Jonathan Edwards Richards

July 15, 1933 to September 26, 2018


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 siblings Gordon (Ethlyn), Wilfred (Diane), Lois Hans, Eunice Sinclaire; his much loved brother-in-law Byron Eddy; his much loved brother in law David Broomfield (Joan), his much loved sister in law Jeanne Hart (Cy); his much loved nieces Pamela Pike (Abe), and Michelle Broomfield (Darin Holwell); his loving grand nephews and nieces Jason, Matthew and Adam Pike, Joshua and Stephanie Sullivan, Jackary and Jakeb Caines.

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.



2-4 p.m. on September 30, 2018

7-8:30 p.m. on September 30, 2018

Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
View on Map


11:00am, Monday October 1st

St. James United Church


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Dear Olga – I was so sorry to read of Jonathan’s passing and extend my sincere condolences to you and your family. May treasured memories and the support of family and friends help to sustain you at this time of loss.

Sheila Brown

Dear Olga,
I am very sorry to hear about Jonathan’s death. He has certainly had a full and active life. I hope your fond memories of him will help alleviate your grief.

Best wishes,

Mary O’Keeffe

Renee, John, Mark, Elizabeth and Easter,
My deepest condolences at this very sad time, may your memories help you. I have a lot of memories of Stephenville church and your dad singing,……what a voice!! Now he’s singing with the angels and your mom.
Sending hugs and prayers.

To all of you beloved friends in the Richards and extended family,

Words cannot express how our lives were changed by the friendship our two families shared. To have friends who were like family, who you could love, and laugh with, fight and make-up with and hold differences of opinions with, and respect each other dearly without thinking, to be able to fully trust without compromise is just something we took for granted without even realizing how rare and precious it was.

And the heart of all that, the foundation of what that relationship was, was the heart of a man who truly loved God and all of us in the same manner. Jonathan Richards was a giant amongst men and set an example for us. His warmth and kindness and friendship were unwavering.

He is dearly missed by each one of us and we wish you every condolence in knowing the joy he was to us outside his immediate family and what an example he set. God bless you all.

Ward Pike and family, and on behalf of Ida Pike also.

Renee, John, Mark, Esther and Elizabeth

We are keeping you in our thoughts as you mourn your dad’s passing. We have fond memories of the years we spent as young couples watching our children grow up together. May you be comforted by your wonderful memories.

Evelyn and Everett

We send our sympathy at this sad time and hope the good memories you keep in your heart will see you through the coming days.
Our prayers are with you and we send our condolences to all the family.
Eve and Avrum

Olga, I was saddened to hear of Jonathan’s passing.. My thoughts are with you, as you grieve your loss. The conversations that I had with you and Jonathan as I walked my dog in our neighbourhood, or cleared snow, were always pleasant and interesting. I know that you will miss him greatly, but that you will also cherish many loving memories of your time together. Your neighbor, Rosalind Sacuta

Renee, John, Mark, Esther, Elizabeth ;
it is with great sadness I write this today. The passing of your Dad has brought back a flood of memories.
Our two families became one on May 11,1979 when Renee and Don were married.
Over the years we have all relocated to different parts of the globe but have remained united by the loving bonds that exist within families.
I actually got to know Jonathan when your Mom was a patient at the Health Science Center. I was working there at that time and we shared many a lunch together with engaging conversation. One memory that we both carried forward for many years took place at the cafeteria of the hospital.
We always met at 1pm each day. Jonathan would buy his lunch and I was brown bagging it. One day as I opened my lunch container .. he stopped in mid sentence like a deer in head lights. In his slow articulated American drawl ; he asked ” what have you got there ? ” Texas Hash I replied . “Well “he says “:that’s a family recipe,. how did you get that?”
My response was ” as my brother married your daughter .. that makes us all family, He laughed and agreed and we shared lunch that day. He reminded me of this day every time we met for the next 20 years.
The last few years my job has required me to be in ST. John’s frequently and I have had the opportunity to visit Jonathan and Olga at their home and share a family meal .
They opened their home to us when my Father was having medical care in St. John’s ; for which we are forever grateful.
On behalf our Family, we are glad to have known you and privileged to have you as a member of our extended family .
Love Brent Oram

My Dear Aunt Olga, and Richards Family,
Jonathan was a very gentle soul, and lived his life as such – gently. We always appreciated his interesting stories he told – his face would beam as he spoke. He is on his next great journey now…..May peace and comfort find you during this difficult time. Wishing we were there to join in the celebration of Jonathan’s life.

Olga and family:

So sorry to hear about Jonathan’s passing. Our condolences go out to you all. May your memories stay alive in every story you tell about him, as they inevitably will, in the months and years to come – over the get togethers, dinners, ect. May God Bless and Comfort you as you deal with your loss.

Dear Olga,
When I read about your loss this morning so many memories of you came back.First let me say that my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of sorrow.

I also don’t know if I ever told you how much I enjoyed and relished your classes.I never expected to enjoy 18th century lit so much and that was all due to your amazing teaching.

I hope you are otherwise well.Your husband sounds like a wonderful man and a true partner for a wonderful woman such as you.

My sympathy,affection and gratitude to you at this sad time.

Bless you,

Mary Clancy

I had the pleasure of teaching with your father at the Collage in Stephenville and shared many a laugh with him. He was always so kind to everyone.

May you all find comfort in the memories and love he so easily shared. My deepest condolences to all the family.

Sylvia Alexander.

Renee & Family: Psalm 29:11″ ………The Lord will bless you with peace”. We were so saddened to hear of your dad’s passing. However, my first thought was how happy he must be now in Heaven. I can just imagine the reunion with your mom Ruth, and their dear friends Aunt Ruth and Uncle George, and my mom and dad (and of course untold others). Dad never failed to ask about him (and you) on a regular basis. Our connection goes way back when we were just wee little girls, eh?? I could just envision the sweet grin on his face as he sat down with the big cello and started to play with the Heavenly Orchestra. Although the next days, weeks and years will be hard, think on all the precious memories ya’ll had with him. What an adorable man he was. Love & Shalom, Linda & Ross

Thinking of you today. My love and thoughts are with you as Im also grieving for my dear mother who passed on Tue.
Your love for Jonathan and your deep strength and belief will see you through the hard few days ahead.
The wonderful memories of your time together will help you forward and his suffering has passed.

Anne Williams

Olga and family,
Jean and I were so saddened to hear of Jonathan’s passing. We were both blessed to have known him. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, a man of many talents, and we will certainly miss him. On a very personal note, I would have been honoured to have been able to play the organ at his funeral service. QWe both will cherish our memories of him, and our visits with you both, in St. John’s and in the summer place near Stephenville. Please be assured that you are in our thoughts and prayers at this time,
Bob and Jean, in Doha, Qatar

Esther, and Family

I am so sorry for your loss, I never had the opportunity to meet your Father, but from our conversations he was a wonderful Man.
Sorry I’m not there to help you through this most difficult time.
My Thoughts and Prayers are with you.

Love You my Friend
May Your Father Rest In Peace.