In the presence of loving family, Jonathan passed peacefully away on Sept 26th. He was predeceased by his parents Mabel and John Richards, his twin sister Anna, and his first wife Ruth Eddy. Leaving to mourn are his beloved wife Olga Broomfield, his much loved 5 children, Renee Oram (Donald), John (Shellie), Mark (Sheri), Esther (Rene Bourque), Elizabeth Kessel (Bruce); his much loved grandchildren, Nathanael Oram (Marla), Johanna Morrow (Eric), David Ross (Amanda Rae), Nicholas Oram, Jonathan II, DeAnna Ross, Breanna Claesson (Rasmus), Quinn, Zak Kessel, Sophie, Alex Kessel, Emily Kessel, Logan; his delightful great grandchildren, Nolan and Cecily Oram, Alex and Owen Morrow, Ellie Rae Ross; his much loved siblings Gordon (Ethlyn), Wilfred (Diane), Lois Hans, Eunice Sinclaire; his much loved brother-in-law Byron Eddy; his much loved brother and sister-in-law David and Joan Broomfield, sister and brother-in-law Jeanne and Cy Hart; his loving nephews and nieces Pam and Abe Pike, Michelle Broomfield and Darin Holwell; his loving grand nephews and nieces Jason, Matthew and Adam Pike, Joshua and Stephanie Sullivan.
Jonathan was a direct descendant of the great 18th century theologian, Jonathan Edwards, who founded the library of Yale University. His grandparents and parents were missionaries in South Africa, where Jonathan was born, and educated in a British boarding school until age 14, when he went to America for high school. Two goals in his life were formed in those years – to follow his family’s missionary tradition, and to play the cello, an instrument which had entranced him during a visit to a German plantation where a string quartet was playing. He completed high school and went onto Bible College, where he met Ruth, a Newfoundlander, and upon graduation, married her.
Their plan to go to S. Africa as missionaries was changed, so Jonathan decided to join the US Airforce Chaplain Service, having placements in New Mexico, California and Japan. After an honorable discharge he attended Theological Seminary in Boston, but fell ill, and joined his in-laws in Stephenville, NL to recuperate. Here he developed a career change, took a degree in Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and became an extremely successful teacher at the original branch of the College of the North Atlantic. His wife also became a teacher. His students loved him, delighting in his unique sense of humor, which he even scripted into his formal examinations. Here he finally had a chance to pursue his broad musical interests – with his beautiful baritone voice he had his own radio broadcast singing gospel hymns, directed the church choir, and mastered the vibraphone. Finally, he had a chance to play his cherished cello, a 19th century instrument made in Mittenwald, Germany.
He took early retirement to care for his dying wife. After a year of grieving he left Newfoundland for Nova Scotia, where he courted his second wife, another Newfoundlander, who was teaching in the English Department at Mount St. Vincent University. In Halifax, he joined the Chebucto Symphony Orchestra, thrilled to be playing his cello in concerts. After they were married and his wife retired, they returned to Newfoundland. Jonathan joined the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, where for 14 years his passion for the cello found its greatest release. He had perfect pitch and a deep knowledge of music. His unique sense of humor found outlets in rehearsals where his sayings and doings are still fondly remembered.
His last years were plagued with an increasing number of debilitating diseases, which he faced with patience and determination that marked his entire life. He was a remarkably loving, gentle man, who touched many lives. His loved ones know well how privileged they are to have had him in their lives, and his legacy will live on through them. Everyone who knew him valued his approachable demeanor, thoughtful ways, generosity, kindness, tremendous love and wisdom.
Cremation has taken place. Visitation will be held on Sunday Sept 30th from 2-4pm and 7-8:30pm at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, St. John’s. Memorial Service will be held on Monday October 1st at 11am from St. James United Church, 330 Elizabeth Avenue, followed by a reception there. Private interment to follow. Donations will be gratefully received to the ‘Olga Broomfield-Richards and Jonathan Richards Scholarship in Memory of Reginald and Nita Broomfield’ at Memorial University of Newfoundland, or any charity of your choice.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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