IRONWOOD TOWNSHIP, Mich.- William H. “Bill” Richards, 82, of Orchard Road, Ironwood Township, died peacefully Tuesday morning, Nov. 7, 2017, at home, with his loving family by his side.

He was born April 16, 1935, in Ironwood, son of the late William Sr. and Thelma (Follstad) Richards, attended Roosevelt School and graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in 1953. He then served stateside in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Following his honorable discharge from the Army, Bill received degrees from Gogebic Community College and Michigan State University and received a Master of Science degree in botany and biology from Northern Michigan University. He then taught briefly in Brimley, Mich. prior to teaching biology and physics at Wakefield High School for 33 years until his retirement. He also  farmed full time at Richards North Timberline Farm in Ironwood Township.

Bill was an active member of Salem Lutheran Church in Ironwood. An avid softball player, he played on the American Legion Post 5 Oldtimers team for years and also played basketball while a student at Gogebic Community College. He loved fishing in Canada and was a passionate gardener.

On Jan. 4, 1958, he was married to Kathy Nelson at Salem Lutheran Church. She preceded him in death on Nov. 11, 2015.

Surviving are five children, Bill (Jess) Richards, Gladstone, Karl (Paula) Richards, Prairie du Sac, Wis., Jerry (Mary Beth) Richards, Stevens Point, Wis., Don (Lisa) Richards, Kimball, Wis., and Becky (Jim) Murphy, Mauston, Wis.; 13 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; two brothers, Tom (Sally), Clearwater, Fla., and Jim (Sue), Harbor Springs; a sister, Thelma (Nestor) Balisi, Bradington Beach, Fla.; numerous nieces and nephews; and his dogs, Wolfie and Skeeter.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m., preceded by visitation at noon, at Salem Lutheran Church in Ironwood, with Pastor Lisa Ubbelohde officiating.

Full military honors will be accorded at the church by the Ironwood American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard.

Luncheon will follow in the church fellowship hall.

Spring burial will be in Sunset Acres Cemetery, Ironwood Township.

Serving as pallbearers will be Bill Richards Jr., Taylor Richards, Karl Richards, Jerry Richards, Don Richards and Jordan Richards.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the hospice care organization of your choice.

Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home Inc., Ironwood. Condolences may be expressed online at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.