Herbert Alvin (Al) Richardson, 97, passed away peacefully on January 20th, 2018, at Allen County Regional Hospital. Al was born on December 11, 1920, in Belding, Michigan. The only child of Arthur and Anna Matina (Christensen) Richardson, Al had a Christian upbringing in Lowell and Belding, Michigan. His love of music, specifically the Hawaiian lap steel guitar, took him to Los Angeles, California, in 1938 where he worked as a professional musician for four years. During this time he taught aspiring musicians while performing with Al's Tropical Troubadours. On September 26th, 1941, Al married Betty F. Outwater. Together they had three children and would later divorce in 1980.
In 1942 Al began his career at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. His interest in rocketry soon put his musical career on hold. In 1944 he was drafted into the US Navy. Following his graduation from the Platoon Commanders School, he was assigned to the Navy Experimental Station for rocket research in Annapolis, Maryland. He served as Petty Officer second class and was honorably discharged in 1946 and returned to California to work at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He retired from JPL in 1973 after 31 years.
Al was co-founder of the Technology Training Corporation, a worldwide Aerospace Corporation headquartered in Southern California, retiring in 1989. He was the founder of Toastmasters #3292 JPL/Caltech, #9 Professional Speakers and #407 Past District Governors. He also worked as a professional Parliamentarian from 1979 to present. He received many accolades during his careers. Three he especially treasured were: Toastmasters International, which he was a member of since 1957, for public speaking; the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for Aerospace Engineering activities.
Since moving to Kansas in 2011, Al had been an active member of the Colony Lions Club, serving as President in 2016-2017. He was also a member of Northcott Church. The change of residence did not impede him from staying active electronically with the San Gabriel Valley Macintosh User Group as he was an avid Macintosh user and had many friends in the group.
Al is survived by his daughter Dian Prasko, Colony; a son Daniel A. Richardson, of Henderson, Nevada; a daughter Debra Bryner, state of Washington, and Joyce Richardson, Claremont, California. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Shelly Strickler and husband Garret, Colony; Steve Prasko and wife Lynette, Colony; Doug Prasko, Quartzsite, Arizona; Christine Hardt and husband Mark, Costa Mesa, California; Katie Richardson, Irvine, California and nine great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Anna Richardson; Betty Richardson, and a granddaughter, Lisa Ewing.
A celebration of Al's life will be held at Feuerborn Family Funeral Service, 1883 US Hwy 54, Iola, on Saturday, January 27th, 2018. Visitation will be from 9:00am-11:00am with the service immediately following. Inurnment will take place at a later date in Live Oak Memorial Cemetery in Duarte, California. The family suggests in lieu of flowers memorial gifts be made to the Colony Lions Club or Northcott Church of New Beginnings. Condolences for the family can be left at www.feuerbornfuneral.com.