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Robert Kimball Richardson

Modified from: Unknown Newspaper clipping - article by Walter Strong

'Dickie' Richardson, Loved Teacher, Dies

Professor Robert Kimball Richardson, whom since coming to Beloit in 1901 has been active in Beloit College affairs, Congregational Church matters and civic affairs, died last night at Beloit Memorial Hospital.

He had been ill for only a very short time. The cause of his death was a heart attack. As late as Thursday night Professor Richardson attended a birthday celebration for one of his friends. His death was a great shock.

Memorial services, conducted by the Reverends Stanley Crosland and Wilfred Rowell will be held in the First Congregational church at 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon. Interment will be private.

Robert Kimball Richardson was born June sixth, 1876 the son of Elias Huntington Richardson and Maria Jane Stevens Richardson. Professor Richardson's father was the minister of the Center Church in Hartford, Connecticut. He baptised his son in that chuch. He later died when Robert was seven years old.

Richardson began his formal education in the schools of New Britain, Connecticut, graduated from Hotchkiss in 1894, from Yale in 1898 and took his M.A. degree from Columbia in 1899 and his doctorate from Yale in 1902.

Joined College in 1901 In 1901 Professor Richardson came to Beloit College as part of the history department. He has been connected with the college since that time, actively until 1947 then as Professor Emeritus until his death.

In June of 1903 he married Bessie Clark Perkins who died after an extended illness in March of 1936.

In July of 1940 Professor Richardson married Helen L. Drew, Professor at Rockford College. He had no children from either of his marriages.

Surviving are his wife, a brother, Arthur Edwards Richardson, Springfield, Massachusettes; a nephew, Lyle Huntington Richardson, Helena Montana; a niece, Mary Richardson of Arlington, Virginia; two grand-nephews; Dr. Lyle Richardson Smith, a 1946 Beloit college graduate; and Robert Kimball Smith of Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.

Professor Robert Kimball Richardson, was known as "Dickie" by many generations of college students and townspeaople. During the 51 years in Beloit and the 46 active years associated with Beloit College it is impossible to recount all the many activities that were aided by the presence of "Dickie."

His college connections and the incalculable impressions he made on the students reflected the true personality of the man. Starting in 1901 as assistant in the history department, he rose to head of the department for the latter part of his career at the college.

In addition, he was secretary of the faculty for the last quarter century before his retirement. He also took on the role of college archivist or historian. He held this post after retirement. Just last week he completed a masterful history of the college from its founding until the death of President Maurer.

Beloved as Teacher
A recital of facts about the work at the college is insuficient. For "Dickie" was so deeply involved in the workings of the college that they seem inseperable. His will not be remembered for the numerous degrees that he recieved, but instead the image of this lovable and stimulating teacher will remain in the minds of his thousands of students.

His academic work was recognized by educators. Many academic staffs, including his own at Beloit College honored him with degrees signalling his attainments in the educational field.

In addition to his many activities in the college he also had other interests. He was active in the state historical society. He served as its president from 1946 to 1949, and as curator for more than 25 years. Many of his articles were also published in the state historical society's bulletins.

Only last Wednesday he attended the pilgramage to the Octagon house in Janesville, climbing to the top of that structure and explaining the use of the old time farm house implements displayed there.

Part of the fabulous energy that he possessed he shared with the First Congregational church in this city. Joining the church in 1903 he has served it in many capacities, and has helped it in hours of need.

Held Church Offices
A list of his offices show a partial history of the church. He was a deacon from 1908 to 1912; trustee from 1916 to 1919 and from 1923 to 1926 and 1933 to 1936. He was treasurer of benevolences from 1933 to 1940; and from 1948 to the present. He was the clerk of the church from November of 1944 to November 1946; and also Moderator from 1946 to 1947.

In 1938, during the centennial of the church he prepared and published a history of the church.

In addition to the college, the state historical society and the church, he was also one of the charter members of the Lions club of Beloit. In 1929 he was elected as corporator of the Beloit Savings bank.

"Dickie" will be remembered for his monumental works, for his unflagging enthusiasm, and for the concrete things he accomplished. But more than that he will be remembered for his classroom manner, and his sparkling sense humor. He had the habit of calling the shots as he saw them, and was never afraid of criticism. His open and frank, humorous manner endeared him to the audiences he was addressing. His memory will live on in all those he influenced through education and social services.