Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Former House superintendent dies

 

April 22, 2020

House Roundup photo: Christian Chavez

Former House Municipal Schools superintendent Lecil Richards gestures while telling a story as eighth-grader Tyler Poling looks on during a Fellowship of Christian Students meeting Nov. 6 at House schools. Richards died April 14.

HOUSE - Lecil Richards, former superintendent of House Municipal Schools, died April 14. He was 69.

Richards, retired from the district in 2017. He had been battling cancer.

Staff and students shared their memories of him.

In an email to the Roundup, first- and second-grade teacher Amy Fury said she worked for Richards for eight years.

"Heartbroken is the reaction for many of us who had the wonderful opportunity to know or work with Mr. Richards," Fury wrote. "The best eight years of my teaching career! He supported staff, parents and students and did it all so well."

Richards was there for the kids in all aspects, Fury wrote.

"Not many superintendents are at the bus stop to greet kids, serve lunch to all the students, do lunch recess duty and be at the buses as students leave each day," she wrote. "... Those of us that worked with him know he didn't care much for summers around school because the hallways were 'too quiet.' He had a contagious energy that just made you look forward to going to school every day."

Former House student Warren Oberg, an eighth-grader, looked up to Richards.

"He was always there for people when they needed him and was like a father figure at school," Warren stated in a text message.

Many students enjoyed Richards' company on the playground.

"He would always come and push me and my friends (in) the tire swing back when I was in first grade," fifth-grader Jalee Snipes stated in a text message.

Richards would always play games with the students at recess.

"Every day he took us to recess was a great memory," Warren said. "He always had the best ideas for games and just was a great guy."

Richards promoted physical fitness for the teachers, as well.

"He motivated several of us to walk daily after school, always encouraging us with a big wave when he saw us 'making our laps,''' Fury wrote. "He will be so missed. Those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with Mr. Richards will forever have wonderful memories close to our heart. I love this man and his family."

In an email, Superintendent Bonnie Lightfoot, who replaced Richards when he retired, said he helped her settle in when she first came to House.

"He was always a phone call away when I had a question or needed support," Lightfoot wrote. "... He was described to (me) to be 'everyone's cheerleader.' I found that to be true in every situation. He always had a smile on his face, and he had the biggest heart. He touched the lives of students, staff and his colleagues with every interaction. He was respected and admired by all who knew him, and he will be truly missed."

House High School math teacher Crystal Boyd said Richards was the superintendent at Fort Sumner when she was in seventh grade. Richards hired Boyd to work at House Municipal Schools.

"He treated each person with respect, and when he visited with you, he made each person feel incredibly important to him," Boyd stated in a text message. "He genuinely cared each and every person he knew. He inspired me to pursue my master's (degree) in administration. His support and confidence in me made me a better person."

Lisa Downey, former business manager at House Schools, worked for Richards for several years.

"He was such an amazing person! Always doing for others. Even after he became ill, I watched him tirelessly do for anyone and everyone," Downey tated in a text message. "He truly loved every kid he came across, and he believed in every single kid; no matter their situation, he would bring out the best in everyone."

Boyd said Richards supported all the people and activities at school and made people feel special.

"He lived his life the way God wants everyone to," Boyd said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of life will be held for Richards at a later date.

Memorials may be made to EPAC Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 847, Portales, NM 88130 or the charity of the donor's choice.

 
 

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