Colonel Arthur E. Richards III, a distinguished retired U.S. Army Officer, died after a brief illness on Saturday evening, September 12, 2009, in Ridgeland, Mississippi. He was 72. Art lived an extraordinary life and was a blessing to his family and all who knew him. He will be remembered for his love of family, service to his country and for his enduring spirit. Art was preceded in death by his parents, Captain Arthur E. Richards Jr., and Teddy Richards. Survivors include his loving wife, Vonda L. Richards; two sons, Arthur E. Richards IV and Zachary H. Richards; daughters in-law, Shawn and Carla; and five grandchildren, Beau, Josh, Annalee, Emma and Sophie. Art was born on February 28, 1937, in Biloxi, MS and was a resident of the coast until he graduated from Biloxi High School in 1955. At Biloxi High School, Art was Mr. Biloxi High School. He was also an Eagle Scout. Art graduated in 1959 from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where he was the President of his class, a varsity swimmer, a varsity member of the football team, and a member of the Summerall Guards. At graduation, he was elected by his fellow class members to receive the John O. Wilson ring which is awarded to the manliest, purest and most courteous member of the graduating class. Upon graduation from The Citadel, Art received a Regular Army Officer’s Commission in the Infantry. He served in the Army in various command and staff positions, including tours in Germany, Vietnam and Korea. He was the Commander of the 2nd Bn 19th Infantry of the 24th Infantry Division and later a member of the Department of the Army Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Art’s military education included the Infantry Officer’s Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. He further earned a Masters Degree in Political Science from Kansas State University in 1972. Art’s final assignment on active duty was Commandant of Cadets and Professor of Military Science, at his Alma matter, the Citadel where he served for six years until 1990. Art’s many decorations and awards include: The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, The Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Ranger Tab and Airborne Wings. After twenty-eight years of service in the U.S. Army, Art retired in 1987. He moved to Pearl, MS where he taught high school at Wingfield High School and later Forrest Hill High School. In addition to being a geography teacher, he was the head of the JROTC at Wingfield High School and later the cross-country coach and football game announcer at Forrest Hill High School until his retirement. He attended St. Stephen’s Reformed Episcopal Church in Flowood, MS and was a lifetime member of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Biloxi, MS. Visitation will be held Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 15, 2009, at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home at 350 High St., Jackson. Graveside services with Military Honors will be in the Biloxi National Cemetery in Biloxi, MS on Wednesday, September 16, 2009. (Please call 228-388-6668 for time of service.) Memorials may be sent to the Class of 1959 Fund, Citadel Foundation, 171 Moultrie St Charleston, South Carolina 29409. Tags: 1959

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