AMerican Veteran 11

James Clarence Richards

February 6, 1929 ~ April 12, 2020 (age 91)


James Clarence Richards, 91, passed away Easter morning, April 12, 2020, joining his eternal companion, Ara Belliston, who passed away just five and a half months earlier.   His passing came after weeks of hospitalization, valiantly fighting (non-coronavirus) medical issues.  His family mourns the loss of this great patriarch.

In addition to his beloved wife, he is preceded in death by his parents, Ianthus Leo Richards and Lily Mae Barker, and each of his four older siblings and their spouses, Ray (Mildred), Jack (Hope), Edith (Paul Thorsted), and Afton; as well as two granddaughters, Suzy Aileen Baker and Joyce Jenette Whitehead, and one great-grandson, Oliver Raoul Pritchett Reyes.

Jim, was born in Ogden, Utah, on February 6, 1929, and named after his uncle, James Barker (a linguist and Principal of Weber Stake Academy 1914-1917).  Jim liked to tell everyone that he was five months older than the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square Broadcasts.  He grew up in Ogden with excellent friends and had lots of fun.  He enjoyed basketball, bow and rifle hunting (his first deer was with a bow), bow and fly fishing, camping, hiking, scouting and nature.  He is a gifted poet and artist; enjoyed reading fiction and fact; was self studied in herbs and unusual historical events; always had a concern for righteous laws and representatives; loved a good movie and BYU sports.

Jim graduated from Ogden High in 1947; attended Weber Stake Academy 1947-49 (now known as Weber State University); served a mission in the Central Atlantic States Mission (North Carolina, Virginia and nine counties of West Virginia) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1949-51; was in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps serving mostly in Japan during the Korean War 1951-53 (missing a flight during his military service, he escaped one of the deadliest plane crashes in aviation history; he was present at the signing of the armistice ending the war); he graduated with a B.S. in accounting from Brigham Young University 1953-55; and attended University of Utah law school 1960-63.

Jim was employed at Richards Sheet Metal in Ogden 1955-58; was the assistant department head over project accounting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1962 (in charge of all accounts outside the U.S.); went on a Building Mission (with his family) headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio 1963-65 for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (he was over all finances for several chapels under construction covering 14 states, Washington D.C., and six provinces of Canada; he loved being apart of this great mentoring program where young men were able to learn a trade and build  their faith); he received his private pilot’s license (making mission travel easier and cost effective); returning to Utah he was employed as an accountant at Hill Air Force Base 1966-69 and held other miscellaneous jobs before becoming an auditor for the federal government in Washington D.C.1975-1991.  Sacred is the service he gave to his family, not only for his long hours at work, but battling D.C. traffic and attending to other daily family needs.  His family is grateful beyond words.  

When Jim was a young boy, he prayed for and received an excellent tenor voice.  He sang in musical productions (school, community and church); was in an award-winning quartet; soloed in church meetings, programs, and funerals; and belonged to civic, high school, college and church choirs, including a traveling 12-member choir made up of missionaries from his mission called The Utah Centennial Chorus.  Half of his two-year mission was spent in this choir.  They had a heavy, full-time performance schedule at school assemblies, civic clubs, radio, television, and community events including a performance dedicating the Brigham Young statue in the rotunda at the National Capitol.  Jim loved his mission which contains some of his most cherished memories.  Later in life, he and his wife tried out for and joined the traveling Ogden Chorale 1957-60 and Mormon Choir of Washington, D.C. (now The Washington, D.C. Temple Choir) 1980-91, performing at many prestigious events in the D.C. area including the East ballroom of the White House, U.S. Capitol steps with President Reagon, the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with Colin Powell speaker, the Kennedy Center, etc.  Jim also soloed as Brigham Young in the Promised Valley production in Salt Lake City in the 1970’s.  None enjoyed his singing more than his family, from hymns, to lullabies, to silly songs that made us laugh.  His acting was as enjoyable, particularly his performance as Goldilocks while his children sang “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”  What a hoot!  

Jim decided he wanted a large family when he was in junior high—about a dozen children.  He thought a large family would be “very worthwhile” and looked for a wife who wanted the same. He found Ara Belliston of Nephi, Utah, the summer of 1954, at the only BYU dance he ever attended.  When the dance ended, they took a night hike to the “Y,” had their first kiss, and later married in the Manti Temple on March 15, 1956.  He said that marrying Ara is the smartest thing he ever did.

