By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Former Mayor Gerald Richards died May 10 at the age of 77, city officials said.
Visitation is 2:30 to 8 p.m. May 13 at the Allen Park Chapel of Martenson Family of Funeral Homes, 10915 Allen Road.
Councilman Kevin Rourke said Richards — mayor from 1987 to 1995 — was active in the community.
“Gerry Richards has always been a part of this community and backed a lot of us, supporting us, and kept us involved,” Rourke said.
Councilman Angelo DeGiulio said he served on the Downtown Development Authority with Richards.
“He was a real gentleman,” DeGiulio said. “He was one of three people, him, Dennis Luke and myself, that voted against giving that $2 million unsecured loan to (Hollywood producer) Jimmy Lifton to get involved with this (Unity Studios) mess here, so I just want to say Gerry Richards was a real server of the city.”
Councilwoman Gail McLeod said she worked with Richards on the Receivership Transition Advisory Committee.
“It was a wonderful learning experience,” McLeod said. “I just wish that I’d had the time to know him longer. He was a wonderful individual, he was a friend and he was a mentor, and he will very much be missed.”
Mayor William Matakas said his relationship with Richards goes back to his school years in Allen Park when they played football and basketball together.
“He, and Mayor (Levon) King and Mayor (Richard) Huebler were three of the people who came very early in my consideration the first time to run for mayor and asked me to do so,” Matakas said. “I will miss talking with him about civic activities.”
A long time Allen Park resident, Richards leaves his wife, Doris; children Gail Renee (Shawn) Lynn, Adrienne (Richard) Slate, Gerald Michael (Christina) Richards, Christopher Joel (Victoria) Richards, and Jeri (the late John Mullins) Richards; grandchildren Jason Wilson, Jacob (Gina), Reese (Amber), Cassandra, Shawn, Ryan, Richie, Paige, Sydney, Nate, Spencer, Izzy, Abbie, Kyleigh and Max; and great grandson Liam.
The family requests contributions be made to the Gerald N. Richards Memorial Scholarship Fund.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at email@example.com.)