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1912 Wells 2009

Wells Edward Richards

January 17, 1912 — September 5, 2009

Wells Edward Richards was born on January 17, 1912 in Pomona Missouri to Earnest E. and Jenny Wells Richards during one of the coldest winters on record. He passed from this life to be with his Lord on September 5, 2009 following a short illness. He was 97 years of age. He spent many of his last days enjoying watching the St. Louis Cardinals play or sitting outside his Supermarket watching the patrons as they entered and exited the store. He also enjoyed visiting the cemetery and sweetly conversing with his wife Lorene who passed away in July of 2002. He would often comment, “I think she can hear me.” He is most noted for founding the local Richards Brothers business in Mountain Grove, which bears his family name. Wells was a member of the First Christian Church and a longtime businessman in Wright County. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, his wife of 71 years Lorene Kilpatrick Richards, and his brothers Claude, Newell, Dwight, and Loring.
His father, first coming to work in the lucrative lumber boom of the late 1800’s, soon found work waning and opened a store with his brother Frank in Pomona as well as venturing into the local fruit industry, his mother ran a millenary (made hats). But Earnest died when Wells was just a baby. Earnest and his brother Frank had planted 20 acres of strawberries and the venture went south due to flooding. Trying to recoup their losses the brothers negotiated a contract to saw and deliver pine lumber to Louisiana, but tragedy struck as Jenny and baby Wells were on their way to meet her husband when word came that he had passed away suddenly. Wells was just 5 months old. Jenny would later marry Loring Runyon. Wells’ first memories were of running scores of rabbit traps before school and saving up his money to buy a bike, which he would let the other boys ride (for a small charge of course).
Wells was an independent, keenly sharp, and witty man with a twinkle in his eye, who had an amazing talent for getting what he wanted when he wanted it. He seldom took “no” for an answer especially when it came to the well being of his family or his business. He could always find a way to make you think that his way was the best way for you as well. This talent, coupled with a creative and very forward thinking frame of mind always served him well in each endeavor he undertook. He had a knack for business. Perhaps, it was the depression era mentality, which he possessed, or maybe a gift from God, but Wells knew how to run a business, and he knew people and loved providing them exceptional service. He was a strong believer in treating the customer fairly, honestly, and giving them a good price. His wisdom was unmatched by his competitors in those early years and soon he had most of the business in the county. During the hard times he would allow customers to charge when they were “tapped” out and carried many families on his books for several years saying, “I know you’ll pay me back when times get better”, and they did. Many loyal customers that Wells and Lorene helped out in those formative years became loyal customers for decades expressing to his grandsons that they would never think of shopping anywhere else.
He was well known and loved by his family, his friends, and his community. Wells and his wife Lorene came to Mountain Grove in 1937 to found Richards Brothers of Mountain Grove, following in the footsteps of his brothers who also had stores in neighboring cities. All of the boys seemed to have a family gift of entrepreneurial energy that led them to arrive at the perfect retail model for the mid-1900’s rural customer. Their motto: “We buy anything, sell everything”. Wells was deeply committed to the betterment of the city as a whole and especially in keeping our most gorgeous public square vibrant and profitable for businesses. He quietly gave generously to many public and church charities, never asking or even wanting a thank you. Richards Brothers Supermarket and Richards Brothers Feed store are still thriving businesses to this day and are run by his grandsons. Bucking the trend of urban sprawl his Supermarket is still located on the town square. His business savvy has been heralded by businesses, various publications, and even the Missouri State Senate.
Family was of the utmost importance to Wells. He believed strongly that family sticks together through anything no matter how great, small, contentious, or embarrassing. You just have to “work things out” he would say “you’ve got to be there for each other”. He was totally and utterly in love with his wife Lorene and would proudly tell you that she was the better half. The couple met on a blind double date and he would soon propose to his love under the old railroad overpass in Pomona. They married secretly but soon the cat was out of the bag when their parents read about their nuptials in the local paper. Wells and Lorene spent many happy years together. They had one daughter, Barbara and both thought the world of her.
Wells is survived by his daughter Barbara White of Houston, Mo. Four grandchildren, Bob and David Skyles of Mountain Grove, Mo., Steve Skyles of Cabool, Mo., and Cynthia Haverly of Fayetteville, Ga., 13 great grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild (and three more on the way), a host of nieces and nephews, and many other loving family members and good friends. He will be sorely missed.

Funeral Services:
Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 2:00 PM in the First Christian Church in Mtn. Grove.
Wednesday, September 9th from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM in the funeral home.
Hillcrest Cemetery
First Christian Church Building Fund c/o the funeral home.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Services

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

First Christian Church in Mtn. Grove


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