In recent years, he has told many that he and Ara have followed the prophet by having nine daughters, just like President Nelson.  Jim & Ara also had four sons.  Their children, in order of birth, are:  JaNae Aileen, UT; Mariann Mae (Bart) Adams, WA; Ara Ruth (Mike) Anderson, GA; Leslie Karen (Ken) Nufer, OH; Lee James (Sherry), UT; Carolyn Julie, ID; Linda Suzanne (Dee) Dodson, GA; Alan Belliston (Cindy), UT; Mark David (Ada), FL; Valerie Annette, UT; Vicki Lisa (Brett) Gerlach, UT; Karl Randy (Chrysta), AZ; Diane Jenette (Bill) Whitehead, AZ.

In addition to their 13 children, they have 76 grandchildren and 72 great-grandchildren with three more on the way.  Jim was tenderhearted to hear of newborn babies and sweethearts marrying into the family.  With 10 in-law children, 37 in-law grandchildren, plus one engagement, he was soon to be the patriarchal leader of a family of 214.  Jim would say, “Well, it’s a nice start.”  He always said, “You’re my favorite (child, grandchild…) your age in the whole world.”  And they were!  He loved them and they loved him.  Thirteen descendants have been named after him in his honor. 

Jim loves Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  His prayers, blessings, teachings, testimony of the Savior, love of the scriptures and Gospel discussions are treasured memories.  He accepted many callings and assignments in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout his life, including scout master, counselor in a stake mission presidency, ward clerk many times, counselor in a stake Sunday school presidency, stake missionary and an ordinance worker in the Washington D. C. Temple in the 1990’s.

Jim is a delight to be around with a wit and humor as much a part of him as his beautiful, tenor voice.    In addition, he is humble, kind, quick to apologize, uplifts and encourages those around him (even sharing the Gospel to telephone solicitors while confined to his room).  He is a man full of gratitude to the Savior and others.  He always said, “Thank you.”  What a powerful example he has been of enduring to the end and “Thy will be done.”  We miss you Daddy.


Viewing – Family only(Mortuary Coronavirus Policy). See below for ZoomOn-line Information

Friday, April 17, 2020, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, and

Saturday, April 18, 2020, 10:00am – 11:00am

Anderson Funeral Home, 94 West 300 North, Nephi, Utah 84648

Stay in your vehicle until JaNae (or someone assisting her) comes and let you know when your small group may go into the funeral home.


Graveside Dedication – Immediate Family only(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Coronavirus Policy)

See below for ZoomOn-line Information

Saturday, April 18, 2020, 11:30am

Vine Bluff Cemetery 1240 North 400 East, Nephi, Utah

Stay in your vehicle until JaNae (or someone assisting her) comes and let you know when your small group may go to the graveside.


On-line Memorial Service to be announced on Anderson (Goff) Funeral Home internet site


Facebook Page “Remembering James C. Richards” is up and running for anyone who would like to contribute.


Zoom On-line Information – The following information is for those family and friends that would like to be part of some of the on-line viewing and graveside services:


             FRIDAY 6-8:00 p.m. Viewing 

-ZOOM MEETING ID:  823-3566-8349  

             SATURDAY 10-11:00 a.m. Viewing 

-ZOOM MEETING ID:  883-1238-7120  


FOR VIEWING: Login with Zoom Meeting ID, WAIT in the waiting room. You will be let into the meeting during your time for viewing and then you will exit the meeting when your time is done, so others can have their turn. At your request other family can be Zoomed into your viewing time, so that you can view together.)


SATURDAY 11:00 a.m. Casket Closing Family Prayer AND Graveside Dedication

-ZOOM MEETING ID: 843-8696-1465Family Video Feed

-ZOOM MEETING ID: 927 5985 9097Friends Video Feed



TEXT LEE RICHARDS 801-427-9551 for ZOOM Meeting PASSWORD.

Please include your name and relationship to James Richards.


ZOOM tips:

Set-up in advance

-Connect via the website or download the free Zoom app.

-Plug computers into your router for best connection.  Cellphones are also a good option, download ZOOM app.

-Glitches or video cut out may occur (especially traveling from the Funeral Home to the Graveside).  If it cuts out, rejoin, and be patient as we re-establish connection and add everyone back in.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Clarence Richards, please visit our floral store.


April 17, 2020

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Anderson Funeral Home
94 West 300 North
Nephi, UT 84648

April 18, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Anderson Funeral Home
94 West 300 North
Nephi, UT 84648

April 18, 2020

11:30 AM
Vine Bluff Cemetery
1200 North 400 East
Nephi, UT 84648

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