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Wells Edward Richards

Wells Edward Richards was born on January 17, 1912 in Pomona, Missouri, to Earnest E. and Jenny Wells Richards during one of the coldest winters on record. He passed from this life to be with his Lord on September 5, 2009 following a short illness.

Wells was a member of First Christian Church and a longtime businessman in Wright County.

Wells was an independent, keenly sharp, and witty man with a twinkle in his eye, who had an amazing talent for getting what he wanted when he wanted it. He seldom took “no” for an answer especially when it came to the well-being of his family or his business. He could always find a way to make you think that his way was the best way for you as well.

He was well known and loved by his family, his friends, and his community. Wells and his wife Lorene came to Mountain Grove in 1937 to found Richards Brothers of Mountain Grove, following in the footsteps of his brothers who also had stores in neighboring cities. All of the boys seemed to have a family gift of entrepreneurial energy that led them to arrive at the perfect retail model for the mid-1900’s rural customer. Their motto: “We buy anything, sell everything.”

Wells was deeply committed to the betterment of the city as a whole and especially in keeping its public square vibrant and profitable for businesses. He quietly gave generously to many public and church charities, never asking or even wanting a thank you. Richards Brothers Supermarket and Richards Brothers Feed Store are still thriving businesses to this day and are run by his grandsons. Bucking the trend of urban sprawl, his supermarket is still located on the town square. His business savvy has been heralded by businesses, business publications, and even the Missouri State Senate.

He was preceded in death by his father, who passed away when Wells was just five months old; his mother; his wife of 71 years, Lorene Kilpatrick Richards; and his brothers, Claude, Newell, Dwight, and Loring.

Wells is survived by his daughter, Barbara White of Houston, Missouri; four grandchildren, Bob and David Skyles of Mountain Grove, Steve Skyles of Cabool, Missouri, and Cynthia Haverly of Fayetteville, Georgia; 13 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandchild.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, September 10, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. in First Christian Church with Jack Holland and Jerry Goddard officiating. Burial will be in Hillcrest Cemetery.

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