Community - September 14, 2011

Obituary: Barbara Richards

Barbara Richards, a longtime Atherton resident, died at home Aug. 9. She was 90.

Born Barbara Jean Smith, in San Francisco, she attended Lowell High School and studied political science at Stanford University, where she made many lifelong friends, the family said. The "Whiskin' Wabbits" (her college badminton-playing pals) gathered for reunions every year until recently.

She graduated from Stanford in 1942 and in September of that year joined the WAVES in Washington, D.C. She achieved the rank of lieutenant by the war's end.

Upon leaving the Navy, she began working for the phone company where she established many lasting friendships.

Enjoying all aspects of classical music, she delighted in her evenings spent at the opera, ballet and local choir concerts, a family member said. She performed with both the Stanford Chorale and the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir for more than 20 years.

In fact, her singing teacher introduced her to her husband of 53 years, Jack Richards.

She stayed at home to raise her children but was actively involved with the schools, PTAs and as a Girl Scout leader. She also volunteered with the Stanford Music Guild and the South Peninsula Chapter of the San Francisco Opera Guild, where she was recently recognized for over 50 years of service, including two terms as chapter president.

She and her husband Jack were members of the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, where they actively participated in Bible Study groups and Couples Club.

As the kids got older, she returned to the work force, this time at SRI, where she worked in the Ionospheric Dynamics Lab, the family said. After retirement, she and her husband enjoyed camping in California and once drove up to Alaska's Kenai Peninsula.

She avidly followed Stanford women's basketball games and attended games often, the family said.

Survivors include her children, Ruth Androwsky of Fremont and John Richards of Palo Alto.

Go to for more information and to leave remembrances. Obituaries are based on information from families and mortuaries.


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