Lois Combs Richards, 89, passed away at Rolling Fields Elder Care Community on May 7, 2020 after complications from a fall limited her mobility and a long battle with frontal temporal dementia.
She was born in Richmond, KY on July 10, 1930 to her parents, Beulah Brandenburgh and Robert Wallace Combs. From the first day she attended, Lois loved school and spent a lifetime learning and teaching. Just like her dad, Lois loved farms and travel. Seeing family farms disappear saddened her as she loved to see the beauty of the land and animals. Having grown up in a time where you raised what you could eat on the family farm, she always tried to buy local when possible.
Lois travelled to 49 of 50 states and always wished she could have crossed off Hawaii. Each trip she made a point to learn as much about the land and people as possible. She believed that every day was an opportunity to spread kindness even though that caused her to be taken advantage of many times. This happened frequently after dementia diminished her memory and ability to make consistent sound judgements.
A bachelor degree at Eastern Kentucky University and a master at University of Tennessee allowed her to meet many lifetime friends. She taught home economics at the University of Kentucky for fourteen years.
Lois married James Lawrence Richards on October 2, 1969 and they were together until his death in March 2016. She is survived by a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Richards and her husband Michael Hunkele, granddaughter, Taylor Hunkele and many beloved cousins.
She spent many years volunteering at schools, her churches, charities and visiting nursing homes. Lois made a point to check in with friends in person, phone, and letters as she wanted people to feel appreciated.
Her love of music and the ability of lessons to play the piano was the gift she treasured most from her parents. Lois always stressed the pure joy that playing piano gave her and she loved to share that music with others. Even after dementia played tricks on her memory, she still connected with music.
Lois loved taking walks, reading, gardening, and animals in general with birds being her favorite. She spent many hours watching bird feeders and enjoying bird songs. Bird clocks were common to hear a different bird sound every hour. She loved to be outside planting flowers and oh how she hated weeds. Lois was always after the thistles especially as their flowers spread quickly into thorny nuisances.
Those that checked in with her were treasured friends. She loved hearing from classmates, those she worked with, friends she met in her trips, and talking with anyone that needed a smile.
Lois always said “Be Kind, “ everyone needs support sometimes. She would always do anything to help someone. Lois always believed we all are trying to reach the same heaven destination regardless of church denomination.
Instead of flowers, please donate to a dementia charity, call, visit, write a friend, plant some flowers, or feed the birds. She would smile knowing the importance it makes in the lives of others. Every friend was once a stranger and she always believed in sharing a smile.
The Ryan M. Warren Funeral Home and cremation services, Inc., 544 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA 16335 has been entrusted with the care of arrangements.
Please take a moment to share a memory or condolence with Lois’ Family on her book of memories at www.warrenfh.com.