George A. Richards, age 80, passed away at his home surrounded by his loved ones on Sunday, March 5, 2023. George was born in Rhinelander on Feb. 25, 1943. George loved Rhinelander and being a Rhinelander Hodag. He graduated high school in 1961 and was especially proud of being a member of the Rhinelander High School basketball team that went six successive years undefeated in the Wisconsin Valley Conference (something that had not been achieved before or since)! He was All-Conference First Team and Honorable Mention All-State in basketball and lettered all four years in high school in basketball, football, and baseball.
George went to the University of Arizona on a basketball scholarship, but a career-ending injury brought him back to the University of Wisconsin where he received a bachelor's degree in business. He then went to Marquette Law School and was a recipient of the Saint Thomas Moore Scholarship. In 1968, he was inducted in the Alpha Sigma Nu National Honor Society together with his co-inductee Vince Lombardi. The only two inductees that night!
Based on his academic achievements, he was selected in 1969, by Chief Justice E Harold Hells, to be his one-year legal assistant on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, before starting his law practice in Wausau. He joined the law firm of Tinkham, Smith, Bliss, Patterson. At the time of his retirement, he was senior partner at the firm known as Patterson, Richards & Hessert. During his career, it is believed he obtained three of the highest plaintiff recoveries for that period in the practice of civil law. George served four years on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin State Bar Association and was an A+ rated attorney during his legal career.
After retirement he took up bridge and became one of the fastest lifetime master champions in the Austin, Texas Bridge Club. It was even more impressive because he played duplicate competitive bridge with multiple different partners! One of his favorite stories was at the National Tournament when the American Bridge Association introduced computers to the table. That day he was in charge of using the computer at his bridge table and his second opponent was Microsoft's Bill Gates. After putting the scores in the machine, he looked at Bill Gates and said, "You have to push the okay button. Do you think you can handle it?" George had a great sense of humor!
George loved outdoor activities including hunting and fishing. He especially enjoyed them with his family and friends at Pelican Lake and around the Parrish area. He hunted ducks and geese in Alberta, Canada for 45 consecutive years on fall vacation, and managed a week or two fishing walleyes in Ontario, Canada every year.
He was most proud of his family, his wife of almost 40 years and his two daughters, Helen and Alex. He spent countless hours coaching his daughters in golf and traveling all over the country to golf tournaments and helping them both achieve Division I golf scholarships. He was an amazing father and husband and is so very loved.
George resided in Wausau for his work career for 30 years, then Austin, Texas, Orange Beach, Alabama, and Vero Beach, Florida before he returned as a full-time resident to Wisconsin to his favorite property near Rhinelander. He loved being home with family and friends and was so happy spending his last week with his family watching them ice fish.
George is survived by his wife Gina, two daughters, Helen (Harrison) Lamons and Alexandra Richards. His two grandchildren Harper Rose Lamons and George Lamons, and his 4 siblings, Virginia (Warren) Schwerin, CA (Jeanette) Richards, Kathy (Mike Bess) Richards-Bess, and Ellen (Kevin) Barlow and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents Judge George A. Richards and Helen (Kinstad) Richards.
A visitation for George will be held at the Carlson Funeral Home in Rhinelander on Sunday, March 12, 2023, from 2 to 4 p.m. followed by a prayer service.
George loved Rhinelander and in lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to the Rhinelander Community Foundation, George A. Richards Memorial Fund, PO Box 1523, Rhinelander, WI, 54501 or online at the Rhinelander Community Foundation.
You may leave your private condolences for the Richards family at www.carlsonfh.com. The Carlson Funeral Home (715-369-1414) is handling the arrangements for the family.
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