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Veneita Gail RichardsPassing: January 30, 2022


Jacob Finger United Methodist Church

Funeral Service

Wednesday, February 2, 2022 @ 11:00 a.m.


Jacob Finger United Methodist Church

Wednesday, February 2nd @ 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.


Cresthaven Memory Gardens

Wednesday, February 2nd

BEDFORD—Veneita Gail (Thomas) Richards, 84, passed from her earthly home to her heavenly home on January 30, 2022. She was born in Springville, Indiana on September 3, 1937 to Rolla Athol Thomas and Hallie Christine (Terrell) Thomas, and they preceded her in death. She married John D. Richards 61 years ago on November 23, 1960.

She was a 1954 graduate of Mitchell High School and a 1958 graduate of Indiana University. Her first teaching position was in Michigan City, Indiana. Her next teaching position was at Lincoln Elementary School in Bedford, Indiana. She then taught for Mitchell Community Schools at Riley, Emerson, Huron, Hatfield Elementary, and Burris Elementary. She taught Kindergarten for most of those years, retiring in 1997 after 35 years of teaching. She was a lifelong member of Jacob Finger United Methodist Church in Mitchell, Indiana where she played the organ for 64 years.

Gail was known to her family as Mom, Mam-maw, Mam, and Aunt Gail. She and her husband, together with God, created a big, loving family. She always faced life with strength, grace, and dignity, and shared the gift of music and creativity with her family. She loved and accepted everyone exactly for who they were, and always thought the best of everyone.  

She is survived by her husband John, a brother and sister-in law:  Stephen and Anita Thomas; two other sisters-in-law: Nicki Thomas and Linda Richards; four children: Lee (Brad) Purlee, Bedford, IN; Johnny Richards, Scotland, IN; Christy (Hank) Wintczak, Mitchell, IN; David Richards, Scotland, IN; ten grandchildren: Elizabeth (Chris) Hathaway, Dr. John Purlee, Dr. Ann (Michael Blum) Herbert, Dr. Audrey (Dr. Rebecca Evans) Herbert, Megan Wintczak, Brittany (Dr. Jamie Pitts) Purlee, Dr. David (Jordyn) Wintczak, Hallie Richards, Maddie Richards, and Abbie Richards; five great grandchildren: Kaylee, Jack, Max, and Tate Hathaway, Alma Herbert, and Baby Blum due this spring. Gail is also survived by several loving nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Rolla Athol “Buddy” Thomas, and a great grandson, Noah Wintczak.

Due to concerns about COVID and the safety of friends and extended family, the service was  limited to immediate family. The service, officiated by Pastor Pam Tedrow, was conducted at Jacob Finger United Methodist Church in Mitchell, Indiana with final resting place at Cresthaven Memorial Gardens in Bedford, Indiana.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials can be directed to Jacob Finger United Methodist Church. The family would also love and appreciate any stories or remembrances be mailed to the church at 139 North 8th Street, Mitchell, IN 47446 in care of Gail Richards’ Family.

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20 Guest Comments

  1. Guest: Timothy Williams | Kingman AZ
    Date: February 15, 2022
    Worked with John at Lehigh, Thought world of Him. So sorry tt her of her Passing.
  2. Guest: RANDY YOUNG | Mitchell
    Date: February 10, 2022
    My thoughts are with your family. Mrs. Richards was one of my most favorite teachers. Everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten and Mrs. Richards taught me! She will always be in my fondest memories. Peace, Randy Young
  3. Guest: Roy Myers | Mesquite NV
    Date: February 6, 2022
    John and Family, My condolences on your loss. Gail was the best of the best. My best to you all!! Roy
  4. Guest: Glenda Ferguson | Paoli, Indiana
    Date: February 4, 2022
    Sympathy to Gail's family. All of teachers would literally run into each other every day, since we were a K-5 Burris School building. Gail's classroom was where the Art room is now, along with another kindergarten classroom. I loved seeing her with her students following behind her. We would kid each other that we needed to coordinate our hallway comings and goings just to get to where we were coming from or going to! Gail blessed many students and teachers for many years. She will be missed.
  5. Guest: Buddy Hendricks | Mitchell, IN
    Date: February 4, 2022
    Such a sweet, sweet person…taught with her a lot of years, had many great conversations…REST IN PEACE Gail…prayers for all of the family…
  6. Guest: Dave & Chuck Cooper | Mitchell, IN
    Date: February 3, 2022
    May GOD comfort you and your family at this time of sadness. Dave & Chuck
  7. Guest: Kristina Sears | Mitchell, IN
    Date: February 3, 2022
    I am sad to hear of Mrs. Richards passing. She was my Kindergarten teacher at Hatfield. I remember her playing the piano for us and I enjoyed every minute of that year. She was such a kind woman and will be missed by all who knew her. Prayers for her family and friends.
  8. Guest: Jed H. Morrison | Bedford, IN
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Condolences from Jed H. and Jane A. Morrison. Miss Thomas was my second grade teacher at Lincoln School - 1960-61. As I grew into adolescence my mother always pointed Mrs. Richards out or asked me if I remembered her when we saw her in public. My mom was very emphatic about Miss Thomas’s new identity which would occur over the thanksgiving break in 1960. “Remember, she reminded me, Miss Thomas is Mrs. Richards, now.” Mrs. Richards was very sweet, kind and professional, we all loved her.
  9. Guest: Bobbie Dailry | Bloomington, IN
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Life will truly never be the same. She will forever live in our hearts, but her physical presence will be terribly missed. Love to John and all her family.
  10. Guest: Sherry and Phil Hudson | Bloomington, Indiana
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Phil and I extend our deepest sympathy to Uncle John and all of Aunt Gail’s family. She will be missed by many, as she was so loved by many. She was beautiful inside and out, and if you believe that angels walk among us, I believe she was one.
  11. Guest: Danny and Sherrie Johnson | Springville, IN
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Dave & Johnny, Danny and I are so sorry for your loss & send heartfelt condolences. Your family will be in our prayers.
  12. Guest: Cindy Acton Matlock | Bedford, IN
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Steve and Anita, Kristy and families, I am so sorry to hear of Gail’s passing. She was a precious lady.
  13. Guest: Debby Knight Dobson | Lebanon, Tn
    Date: February 3, 2022
    To the family of Gail So Sorry for your loss.My thoughts and prayers are with you all.She was one of the best teachers. My heart goes out to you all.
  14. Guest: John Hardman | Bloomington
    Date: February 3, 2022
    John and family, so sorry to hear of Gail’s passing! My heart and prayers go out to you! I know what you are going through! Love you to all!
  15. Guest: Brenda McBride | Paoli, In
    Date: February 3, 2022
    So very sorry for your loss, Steve! Your family are in my thoughts and prayers!
  16. Guest: Dennis Adams | Crane, texas
    Date: February 3, 2022
    I remember her. She was my kindergarten teacher back then. Blessed be.
  17. Guest: Tim Williams | Kingman, AZ.
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Friends of John and his wife. So sorry to here about here passing.
  18. Guest: Jan Grissom | Lexington Kentucky
    Date: February 3, 2022
    So sorry Steve and Anita. Prayers to your family.
  19. Guest: Tom cox | Mitchell, in
    Date: February 3, 2022
    Gail was known in the racing world as Barney Ollfield due To the way she drove. Will miss her very much. Wonderful person!
  20. Guest: Ruthanne and Danny Blackwell | Bedford
    Date: February 3, 2022
    We are so sorry John; she was such a beautiful lady