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Bernadine (Piper) Richards (1897-1956)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Whitehorse Star - Thursday, July 12, 1956

Headline: Grand Lady Of The Yukon Dies, Leaving Gap In Famous Family, 1956

    One of the Yukon’s best known and best liked residents was laid to rest today in the Whitehorse Cemetery.

    Mrs. T. C. Richards, wife of Thomas Cecil Richards, died the evening of July 9. Funeral services were held at the Christ Church Cathederal at 2 pm after which the six-car funeral procession proceeded to the Whitehorse cemetery for the burial. The pall bearers were Vic Chapman, Bob Sheardown, W. D. Coutts, Gordon Armstrong, Bill Drury, and Owen Williams. The usher was Ted Pinchin. Funeral arrangements were looked after by William Morris.

    Mrs. Richards was born January 28, 1897, in West Plain, Missouri. She was the youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Piper and was christened Bernadine. When she was only four months old, her family moved north to Dyea, Alaska, where they stayed until 1901. Later that year they made the trek over the Chilkoot Pass to Dawson along with her older sisters Nellie and Mamie. Her first teacher was former commissioner George A. Jeckell.

    In 1905 her family made another move, this time to Whitehorse where Bernadine lived for the next 51 years. At the age of 16 she was police matron at the barracks here. Her mother was later widowed and married Fred Langholtz who had a drey business in the store where Mr. Sewell is now. They are now living in Victoria.

    After the first World War in 1918, Bernadine married Thomas Cecil Richards, then manager of Burns and Company, at a ceremony officiated by Bishop Stringer at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harbottle, parents of Mrs. Jorgenson.

    Their first son, Cecil Thomas, who was born the following year, met with an accident and drowned at Ear Lake in 1942. The Richards had two other children, Robert Samuel, present owner of Richards Motors, and Evelyn May, the youngest, who recently became Mrs. Brown.

    The Richards family spent many happy years in their first home which is now occupied by the Blacks. Mrs. Richards was very active in sports and is remembered as the pitcher for the best baseball team in the Yukon.

    An excellent homemaker and cook, Mrs. Richards’ main interest was her husband and three children.

    Although she travelled extensively and lived for periods elsewhere, Mrs. Richards was always eager to return to her home in Whitehorse. In 1948, the Richards built one of the grandest homes here. They lived there, on Steele Street, until 1946 when they moved into their Whitehorse Inn Hotel.

    Besides her husband, son and daughter, Mrs. Richards leaves behind her mother and step-father, Mr. and Mrs. Langholtz, a sister, Mrs. M. McDougall in Long Beach, California, and seven grandchildren.