adele, was born January 30, 1956.

Alice and LeRoy were active members of their community. They always found ways to use their energy and creativity to help others, making a difference in the lives of the people they met. As their children grew, Alice and LeRoy volunteered in the PTA at Lowell Elementary School and Fairhaven Junior High School and were active in Cub Scout, Bluebird, Boy Scout, Camp Fire, Y Teens and Little League organizations from the mid-1950s into the late-1970s. They helped start a Cub Scout Troup at Lowell School in 1960, serving as the first Cub Master and Den Mother. Whenever they had free time, the family also enjoyed camping.

Alice worked at St. James Presbyterian Church (1961-1969), then as Deputy Director, Bellingham YWCA (1969-1982), as founder and sole proprietor of Creative Communications (1982-1986), and as Adoption Coordinator and Foster Care Liaison, Catholic Community Services (1986-1991). In 1991, she began taking classes at Whatcom Community College and working as a writing tutor and ESL specialist in the Writing Center. She retired from that position in 2003 at the age of 77. During this time, she was also an active member of the United Nations Association of Whatcom County, Washington Women United, and the American Association of University Women, Bellingham Branch.

Alice and LeRoy had a deep and abiding love for the game of golf. He had played from an early age. She discovered the game as an adult and then convinced him to teach classes at the YWCA in the early 1970's, where she subsequently organized the Annual YWCA International Women's Golf Tournament. She was also a charter member, active team player, and two-time president (2003-2004) of the Lake Padden Women's Golf Club.

Alice and LeRoy loved to travel for work, for pleasure, and to learn more about the world around them. But as much as they loved travel, they loved each other even more. In a letter to his daughter, Nancy, written in 2006, LeRoy wrote, "The trip through life with Alice has been the best trip of all."

Alice was preceded in death by her husband LeRoy Richards; grandson Jason Anderson; and brothers, Francis, Clarence, Robert, and Merlin. She is survived by her younger brother Eugene; children Nancy (James) Shaw, Keith (Eileen) Richards, and Robin (Robert) Anderson; grandchildren Deborah Lee Richards, Chad (Tonya) Richards, Joshua Anderson, Aaron (Danya) Anderson, Jessie (Chris) Mainella; great-granddaughters Danica Buse, Caitlin (Michael) Rabbitt, Abby Richards, Chaelynn Anderson, Katelynn Anderson, Madelynn Anderson; and great-great-grandchildren Harper Rabbitt and Holden Rabbitt.

Memorials can be made to the Bellingham YWCA, and the National Stroke Association (www.stroke.org). 


Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at Moles Farewell Tributes - 2465 Lakeway Dr. Bellingham.