Friday, December 2, 2005

Friends mourn loss of Hailey dentist, community leader


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

The many friends of longtime Hailey resident Arthur E. Richards say he was a man who led by example. They say his death at the age of 80 late Monday, Nov. 28, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease, has taken away a much beloved and highly influential member of the Hailey community.

For the past two and a half years Richards had lived at the Blaine Manor senior center in Hailey.

"He walked his talk and expected the same of others," said Joan Davies, who has been a friend of Richards since she moved to Hailey 45 years ago. Davies' husband, John, had an even longer association and friendship with Richards.

"He was my husband's Scoutmaster in 1953," she said.

Later on, and after Joan and John were married, the Davies and Richards kids were in the Boy Scouts together. The Richards had eight children, two girls and six boys.

Davies can remember a particularly memorable Boy Scout wilderness canoe trip the families took together in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada.

"It was quite an experience," she said.

In Hailey, Richards was instrumental in many aspects of the community, including the creation in the early 1960s of Rotarun Ski Area west of the city. "It was a place for local kids to ski," Davies said.

On Sept. 13, 2003, the mountain at Rotarun was named in Richards' honor.

Richards was the sole dentist in the Hailey community for many years. Richards also served on both the Blaine County School Board, and the Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission, and was a member of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion.

Richards was also trained as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Hailey won't soon forget Richards, Davies said. "It's the example of what he gave the community that's ongoing," she said.

"I just have so many good memories of him," Davies said. "I feel honored to have known him."

The same is true for Leo Stavros, who has lived in Hailey since 1964. Likes the Davies, Stavros was a patient of Richards for many years.

"He took care of all of our teeth," Stavros said.

Richards was a strong voice in Hailey for many years, he said. "He was really a powerhouse," Stavros said.

Through Richards' leadership, Rotarun was built largely through donated labor and materials from the local community, he said.

"There was very few dollars put into that," Stavros said.

After they completed ski area, the Hailey Rotary Club received a national award in 1964 for having the best community project in the country, he said.

Stavros said Richards was "a very close friend."

Richards was a person who got things done, Stavros said. "He did whatever he wanted to do, he did whatever he had to do and he did it very well."

Richards' wife, Theresa, quit her job as a registered nurse to take care of him during his illness, Stavros said.

"She took care of him so well," he said. "She's just a faithful, true, loving woman."

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, at Saint Charles Catholic Church, 311 1st Ave. S., Hailey. Interment will follow at the Hailey Cemetery. The Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, at Saint Charles Catholic Church.




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